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This Weekend: 13th Annual Car Show and Street Festival on East Passyunk Avenue

The summer’s biggest street festival is back and bigger than ever, featuring 175+ hot rides, street food, live bands, family fun & more!

East Passyunk Avenue and connecting side streets will again be lined with nearly 200 muscle, classic, antique, custom and show cars, trucks and motorcycles as the 13th Annual Car Show and Street Festival presented by Jefferson Health Methodist Hospital returns on Sunday, July 29, 2018, from 11:00am to 4:00pm. This years’ festival is revving up to break break the record set in 2017 when the festival saw the largest turnout of cars and crowds in its history.  In addition to the cars, you’ll find street food specials from dozens of restaurants, street vendors, circus performances, rack sales, kids’ activities, live music and the Bang! Boom! CRAFT! Show in-between.

The 2017 festival broke records for crowds and the number of cars. Photo: HughE Dillon.

The Bang! Boom! CRAFT! Show at the Singing Fountain will again be curated by Nice Things Handmade. This show features handmade items from local crafters and artists, including art, decor, ceramics, jewelry, clothing and gifts from dozens of vendors.

Enjoy some street grub and summer drinks from visiting food trucks, plus look for $5 deals at many of East Passyunk’s award-winning restaurants. Look for the balloons to find places offering the $5.00 specials.

Philadelphia School of Circus will bring the circus fun with roaming stilt walkers in 1950s outfits waving above the crowd, interacting with families and taking photos.

Family activities and other fun will offer something to appeal to all ages, including the return of the free bounce castle, plus free and discounted family fun, outside games, art projects, music and more.

The event is hosted by East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District (EPABID). Their enthusiastic Executive Director, Pam Zenzola said, “The 13th Annual Car Show and Street Festival is back and bigger than ever…Families from around the tri-state area flock to the East Passyunk to cruise the cars, enjoy live music on every block and taste authentic South Philly cooking. We are thrilled to bring back South Philly’s largest annual summer tradition!”

Trophies will be awarded in dozens of categories, including: Top 50, Best Stock, Best Modified, Best Engine, Best Paint, Best 50’s Custom, Best Street Rod, Best Low Rider, Best Truck, Best Motorcycle, and Best of Show Car and Motorcycle.

The event takes place on East Passyunk Avenue between Broad and Dickinson streets. Admission is FREE for attendees and $20 for cars. The event’s rain date is Sunday, August 5, 2018. Check out the restaurant specials, live music performances, and food trucks scheduled to appear here.

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A new oasis opens in the barbecue desert

Eric Daelhousen’s South Philly Smökhaus will open permanent digs in Bok this fall.

By Sandy Smith for the Passyunk Post

A mobile oasis in the barbecue desert that is Philadelphia is about to plant roots in South Philly’s most happening former high school.

The South Philly Smökhaus, a labor of love for chef-founder Eric Daelhousen, has been making weddings, parties and the occasional East Passyunk restaurant more delicious for the last three years. Now the 34-year-old self-taught barbecue aficionado is putting the finishing touches on a restaurant he can call his own on the street level of the Bok building.

Erik Daelhousen. Photo courtesy South Philly Smökhaus/Facebook.

The restaurant, which Daelhousen hopes to have ready for business in September, will be on the street level, south side of Bok. It will share an entrance from Dudley Street with Two Persons cafe and Firth & Wilson Transport Cycles.

The ramp on the right of this photo is the Dudley Street entrance to the future home of Smökhaus, as well as Two Persons cafe and Firth & Wilson Transport Cycles.

Daelhousen grew up on the fringes of Pennsylvania Dutch country, in the Reading suburb of Sinking Spring. While one usually doesn’t hear “Pennsylvania Dutch” and “barbecue” in the same sentence, Daelhousen credits his own Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry with sparking his interest in both cooking and ‘cue.

“My mom’s side of the family is 100 percent Pennsylvania Dutch,” he says. “I grew up with that cooking style in the kitchen.”

He learned several valuable things from his mother, including the importance of real, fresh ingredients and the value of taking the time to do it right.

The Smökhaus smoker. Photo courtesy South Philly Smökhaus/Facebook.

But he learned the art of barbecue all by himself.

“I got into smoking meats about six years ago when my wife and I brought a house and I started experimenting with offset barbecue cooking,” he said. For those of you unfamiliar with barbecue, an “offset smoker” has its firebox in a separate chamber slightly below the one where the meat will be smoked. Residential offset smokers have exhaust chimneys that often make them look like small locomotives.

“Then I bought a food-grade (steel) barrel and built my own smoker.”

After about two years of doing pop-up barbecue for weddings, parties and special events, Daelhousen decided the time was right to set up a permanent location. Daelhousen says a ‘cue joint is a perfect addition to the South Philly culinary scene. “Barbecue is definitely one of those foods that crosses communities and brings different people together over the same food.”

He wasn’t alone in having these thoughts: the Smökhaus will be the second new barbecue restaurant to open in East Passyunk this year. Mike’s BBQ, another former pop-up, opened at the start of this year at 11th and Morris streets.

While there is no Pennsylvania Dutch barbecue tradition, Daelhousen says that two fundamental features of Dutch cooking helped him appreciate barbecue: everything’s made from scratch, and there are no shortcuts to save time.

“All of my dry rubs, sauces and sides are my own recipes,” he says. “Some are born from what I grew up with, but they got crafted into my own varieties.”

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Weekend Events Round-Up

Compiled by Josephine Cardillo

Have an event you’d like us to include in a future Events Round-Up? Send us an email at with all the details.

Friday, July 13

Saturday, July 14

  • 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Streets Department Tire Roundup Program. Registered participants may drop off illegally discarded tires at the temporary dropoff locations of 4th & Washington and 25th & Washington. To register or for more info, click here.
  • 2 p.m. Super Saturday Matinee: Matilda at South Street Cinema, 327 South Street. Chosen by the theater’s fans: “Matilda is a gifted little girl and her wonderful teacher vs. the worst parents ever and the worst school principal imaginable. A delight for kids and adults. And yes, there will be chocolate cake!”
  • 8 p.m. PUFF Presents: Cruel Summer Camp Double Feature at South Street Cinema, 327 South Street. “Summer Camp isn’t always crafts and sing-a-longs, sometimes it can be just terrible. Join us as we take two very different looks at the drama and horror of camp with the coming ‘out’ of age fave But I’m A Cheeleader at 8pm and the 80’s slasher classic Sleepway Camp at 10pm.”

Sunday, July 15

Brauhaus Schmitz World Cup Block Party, 700 block of South Street. Photo courtesy Brauhaus Schmitz.

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Lost in South Philly

New developments in South Philly have recently resulted in the loss of some historic and artistic fabric.

Mario Lanza’s childhood home at 636 Christian Street is currently being demolished, reports Nick Vadala in this piece at Lanza, the South Philly-raised opera singer and movie star, spent his early years at the house. According to the article:

The two-floor rowhome, along with several other adjacent properties, will be replaced with two 43-foot-tall buildings that will share a gated driveway, according to proposed construction plans.

Lanza’s home is located around the corner from the Institute and Museum that bears his name which we wrote about last week.

636 Christian Street. Google Maps.

Hidden City has more information about the state historic marker at the Lanza home, as well a marker outside the home of another notable South Philadelphia artist, Frank Gasparro. Gasparro’s birthplace at 727 Carpenter was razed last summer. As the piece points out, the historic markers, “…provide zero legal protection to historic structures in Philadelphia.”

“Markers are dedicated to honor people, places and events,” said Sean Adkins, Digital Director of the PHMC. “The history of the subjects of the two historical markers in question, a significant musician and a significant artist, is unchanged by the demolition of the buildings where the markers are located.”

Frank Gasparro house, 727 Carpenter (on right) before demolition. Google Maps.

Gasparro house site. Google Maps.

Across South Philly, the soon-to-be-lost “Dream in Flight” mural on Point Breeze Avenue near Dickinson was featured in a recent piece on the BillyPenn blog about murals disappearing due to new construction.

Mural Arts Executive Director Jane Golden estimates around three murals per year are covered up by development. The problem isn’t new — but it’s only gotten worse as the pace of construction has spiked.

“We do our work against a backdrop of the city evolving,” Golden told Billy Penn. “Cities are fluid and dynamic and always moving. Nothing stays the same.”

Dream in Flight mural, Point Breeze Avenue & Dickinson St. Google Maps.

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What's Happening in:  All over South Philly 

Stories for a good cause

Foodies take note! Stories that may make you drool will be flowing at a benefit for the South Philly Food Co-op tonight. That’s when award-winning storyteller Hillary Rea brings her live storytelling show to the Adobe Cafe, 1919 E. Passyunk Ave. The event will feature a colorful line-up of storytellers sharing true stories inspired by the evening’s At the Table theme.

Alison Fritz, Operations Committee chair for the Co-op, said the idea for the event came from Rea. “She is a member-owner and near neighbor of the Co-op. She recognizes that it takes the power of our membership to get our store open. She was looking for a way to use her storytelling skills and connections to benefit our capital campaign.” To tie-in with the Co-op’s own story, Rea proposed a special, food-focused edition of her bi-monthly, Tell Me A Story event.

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