Well I’m back from both the Penns Landing Ice Cream Festival and the “Taste of Philly” event. Both will be repeated tomorrow so I know this report will be useful.
First, I headed to The Great Plaza at Penns Landing for the Ice Cream Festival which benefits the Joshua Kahan Leukemia Research Center at Children’s Hospital. I’ve been going for the last 5 or 6 years and make it an annual must-do event. Besides the fact that I get to pig out on ice cream and get a sugar overload, I know I’m doing some good because all the proceeds go to the center. (There are pictures of the $100,000. checks to CHOP displayed.
But it’s not just about charity. It’s about ICE CREAM! It starts at noon and goes until 5pm and it’s best to get there early if only to avoid major crowds. But they don’t run out! For the last couple of years it was held up by Spring Garden St at Festival Pier, which was both good and bad. It was in an air-conditioned tent. This year it’s under a tent but not A/C. Still it was certainly bearable! The price is $5.00 for children and adults. You get a plastic spoon and enter Nirvana! All around the perimeter of the HUGE tent are volunteers in JK T-shirts dipping ice cream and water ice from 18 different companies in the same small cups. But they aren’t THAT small and you can have as many as you want. You dispose of the cups (or stack them to show folks how many you consumed) but you only get one spoon. Lets see, there was Friendly’s , Baskin Robbins, Turkey Hill and Breyers. But there was also Edy’s, Hagaan Daaz, and Ben & Jerrys. There was even a Soy Dream section. Hands down for chocolate/ coffee lovers was the Starbucks Mocha Chip! (But Ben & Jerry’s Combustion was a close second). EVERYONE was smiling! The customers and the volunteers! It’s in the enclosed area just North of The Independence Seaport Museum. You really won’t spend that much time there. After 30 minutes or so of pigging out you will be full!
Right outside the Ice Cream Festival this weekend is a Penns Landing Children’s event. Lots of families there and there were lots of FREE events like playgrounds, sparkle paining and some other crafts.
Both are an easy walk from South Street area or Society Hill.
So, next it was a short walk up Chestnut Street to 6th to check out the Taste of Philly event. Despite what I posted earlier about ticket prices – which I got from the Welcome America person on the phone on Thursday, MOST of the info in the papers and her was incorrect. So I’ll try to update it here.
The City closed 6th St between Market and Chestnut St. (along side of the Liberty Bell Pavilion) and that is where part of it is. The balance is in the square north of Market – between 5th and 6th Sts. There are both food vendors as well as booth from 2 or 3 radio stations, Verizon Yellow Pages, and a time share resort in North Carolina! While everyone seemed to be selling water for $2.00 a bottle (or “4 tickets”) The Food was only by tickets which sold for 5 for $5.00, 8 for $6.00 or 11 for $7.00. (I’m not sure where they got a 50 cent number in the press and on the phone). Thee was- of course- no plan as to what to do if you had extras or needed one or two more to buy something. (I guess folks were bartering). As to the food, most appeared to be high end restaurants (McCormick and Schmidt, Capital Grill, Ted’s Montana Grill) but the marketing dept really worked overtime to figure out how to present things. Every booth offered a “full” item or a “Taste” size. A Taste of a Crepe at one place (a forkful) was one ticket. A Taste of the Capital Grill’s encrusted steak (a 2 oz slice on a paper plate) was 3 tickets – as were most. Considering the cheapest ticket was about 65 cents. These samples were about $2.00. At Bluesette they were only selling a small slice of sweet potato pie for “6 tickets”. I watched a few folks buy them and then realize that this small portion (probably half of a restaurant size slice) was $4.00 and they got annoyed. McCormick and Schmidt had a lobster cake and a crab cake for 11 tickets ($7.15). No line there either. The longest lines were at Steaks On South which was selling 1/3 of their normal cheese steak or chicken cheese steak for 6 tickets ($4.00) and it appeared it was mostly tourists. Of course the longest line was for the Ben & Jerry’s truck where they were distributing large dips of their new “Apple Pie” flavor for FREE. Also FREE was the ice tea at the Equal booth.
There were bands playing on a large stage next to the Visitors Center and another band on steps of Rohm & Hass Bldg.
It was also interesting to see that the organizers took the “Independence Day” spirit into consideration and allowed “special interest” groups and protest groups to set up along North Side Market St across the sidewalk from the food booths so that you could get literature either for a cause or against one.
The tourists certainly converged this weekend on the City. It was pretty crowded all the way up Chestnut St from Penns Landing and over on South St as well. Yet the Super Fresh was nearly empty except for a few cashiers. (obviously everyone went to the shore).
Well, I know this was long but I wanted to give you a preview. I’d still say go to both but, if you can only get to one, make it the Ice Cream Festival. You still have time!