Parks on Tap Kicks Off at Azalea Garden
The temperature climbed into the low 90s as Mayor Jim Kenney tapped a keg of Parks Pale Ale at the Azalea Gardens last Wednesday, officially kicking off the 2017 Parks on Tap season. The city’s mobile beer garden, staged in partnership with FCM Hospitality and Fairmount Park Conservancy, spent five days at the park behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art and is set to return to Penn’s Garden six more times before the season wraps up in October.
The first three days of the Azalea Gardens event were held in unseasonably warm temperatures. Organizers told Spirit News the record heat didn’t discourage crowds.
“People love to sit in the sun and drink beer,” laughed Parks on Tap manager Huy Vhan.
“I think the heat helped us,” added marketing coordinator Brooke Lutz. “This was the first spur of the summer season and people have been coming by to cool off.”
Cooling off was on the minds of many as Friday afternoon approached evening and the temperature remained around 93.
“I just was walking by and looking for a shady spot to feed my daughter,” said Trevor, 33, who lives a few blocks from the gardens. “I saw this and thought, ‘Hey I’d rather feed her while I drink a beer.’”
David Wilson and Chris Cavin also stumbled upon the event.
“Our Uber dropped us off over there and we were walking past trying to find the Rocky statue,” Wilson laughed.
The pair, both 26, are visiting Philly from Glasgow, Scotland. Mobile beer gardens aren’t permitted there, Cavin noted.
“We aren’t allowed to drink in parks in Glasgow,” he said. “And we also don’t get the weather, so that curtails anything like this. We just walked past and thought it looked fun.”
The two were relaxing with their beers on picnic benches arranged under a canopy. Roxanne McClaren and Toni Ficarra sought shade in lounge chairs arranged under dense trees.
They had been tanning across the street when they spotted the Parks on Tap signage.
“I saw the sign and was like, ‘Let’s go get a beer,'” said Ficarra, 22, a Temple University student. “I love it. And the shade’s great.”
McClaren, 21, a recent Temple grad, said she appreciated the laid back atmosphere.
“We love sitting down and talking while having a beer, so this is really relaxing,” she said.
While some guests relaxed, others braved the sun in bathing suits and played the assortment of games provided: Kan Jam, Garden Chess, Twister, Frisbee. Nearly all had a drink in hand; there are seven beers on tap, including the Parks Pale Ale—that was made exclusively for Parks on Tap by St. Benjamin Brewing Company—as well as wine and frozen cocktails.
The smell of barbecue wafted through the park from a custom smoker that was slow-roasting pork and brisket. In addition to the sandwiches, Parks on Tap serves sides, salads and a full picnic basket special for those looking to make a date of their visit.
Parks on Tap will return to Penn’s Garden from June 7-11 at Matthias Baldwin Park and then will hit Paine’s Park June 21-25 and Strawberry Mansion Bridge June 28-July 4.
For more information, visit parksontap.com.