Each May, Port Richmond residents and people from surrounding neighborhoods look forward to the beginning of Second Saturdays, a free street festival that takes place on the 3100 block of Richmond Street. The event features local vendors, food trucks and live entertainment and occurs each month from May till October.
Wayne Bullock is the gathering force behind these neighborhood events, along with best friend and co-worker Jeff Jadczak. Together they own Sweets & Treats, a candy and ice cream shop centered in the middle of all of the entertainment. Bullock and Jadczak started Second Saturdays in the summer of 2013.
Beth Roux Deegan is a Port Richmond resident who attends Second Saturdays with her family.
“It’s a reason for my relatives who live outside Port Richmond to come together and enjoy a Saturday stroll down Richmond Street and reminisce with old friends who they haven’t seen in a while,” Deegan said. “It’s exciting to be a part of the transformation of Port Richmond from a dull town to a hip place to be.”
For two years in a row, Second Saturday has earned Star newspaper’s “Best of” award, voted by the readers. Attendance for the event averages from 800 to 1,000 people.
Sweets & Treats also hosts Family Night at their store, held almost every other Thursday on the same block. On family night, stores on Richmond Street get together and offer different specials to the community.
“Parents bring the kids out and they’ll come here and have ice cream,” Bullock said. “They’ll go next door [to Creative Design] and build a craft. Sometimes the flower shop gives away flowers. Krakus Market might do dinner specials for only $5.”
Although on a smaller scale than Second Saturdays, Family Night sees anywhere from 50 to over 100 customers, according to Bullock.
“The neighbors will come out and they’re like ‘I haven’t seen you in so long! How have you been?’” said Bullock. “It turns into socializing, which this neighborhood needs because everybody nowadays is so busy that socializing gets pushed to the side.”
During holidays, Bullock brings something special to family night, whether it’s a visit and picture with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny or a caramel apple making station during Halloween.
The local candy store not only serves up sweets to children and adults alike, but also is the building block of a close-knit community and family-oriented neighborhood.
Throughout his time in the neighborhood, Bullock has seen community involvement and attendance to his events increase. Through Second Saturdays’ success, people from surrounding areas come to check out the entertainment.
“I’d say about 80 percent of people return to the same event, but then we start seeing new people that are learning about it,” Bullock said. “The Second Saturdays show that. People outside the neighborhood are coming from Fishtown, Northern Liberties, coming down to experience and have some great food.”
Chris Lyons, who runs the Twitter account for Port Richmond, believes that the events serve a great purpose for the neighborhood.
“The owners are great guys. They do a lot for the community and encourage community engagement,” Lyons said.
Susanne Crewalk, Jeff Jadczak’s mother-in-law, helps decorate the store for holidays and seasonal events.
“Sweets & Treats brings a refreshing message to the neighborhood,” Crewalk said. “It’s something the neighborhood hasn’t seen for a long time. You drive through this area, there are a lot of adult bars. [Sweets & Treats] pulls together family.”
Even with the recent construction that’s scheduled to hit the 3100 block of Richmond Street this spring, Bullock assures his events will continue. As the weather warms up, tables will be set up outside for family night and dates will be set for Second Saturdays.
“[During the summer], when things seem to slow up or people are away, there’s still something to do on Richmond Street on a summer evening,” Crewalk said.
— Text and images by Regan Abato and Kerri Ann Raimo.