The Mt. Airy Village Fair is back.
On hiatus since 2019, the neighborhood festival returns Oct. 1 with a bustling streetscape of food, music, vendors and interactive activities.
The fair will take over Carpenter Lane and Greene Street from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in a post-pandemic resurrection of a festival inspired by the idea that the local craftspeople and businesspeople are so talented that they deserve a place to showcase their skills and talents, and share them with the community.
The event will feature jewelry makers, fiber artists, woodworkers, a community magician, a reiki session and a community art project. Participants will include The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Germantown Jewish Centre, Action Karate, Quintessence Theatre Group, and Erdenheim Farm, who will have Daisy, the Community Cow. Animal Care and Control Team (ACCT) will bring some sweet dogs up for adoption. Local performers will take the stage including the Boston Typewriter Orchestra.
This year’s theme, “The Magic of Cooperation,” celebrates the spirit of the “Mt. Airy Village” neighborhood, but also marks the 50th anniversary of Weavers Way Co-op, honoring the mission of a nonprofit whose roots go back to a pre-order food buying group that started five decades ago in the basement of Summit Presbyterian Church in Mt. Airy.
Liz Systma, a longtime Mt. Airy resident and the owner of Wild Hand, at 606 Carpenter Lane, took on the responsibility of leading the effort to bring back the fair, aided by a committee made up of members of the Mt. Airy business and residential community. The first time that Systma stumbled upon the Mt. Airy Village Fair, she recalled, “I knew I belonged in a place that felt so magical. The Village Fair is a way to feel at home among your neighbors.”
Weavers Way officials say they are excited about the return of the Mt. Airy Village Fair, a great way to celebrate a vibrant community and the co-op's 50th year.
Nima Koliwad, Weavers Way outreach and community program coordinator, said last week, “It’s a ton of work to make this event happen, but that feeling of the day where the kids are running around, the smell of food and the laughter of people enjoying the day is our goal.”
As in previous years, the Mt. Airy Village Fair is making a commitment to the community to be zero waste. This commitment allows organizers to work within their networks to identify best practices to make this happen and create a standard for community events in hopes of reducing the carbon footprint within our larger Philadelphia.
Organizers aim to harness an abundance of local talent, and ensure that festival-goers do more than just attend the fair. “Participate” is the magic word. Flyers created by longtime West Mt. Airy resident and artist Maureen Gregory have helped to promote the theme and goals of the festival.
Meg Hagele, owner of High Point Cafe, who has been involved since the beginning, said, “The interactive element came from our very first meeting. We wanted a dynamic fair where people are learning, chatting and being a part of the community. The interactive element helps break down that barrier between the vendor and the community, and we are learning a new skill at the same time.”
Organizers are still looking for volunteers for the day of the fair, and would love to have more community members join the team to make the fair a really fun and special experience. As a bonus, if you are a member of Weavers Way Co-op you will be credited with co-op hours. Sign up here: weaversway.coop/pages/mt-airy-village-fair-2023
(Arianna Neromiliotis, a committee member for the Mt. Airy Village Fair/High Point Cafe, can be reached at email@example.com)