East Passyunk Ave BID adapts to the pandemic with alternate 2020 programming
The East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District (EPABID) has historically kicked off the winter holiday season with a public gathering to light a tree, accompanied by events at Avenue businesses. With large-group events canceled to help stop the spread of COVID-19, residents have been left wondering what will become of these traditions.
BID executive director Adam Leiter remains confident and even excited about this year’s events. “There will still be a tree at the Singing Fountain provided by Urban Jungle,” he says. “This is such a joyous time of year. We’ve been hard at work planning, and found holiday options with subtle twists to make them comfortable, safe, and adherent to public health guidelines.”
While the events look different—from a virtual live-streamed tree lighting to socially distant photos with Santa—they’ll be no less exciting and fun. Some events, like a digital scavenger hunt in which people take photos up and down the avenue to win $100 gift cards, could even become tradition.
What about the shops and restaurants along the Avenue?
“It’s a unique opportunity for small businesses along the avenue,” says Leiter. Many are offering more focused services, like private shopping and individual appointments. There will still be sales on black Friday and Small Business Saturday.
“Restaurants are offering holiday menus for takeout. Flannel is doing a full Thanksgiving Menu with southern cuisine. Triangle Tavern and Cantina are selling vegan options, which you can pick up if a family member doesn’t want turkey. They’ll be cooking well into the New Year.”
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Top 10 Holiday Events on East Passyunk Avenue
1. TREE LIGHTING & DECK THE AVE VIRTUAL KICK-OFF
Thursday, December 3
5:45 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Kick off the holidays with the Avenue’s annual Tree Lighting, taking place virtually this year via Facebook Live and Instagram Live. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Tree Lighting is not open to the public, but East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District and Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation welcomes everyone to experience the tree throughout the holiday season while practicing social distancing and taking necessary precautions.
2. SOCIAL DISTANCE PHOTOS WITH SANTA
Sunday, December 13: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Saturday, December 19: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Sunday, December 20: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Come meet Santa with social distancing guidelines in place. Bring your own camera and take pictures for free. Keep an eye out for more details coming soon.
3. EAST PASSYUNK PUNCH CARD
From November 25 through January 3, receive a punch for every $10 spent at participating businesses. Once you get 10 punches, submit the completed card to one of the independently owned businesses and enter to win a weekly gift card from a raffle drawing on behalf of EPABID. If you prefer not to use a physical card, simply send proof of $100 worth of purchases to firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. HOLIDAY SCAVENGER HUNT
Holiday lovers of all ages can take part in a socially distanced digital scavenger hunt along East Passyunk via their mobile devices. Look for specific holiday decorations in business windows and doors and enter to win $100 worth of gift certificates. We’ll share a digital link and more information soon.
5. LETTERS TO SANTA
Drop off your letters to Santa at East Passyunk Avenue’s North Pole Mailbox at the Singing Fountain (East Passyunk Avenue at Tasker Street) starting November 27.
6. POP UP MUSIC
Watch for more details on performances featuring carolers, musicians, and more. Here’s one worth checking out:
7. HANUKKAH HAPPENINGS
Thursday, December 10
The South Philadelphia Shtiebel will bring a Hanukkah menorah lighting to the Avenue at the Singing Fountain to celebrate the first night of the festival of lights. The menorah lighting will take place virtually this year via Facebook Live and Instagram Live. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the menorah lighting is not open to the public, but everyone is welcome to experience the menorah throughout the eight nights of Chanukkah while practicing social distancing and taking necessary precautions. More details coming soon.
8. DECK THE AVE DECORATIONS AND LIVE TREES
Look for photo opportunities, twinkling lights, and spirited scenes at individual businesses along the Avenue. Don’t miss stopping by the annual holiday display inside Urban Jungle where you’ll also find live Christmas Trees for sale.
9. 10th ANNUAL ORNAMENT SHOW
Nice Things Handmade at 1731 East Passyunk presents the 10th Annual Ornament show with 30+ participating local artists submitting handmade ornaments. This is a great way to grab a keepsake for the holidays, a gift for a friend, or a smaller piece of art from one of your favorite local artists. The show opens earlier in November this year and hangs until the New Year.
10. UNEXPECTED PHILADELPHIA WINDOWS
Every year at the holidays the folks from Unexpected Philadelphia fill the windows of their building at East Passyunk Avenue & Tasker with dozens of near-life-sized photographs. This year, their display will pay homage to the non-medical Essential Workers who have helped the Avenue and its visitors during this tough year.
The tribute will feature maintenance workers, city trash collectors, firefighters; restaurant, grocery and pharmacy workers; postal workers and newspaper delivery people; SEPTA bus and subway drivers; Officer Kelly, the Avenue’s very own bicycle patrolman; and more.
The lighted windows will be on display from Thanksgiving week until New Year’s week as a way of saying thanks from the neighborhood to everyone who contributed to the area’s safety and happiness during the pandemic.
“It’s going to be different this year,” Leiter concludes, “Still, there will be plenty of things to see and do along the avenue, and more reason than ever to support Avenue businesses.”