Producers at "Good Morning America” have chosen the neighborhood for their Fourth of July broadcast this year.
It turns out that people who live in Chestnut Hill are not the only ones who appreciate how charming it is. Producers at "Good Morning America” have chosen the neighborhood for their Fourth of July broadcast this year, as part of the show's "Main Street, USA" series, according to Courtney O’Neill, executive director of the Chestnut Hill Business District.
Scouts for the series, which profiles some of America’s most iconic main streets, were scheduled to arrive on Wednesday to look for potential film locations.
“Everyone is so excited - and also feeling really proud that the producers of ‘Good Morning America’ could see what we all see - that we really do have such a charming place to live. The people who own and run our small businesses are not some absentee owners, they’re part of the community – it’s a genuinely ‘mom and pop’ atmosphere,” O’Neill said. “So many other places try to emulate what we have, and we don’t even have to try. That’s just who we are.”
According to O’Neill, Chestnut Hill was chosen after former 6ABC reporter Jaclyn Lee suggested the idea of using Germantown Avenue to “Good Morning America" producer Adam Daniels. Lee left 6ABC for Good Morning America earlier this year.
“It’s amazing for Chestnut Hill and the publicity that we’ll get,” said Sandy MacEachern, owner of Robertson’s Flowers & Events – a business that has been passed down for four generations. “Hopefully it brings a lot of visitors to see our great little town.”
“It’s nice to be recognized as the lovely town that we are,” said Molly Ellis, owner of Threadwell.
The Chestnut Hill Business District is inviting Chestnut Hill residents to come out and help celebrate the occasion. The live broadcast will start at 8 a.m. and last about 10 to 15 minutes, but O’Neill is asking that residents arrive at 7 a.m.
O’Neill can’t yet say exactly where that will be, as location scouts have yet to determine where exactly they’ll do their filming. She asks that anyone who is interested in coming – and getting a potential cameo appearance on national TV – check their website, chestnuthillpa.com, for updates.
“We hope folks will come out and show their Chestnut Hill spirit,” O’Neill said.
According to O’Neill, the GMA producers she spoke with were particularly interested in Chestnut Hill’s annual Bocce Club bicycle parade.
“That seemed to really get their attention,” O’Neill said.
That parade, which by some reports has been happening for 107 years, brings children and their families out to ride their decorated bicycles along Germantown Avenue, past all the shop windows that have been decorated to honor the country’s independence. It typically begins on East Hartwell Lane and ends at the "For The Kids" celebration at the Water Tower Recreation Center.
“They get a magician and face painters and they do fun little picnic games like three-legged races, and they give prizes to the age groups to do all the fun activities,” said Cynthia Fillmore, owner of Windfall Gallery. “It’s been a big thing that the local families all know about and as a little kid you remember your Fourth of July.”
Historically, the parade lives on for a week after the holiday, when shops on Germantown Avenue participate in "Wheels in the Windows" and display the decorated bikes – with the names of those who decorated them – in their storefronts.
“The stores decided it would be fun to highlight some of the bikes that were in the parade which will draw the families to come and have the kids see their bikes in the window,” said Ellis, who helps to organize the program. “Having ‘Good Morning America’ see that is pretty amazing – it is the kind of town that can sustain a little parade like that and people have been doing it forever.”
O'Neill said she felt particularly proud when Daniels told her that they settled on Chestnut Hill after looking through the association's website, chestnuthillpa.com.
"They told us they really liked what they saw," O'Neill said. "In this age of social media, which I know is also important, it's important not to forget about how important a good quality website still is."
Any business interested in hosting a set of wheels, which could be a bike, wagon or scooter, should contact Fillmore at 267-417-4666 by Friday, June 30. Registration begins at 8:30 am. Once the traditional salute and the singing of the National Anthem conclude, all wheels will parade along Hartwell Lane from the Bocce Club to the Water Tower Recreation Center. Judging takes place at the parade, after which bike owners will be invited to loan their bikes for display in more than 30 retail store windows along Germantown Avenue. "Wheels in the Windows" will be on display through the week until July 11th unless the bikes are urgently needed at home.