The wedding reception that was held at East Passyunk Avenue’s Singing Fountain last month was the first – and most likely last – private event to be held there.
It’s a shame, because it was such a great idea, but the unauthorized use of fireworks has ruined the fun for everyone.
After lots of complaints from people living in the vicinity of the fountain about fireworks being set off precariously close to some homes, the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation, the organization that owns the fountain, put the kibosh on any private events taking place there in the future.
Sam Sherman, executive director of PARC, said he wasn’t aware that the couple planned to set off fireworks.
Fireworks require a special permit, which would not have been granted, Sherman said.
Not only that, but the person setting off the display must be registered with the state attorney general’s office, according to the state police, and a $500 bond is required to cover any possible damages.
“Although the wedding reception was a lovely event, PARC has decided that future private events of this magnitude are not a proper use of the space,” Sherman said in a written statement.
“Given the iconic status of the fountain, PARC feels that it should always be open to the public. Our goal has always been to instill a sense of ownership of the fountain within the community. We have succeeded and that sense of ownership must be respected.”
We reached out to the couple, Aaron Heintz and Jessica Hoagland, to hear their side, but Heintz told us they didn’t want to comment.
The fireworks set off quite a bang in more ways than one.
A review in the Philadelphia Weekly of nearby restaurant Noord mentions the fireworks. Writer Brian Freedman, for one, wasn’t bothered by them.
“One recent Saturday night, there was a wedding in full swing at the fountain at the center of East Passyunk Square just outside,” Freedman writes. “At one point, fireworks began to go off, a volley of them shooting into the warm summer sky—their green and purple and white sparks lighting up the night in the most unexpectedly dramatic way.”
Sounds pretty, but it’s too bad that the fountain is now off limits for private events because of it.
- Jennifer Lawson, @byjenlawson