(Photos by Sue Ann Rybak and Brian Rudnick)

by Sue Ann Rybak

People of all ages were dancing in the street at the 23rd Annual Chestnut Hill Home & Garden Festival on Sunday, May 19. The annual street fair transforms the Avenue into a cobblestone path lined with stunning flowers and one-of-a-kind wares.

Philip Dawson, executive director of the Chestnut Hill Business District, said they were very happy with this year’s turnout, even though the festival had to be postponed from May 5 due to weather forecasts of torrential rain.

“We are very pleased to put on our successful Home and Garden Festival for its 23rd year,” Dawson said. “We had a beautiful day and beautiful weather. We encourage people to follow us and check our website for additional events we have coming up in 2019.”

Although the sun was a bit intense at times, a rejuvenating breeze made it an ideal day for the spring festival, and there were plenty of vendors providing refreshing beverages such as The Philly Special from Iron Hill Brewery and samples of Honest Tea.

As usual, there was a of smorgasbord of food including funnel cakes, popcorn, ice cream, chicken tacos, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza and more.

This year, the festival was extended to the 8000 block of Germantown Avenue. Dawson said they put “a lot of thought into activating the area below Willow Grove Avenue.”

It featured an antique and classic car display by Jon Barners of Roxborough, live music by Bases Loaded and refreshments sponsored by The Venetian Social Club; Back Yard Oasis sponsored by Summer Classic and Burke Brothers Landscape Design; Hardy’s Funnel Cake, Kona Ice and Barkley’s BBQ, food trucks. Also new to this year’s event was a Yurt Village at Weavers Way and Chilly Banana Food Truck.

Attendees enjoyed dancing and listening to live music on two stages by Variable Elements, Zydeco-a-Go-Go, Dukes of Destiny and Ear Me Now. Kingsessing Morris Men, a folk dancing team, also performed several times on the avenue.

According to its website, the dance performed by Kingsessing Morris Men was “originally done in the springtime with vigor in the hopes that the season will be bountiful and that those who view the dance will have good fortune.” The men wear bells on their knees “to wake the ground.

It must have worked, because Norwood-Fontbonne Academy’s mascot, a bear, came out of hibernation and gave Joe Passante from Kingsessing Morris Men a kiss!

And children seemed to be everywhere – laughing and playing with animal balloons, blowing toy trumpets announcing spring and eagerly waiting in line to get their faces painted. And of course, let’s not forget the moon bounce and trolley car rides.

It appeared as if everyone at this year’s Chestnut Hill’s Home and Garden Festival had “a bloomin’ good time.”

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