Families and business owners braved drizzle and mild temperatures on Sunday, Dec. 2, for Brewerytown’s annual Christmas tree lighting at the Girard Avenue Dream Garden, located between 31st Street and Girard Avenue. The event was hosted by the Fairmount CDC and Brewerytown Sharswood Community Civic Association (BSCCA) as well as Kith + Kin, a new members-only children’s playspace set to open in Brewerytown this February.
Attendees at the event drank cocoa, sang carols and spent the afternoon decorating ornaments at a table hosted by Kith + Kin.
“This event has happened for a number of years,” said Sarajane Blair, executive director of the Fairmount CDC. “We keep continuing to work with [BSCCA] to try and bring folks together as the Art Museum District and do something seasonal. This is just one of the events that we do together.”
The Fairmount CDC and BSCCA collaborate on a number of events throughout the year, including October’s Girard Avenue Street Festival, she said.
The Monkey and the Elephant, a nonprofit coffee shop on Girard, provided hot chocolate and baked goods, and Crime and Punishment brewery brought growlers of its beer.
Kevin Kelley, a Fairmount resident, set up a table at the event for Girl Holding a Pen, his wife Lauren Kelley’s hand-lettering business. The table featured Christmas ornaments, wooden signs and coasters, all with Fairount and Brewerytown-centric hand-drawn designs and lettering done by Lauren Kelley.
Jess Jones and Eden Coffey, the co-owners of Kith + Kin, led ornament decorating for kids of all ages throughout the afternoon. Amid a mess of pipe cleaners, glitter and glue, children and their parents attached plastic gems to Popsicle stick snowflakes and Christmas trees.
The gloomy weather didn’t keep volunteers from showing up to help decorate and talk to families.
“I’m a part of the neighborhood, and I really wanted to be involved with this,” said Theresa Smith, a Brewerytown resident and volunteer. “It makes you feel good, and I’m enjoying myself.”
Volunteers and families decorated the Christmas tree with ornaments the children created before guests sang “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” as Darnetta Arce, executive director of the BSCCA, did the honor of lighting the tree.
“The purpose of these events is to bring out our neighbors and start meeting each other,” said Arce. “This is an up-and-coming community and I think it’s important that we get to know each other. This is a fun, non-threatening way and everyone likes cocoa and cookies, so I think this was a great opportunity for us to meet each other. It’s about bringing the community together.”
-Text and photos by Sarah Madaus.
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