A hand painted wagon rolls slowly over a green slope, leaving fragmented maroon, gold and rust leaves in its wake. It will soon be filled with hay, smiling parents and children, and the non-profit’s volunteers. Lead guitarist Sara and her live band is assembled for residents who have come out on a warm autumn Saturday. Vendors stand by their wares including apparel, accessories, fall treats like candy apples and popcorn. Awbury Arboretum’s open green space is beautiful- 55 acres of rolling green lawns, trees and other historic flora have been dotted with pumpkins and tables for The Fall Harvest Festival & Flea Market, the free Arboretum’s biggest outdoor event of the year.
When there is not a big seasonal festival happening here on Washington Lane, Awbury Arboretum is a free, public green space where residents can enjoy communing with nature. Presently the organization is offering events every season, programs for youth, and educational classes free to the public. With so much to offer Germantown, Awbury has connected with other organizations in the area to foster community development.
G-Town Radio is streaming music live from the Fall Harvest Festival. Set up right beside the live band, Tom Casetta has the best seat in the house. Although the 24-hour internet radio station is typically streaming from Maplewood Mall, Casetta has come out to support Germantown’s Arboretum. For the duration of the event he will be doing live spot interviews between mixes and enjoying the festivities.
“Awbury is a very locally harvested organization and our community partnership is a special and organic one,” Casetta remarked.
This is the third Arboretum event that G-Town radio has been involved with. So far, the symbiotic community model is working well. “We are all very hyperlocal organizations. We want the best for Germantown,” says Tom.
Other community partners include The Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership, Inc. and the Talking Stick Learning Center and Historic Germantown.
Pilar Yeakel of Historic Germantown spoke on the importance of getting the word out to the community about all the partners have to offer greater Philadelphia residents and visitors. “We are in the business of getting people to know what’s happening here and to come visit these sites that are relevant to not just us locally, but have actually seen national significance,” says Yeakel.
Heather Zimmerman, Awbury’s program director is clad in a green Awbury apron, looking over the Flea Market with a vigilant gaze. Today she is wearing her event organizer cap.
This is Awbury’s biggest event of the year but we have so much else to offer the community. We have events every fall, winter and spring as well as summer programs, a summer camp for students, and we host field trips for schools. Because we do specialize in nature, we have classes about hearth and horticulture. Additionally, there are adult classes, lecture series, cooking and art classes,” says Zimmerman.
There is a lot to look forward to in the fall and winter seasons at Awbury Arboretum. On Nov. 1, Anna Herman of Anna Herman’s Backyard Farm School will be teaching attendants how to hand-make holiday food gifts. On Nov. 3 and 4, Philadelphia Public School students have the days off. Youth can come to the Awbury’s free 2-day camp to learn about the environment and participate in team building exercises.
Heather Zimmerman is looking forward to planning the food, caroling and other fun holiday activities that will be offered at the annual winter event.
“We really have a lot going on here at Awbury and I want residents to know that we are free, we have great green spaces and programs for you to enjoy,” says Zimmerman.