What happens when you close Kelly Drive, and invite a couple hundred of your favorite neighbors to a party by the river? East Falls celebrates Autumn with beer, food trucks, dogs in costume, and more family-friendly activities than you can shake a pumpkin at. 

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This time each year, East Falls’ Fire Department shuts down Kelly Drive here as part of community outreach: they offer games, snacks, and activities to promote fire prevention awareness. Kids love exploring firetrucks, trying on equipment, sliding down big inflatable slides, etc. For one day, East Falls gets a really cool riverside playground.

Even more — we all get a whole park! With awesome views of our bridges, plus the steeples of St. Bridget’s and the historic rowhomes up Indian Queen Lane. For the last few years, Community Council has been adding booths, vendors, music, and more to create an exceptionally vibrant, well-rounded festival with something for everyone.

Thanks to Roxanne Gioia for sharing her terrific pictures, which we’ve added to our own in this photo-recap…

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Fall Fest 2016 kicked off with a crowd favorite: the 2nd Annual Doggie Halloween Costume Contest. A parade of imaginative outfits strutted the grounds & circled at the stage for judges Barb Berman (Little White Dog), Caroline Patten (Liberty Vet Clinic), Leslie Levy (Time Out for Pets), and Leigh Siegfried (Opportunity Barks). After quite a bit of deliberation, three winners were chosen:

WINNERS:

Beanie Baby (Charlie)
Lion (Bruce)
Bee & butterfly (Peanut & Shomba)

HONORABLE MENTION:

Corgi lobster (Ernie)
Aviator Puggle (still waiting for name check)

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eastfallslocal-collage-halloween-costume-tank-tieThanks everyone for coming out — and thanks to the judges for contributing generous gift baskets for winners, and treats for all from Carolyn’s Magic Liver Pouch. More pet contest photos on Facebook!  

After the dog costume awards, the Fall Fest stage featured various musical acts, Merge dancers, and even an Old Academy skit. Young families browsed attractions & flea-market-y vendors — everyone over 21 seemed to have a beer in one hand. Truly a beautiful thing, especially when that beer is by Wissahickon Brewing Company.

This new local brewery debuted their Tripel Citrus at Castle on Tap earlier this month, and it was back by popular demand at Fall Fest’s Beer Garden — along with Devil’s Pool, their Imperial IPA, and Kelpius Kave, a Belgian strong brew. I enjoyed them all <hiccup> but wow this IPA’s so yummy. None of the usual bitterness often associated with this style of beer.

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WBC’s version is smooth & flavorful — even the Phillie Phanatic loves it! Keep an eye out for it on tap around East Falls, maybe Murphy’s will score a keg this Fall to tide us over until they open their tasting room on Schoolhouse.

The weather was absolutely beautiful the entire day, and a constant stream of Fallsers and visitors soaked up the sun & scenery. As if the golden sycamores lining Kelly weren’t festive enough, hay bales and balloons piled on.

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Brisk business at the food trucks, and also quite a few folks we talked to snapped up a bargain from one of the budget-friendly vendors by Inn Yard Park.  Lots to see and do, big props to the volunteers — led by Events chair Lisa Howdyshell — who helped pull all this together. “For me, the last week leading up to the festival and especially the day of, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the people that offered their time & talent making this event such a success,” she told us.

To get in on planning for next year, email us and we’ll pass your info along. Lots of great events in the works for 2017!

Thanks everyone for coming out to Fall Fest 2016. No zombies were hurt in the taking of these images (PS beware if you see ’em in Sherman Mills!).

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(More Fall Fest pics on Facebook)