For three years, the Northwest Philadelphia area community has been waiting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Mt. Airy Day, the street festival that started in the 1970s to unite residents East and West of Germantown Avenue.
Then came COVID, forcing the event’s cancellation in 2020 and 2021. Then came the rain (and the threat of it), drowning out the event scheduled for last year.
On Saturday, June 3, organizers are hoping that the long-planned observance of 50 years of Mt. Airy Day will finally fill blocks of the Avenue with children, families and residents ready to have fun.
Mt. Airy Day is back…fingers crossed.
“We are really hoping the weather cooperates,” said Alexandra Kurowski, the event’s committee chair. “Last year really took a lot out of us.”
The 2022 event was washed out by rain on the original date and then again on the rain date. Then the threat of rain prompted the cancellation of the second rain date.
This year, Mt. Airy Day will be a scaled-down festival, moved from last year’s planned location in the 6400 block of Germantown Avenue and on the grounds of Historic Cliveden, back to its longtime headquarters, the Mt. Airy Playground – and the streets nearby.
The festival will be from noon to 5 p.m., from the 6900 to 7100 blocks of Germantown Avenue, between Mt. Pleasant Avenue and Gorgas Lane. The rain date is June 4.
This year’s festival will include children’s activities on the playground, a full day of music on a stage set up on East Gorgas Lane, and more than 100 vendors, including artists, craftspeople, community groups, businesses and nonprofits. Lovett Library will also host events.
Local brewery Attic Brewery, Payne’s Catering and Piece of Fruit are among the lineup of food vendors offering tasty fare, with local restaurants along the Avenue also open for a bite to eat.
MC/DJ “Big Cuz,” of Uptown Radio, will spin music and music performers include Expressions of Soul, Blaqmel & The Problem, Arrastao do Dende, Elle Gyandoh & The John Doe Band, Stone Age, and the PME Drumline.
East Mt. Airy Neighbors community group has taken the lead in organizing this year’s event, with West Mt. Airy Neighbors electing to step back from an administrative role because the organization has been swamped overseeing other events this spring.
Mustering the energy and volunteers to organize this year’s Mt. Airy Day wasn’t easy after last year’s disappointment, Kurowski said. “But we had all of this stuff that needed to come to fruition. We had vendor money and sponsorship money and we wanted to get things done.”
This year’s sponsors include NuMillennium Media & Productions, Living Well Homes Collective, City Block Team, Airy Kitchens, The Frosted Fox Cake Shop, Mt Airy Taproom, Mt Airy CDC, Unique Indoor Comfort, and Weaver Way Co-op, along with private sponsorship from East Mt. Airy Neighbors board members Brian Cullin and Alexander Longo.
This year’s festival will start a spring-summer season of events that include four scheduled Supper Sessions dine-out events. Saturday’s Mt. Airy Day will focus on supporting community needs and concerns around serious issues such as traffic calming and zoning, Kurowski said.
“While last year was disappointing, we really feel the need for community engagement and for the community to come back together,” Kurowski said. “We are seeing this year as an opportunity to refresh, renew and start over.”