It’s a sure sign of spring in Chestnut Hill: the annual Home & Garden Festival, returning to Germantown Avenue Sunday, May 7.
And the event will fill a longer section of the avenue than ever before, organizers say, making it the community’s biggest springtime festival ever.
A record number of vendors, more than 175, will join some 200 businesses along the avenue in offering food and drink and showcasing home decor, crafts, community groups, live music and kids’ activities at the year’s festival. The street will be closed to vehicular traffic throughout the event, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The increased number of vendors, exhibitors and performers allows this year’s festival, which begins atop the hill at Rex Avenue, to extend two or three blocks below its traditional end all the way to Willow Grove Avenue.
“There’ll be a lot more going on now at both ends of the festival, more food, more vendors, more music,” said Georgia Forjohn, marketing and events coordinator for the Chestnut Hill Business District, organizer of the annual event. The southern terminus of the festival has been designed to be “more of a destination” this year.
The lower end of Germantown Avenue will host new and expanded activities, including a Maker’s Village at Willow Grove Avenue with 10 artisans doing live demonstrations. A painter, jewelry designer, ceramicist, glassblower and metal forger will be among those creating works on site, Forjohn said. A musical stage at Hartwell Lane will help keep the party going all the way down the street.
Joining favorite vendors will be a new crop of artists and craftspeople from around the city. They include those like Minimal Chaos, which repurposes vintage rugs into accessories and decor. It’s based in South Philadelphia’s Bok Building, a lively complex of artists’ studios and small businesses. “It’s really exciting to get those businesses to come to Chestnut Hill, to connect the dots between downtown and Chestnut Hill,” Forjohn said.
The festival’s traditional focus – “Home & Garden” – will be represented by vendors offering hand-crafted furniture, home decoration and accessories, as well as outdoor artworks for the garden and heirloom plantings. Landscape, lawn care and masonry services will showcase their work for homeowners.
More hot spots throughout the festival include:
Fun for the littlest festival goers, including the Jenks School Fun Fest, with a DJ and dancing, face painting, carnival games, snacks and inflatable rides in the Jenks’ schoolyard at 8301 Germantown; and circus performers, a balloon artist and presentations of “Jack and the Beanstalk” throughout the afternoon at the Stagecrafters Theater, 8130 Germantown.
The sustainability hub, between Southampton Avenue and Hartwell Lane. Stop here for craftspeople, products, service providers and others focused on preserving resources and the community. Look here also for local action groups including the Citizens Climate Lobby and Friends of the Cresheim Trail.
Live music on two stages. At the Buckley Park Stage, at Germantown Avenue and Hartwell Lane, see Tattar Tucker Moog and Martin perform R&B and roots rock from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Bakersfield’s country rock from 2 to 5 p.m. The Bethlehem Stage, at Germantown Avenue and Bethlehem Pike, will host the blues artists Dukes of Destiny from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the Groove Spot Band, bringing classic R&B and funk, from 2 to 5 p.m.
Listen for other live performances at local businesses. The Windfall Gallery and Villa Villekula at 8419 Germantown Avenue will host the Burrage Band from noon to 4 p.m.
Food! There are nearly 20 bars and restaurants along the course of the festival. Several are planning a little something extra, such as McNally’s Tavern, at 8634 Germantown, which will set up a stadium grill to cook their legendary Schmitters and more for the crowds. Five food trucks, including Bak’n Bacon and one from the storied Federal Donuts chain, will help keep festival-goers full. Additional food carts and tables will be set up throughout the event.
Drinks! While licensed businesses along the Avenue have sold beer at festivals past, this is the first, Forjohn said, where mixed drinks will also be an option. The popular Char & Stave coffee and spirits shop will have one stand at Willow Grove Avenue, and also serve drinks outside its soon-to-be location at 8441 Germantown. Spiked slushies will be available at McNally’s.
In case of inclement weather, the festival will be rescheduled for Sunday, May 21. For more information, visit chestnuthillpa.com.