BrewFair 2016: Neighborhood Celebration Pops Up on West Girard During Love Your Avenue Week
Despite less than ideal weather, dozens of local residents and vendors came out for Saturday’s third-annual BrewFair at 27th Street and West Girard Avenue in Brewerytown. Hosted by State Representative Donna Bullock, BrewFair celebrates the contributions of businesses and organizations along the Girard Avenue commercial corridor.
This year’s BrewFair was presented as part of “Love Your Avenue Week”, an initiative celebrating commercial corridors and main streets across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Bullock co-sponsored the house resolution which created Love Your Avenue Week.
Organizers of the event persevered Saturday afternoon despite vendors struggling to keep their booths dry from the rain and their pamphlets from flying away in the wind.
For the past two years, BrewFair was hosted by its creators, Victoria and Andrew Mattey. The couple started the fair as a way to bring an event similar to South Street’s Blocktoberfest to Brewerytown and Fairmount. Andrew Mattey said that this year, he and his wife were too busy to host the growing event alone. So Bullock said that she would help handle the task of hosting the event with them.
“We wanted to make BrewFair for the entire community,” Bullock said. “We think it’s a great opportunity to bring the community together and have a good time as neighbors.”
BrewFair featured a resource fair in the early afternoon to help connect residents with services available in their community. Participants included SEPTA, Philadelphia Zoo, the Philadelphia City Rowing Club, Bebashi, Philadelphia Ceasefire and more.
SEPTA representatives attended the event to spread awareness of the key card system and of their new proposed route 49 to serve residents of Brewerytown, Fairmount and Grays Ferry. The proposed route has not been approved yet, but if all goes as planned, it would launch in fall 2017.
Legal service organizations such as The Senior Law Center set up a booth to educate residents on legal services available to elders who are victims of abuse, fraud and other crimes. Attorney Leah Finlayson emphasized the importance of educating seniors about phone scams that call under the guise of the IRS or government threatening elders to give them money they do not owe.
“My own mother was a victim of a scam,” Finlayson said.
Another similar organization, North Central Victim Services (NCVS) provided educational pamphlets about who they serve and how the agency works. NCVS covers victims’ medical expenses, provides information about victim compensation and the criminal justice process.
Bebashi Transition to Hope is an agency that provides access to HIV/AIDS testing, sexual health information, breast health screenings and hunger relief. A Bebashi Prevention Specialist was handing out free condoms and pamphlets about Bebashi’s services.
For educational fun, the Philadelphia Zoo set up a table featuring a trivia wheel with pictures of animals that children would be asked questions about. The zoo also brought animal artifacts, such as the shell of a green sea turtle. Due to inclement weather, the artifacts had to stay in a box under the table.
The Philadelphia City Rowing Club was focused on reaching out to students with their programs. The Rowing Club is free of charge for students and it offers tutoring, SAT prep and nutritional workshops for students, said Coach Richie Fredericks. The club also monitors student grades as part of tutoring and gives students healthy snacks after rowing sessions.
Community Partnership School was also out in the gloomy weather promoting its programs. It is an independent school with an affordable tuition for low-income families and is located on North Judson Street, said Head of School, Eric Jones. While being affordable, Community Partnership School offers a multi-disciplinary curriculum to prepare students for admissions in top-performing middle schools and high schools.
Local food trucks such as Mom-Mom’s Polish Food Cart, Kung Fu Hoagies and Undrgrnd Donuts were also at the BrewFair. Live entertainment started a bit late, but featured performance by The Cat’s Pajamas, Kevin Valentine and Ella Gahnt, Philly Reggae Band, Flat Mary Road and Trey Lambert and The Now Generation.
Community sponsors included Fairmount CDC, MM Partners, Philly Managed, 27th & Girard Limited Partnership and ADCO. •
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