Flavors on the Avenue is Sunday, April 28th. We chatted with Adam Leiter, the Executive Director of East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District (EPABID) to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes to prepare for such a large scale event. We’ve also compiled useful information on what you’ll see, hear, and taste at the first big festival of the season.
This will be Leiter’s first Flavors of the Ave. since he assumed the role of Executive Director in September of 2018. He’s looking forward to showcasing all that East Passyunk has to offer. His enthusiasm for the mile-long contiguous business corridor is evidenced by his careful planning, friendly demeanor, and professionalism.
One BIG to-do list
Festival management is all-encompassing, and Leiter is the one tasked with making it all happen. He told us about the months of planning that leads up to one day of merriment. In addition to coordinating food, drink, and entertainment, Leiter described a a seemingly endless to-do list of tasks. These include everything from the mundane (filing permits) to the necessary (securing trash pick up). Hiring bands, securing police coverage, managing volunteers, and soliciting sponsors are all part of the job. He also manages promotion of the event through marketing, banners, posters, and social media.
Volunteers help make it happen
Volunteers who assist on the day of, and leading up to, Flavors are integral to the festival’s success. EPABID is helped by a group of long-time volunteers, board members, people associated with the Avenue, and newcomers interested in helping out. Dozens of volunteers help with set up, keep the event running smoothly, and aid with clean up. On Tuesday, April 16th volunteer guides led a media night to feature restaurants participating in the festival. Leiter is always looking to expand his group of volunteers if you are interested in lending a hand (and get a snazzy t-shirt to boot), please contact him at email@example.com.
Leiter expects the event to draw another 10,000-person crowd this year. While the event attracts a largely local audience, Leiter is “so open and interested in having people beyond the neighborhood take part.”
Here’s a look at what’s on tap at the event, and what goes into making it happen:
For most attendees, one of the most alluring parts of Flavors of the Ave. is the opportunity to sample fare from the diverse restaurants. EPABID works with all participating restaurants to determine menu and serving style well ahead of time. Many restaurants have tents outside on the sidewalk, some opt to have grab-and-go specials that patrons can buy inside, and others use windows to act as a take out counter.
In order to participate, the BID asks restaurants to feature one item that has a low price point (typically $3 – $6) so people can try various bites throughout the day. “In keeping with the street festival vibe, we want to keep things accessible and lively to showcase the variety and diversity available along East Passyunk,” says Leiter.
In addition to food and drink, the retail shops along the Avenue have the opportunity participate interactively in the festival, such as holding sidewalk sales or having games outside their storefronts.
Makers & crafters
There’s also a craft fair element to Flavors of the Ave. where artisans from outside the neighborhood set up tents to display their wares. Nice things…handmade has invited nearly 80 of the region’s top makers and crafters to showcase home décor, paintings, candles, jewelry, pottery, furniture, soaps, artisan foods, handmade pet treats, fashion – and everything in between.
Entertainment is a key element to adding to the atmosphere. Leiter spends significant time planning how to stage music throughout the festival and working with musicians. Some are returning acts, while other bands are new this year based on videos or sample tracks that they submit to EPABID.
The main stage, which will be set up in the PPA parking lot between Tasker and Morris, will have three acts throughout the day, including new addition, John Train, a six-piece roots rock band. There will be additional music at the 1900 block near Pistola’s del Sur organized by owner Casey Parker, and a DJ at the Singing Fountain at Tasker. Back by popular demand, Founders’ Beer Garden will be located at the Mifflin Street triangle (13th/Passyunk/Mifflin) with additional music offerings.
The line-up includes:
- 11 am to Noon: Andrew Jackson HOME Band (Rock) – 1900 block of East Passyunk
- 12 pm to 2 pm: John Train Band (Rock) – PPA lot
- 2 pm to 5 pm: City Rhythm (Motown to Bruno Mars)- PPA lot
- 12 pm to 3 pm: Ricky Bacarre (1930’s to now) – outside Stogie Joe’s Tavern
- 3 pm: DJ Johnny Looch (spinning music to keep you moving) – outside Stogie Joe’s Tavern
End your day at one of the many restaurants and watering holes along East Passyunk Avenue, or stop by the After Party at the Pope.
Flavors will also offer free family-friendly activities including kids art and activity zones, a moon bounce at the East Passyunk Gateway at Broad/Passyunk/McKean, and carnival games for kids and adults of all ages. Shops along East Passyunk will also host workshops, activities, and family fun inside their spaces.