On Thursday, November 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District (EPABID) and Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation (PARC) will host the annual tree lighting party at the Singing Fountain, Tasker St. and East Passyunk Avenue. The event is free and families are welcome.
The celebration will include live music, carolers, holiday treats from Avenue businesses, shopping, and a visit from Santa Claus.
“We’re very excited to have CBS 3 joining to us to emcee the event once again,” said Adam Leiter, executive director of EPABID, “along with our neighborhood youth from Alphabet Academy and the Andrew Jackson School’s HOME Band to ring in the season with festive performances. Meteorologist Lauren Casey will collect unwrapped toys for the Toy Fest holiday toy drive sponsored by CBS 3 and CW Philly 57.”
After the party, revelers can strut down the Avenue with the Pennsport String Band for extended shopping hours as the Deck the Ave campaign kicks off with shopping, sales, and other festivities which will run through December.
“The tree lighting began in 2011 as a way to celebrate with the neighborhood in partnership with PARC, EPABID, East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association and Passyunk Square Civic Association,” said Leiter. “Originally it brought the neighborhood together around a decorated “tree” version of the Singing Fountain, though this will be the second year we will decorate a live tree at the fountain area.”
According to Bryan Fenstermaker, executive director of PARC, this year’s tree will be a 16-foot Frasier Fir born-and-raised in North Carolina. Urban Jungle at 1526 East Passyunk will deliver the tree on November 21. PARC hires John McClenny of Yes Dear! to install the lights and decorations in the days leading up to the event.
“The transition from the tree over the Singing Fountain to the stand-alone live tree has received positive feedback,” says Fenstermaker. “It’s a welcome change for our diligent cleaning crew. The old tree left lots of needles inside the fountain and caused the potential for drainage issues in the spring. It’s now much easier to keep the fountain clean during the holiday season.”
Fenstermaker says he’s gained experience in maintaining an outdoor tree in the past years. “At home you don’t have to tether ornaments to the tree, or keep dogs from using it as a bathroom post. In the wild it’s one thing, but we don’t want it to happen at this gathering spot.”
You can donate $10 to the CBS 3 and CW 57 Philly Toy Fest toy drive by texting JOY to 41444. EPABID and PARC would also like to thank their sponsor, Univest.