Over the weekend, Midtown Village had their 11th annual Fall Festival. If you are from the city, this area is better known to you as the “Gayborhood.” This festival is very unique because traffic is blocked off from Broad to 11th streets, and then from Locust to Chestnut. Midtown Village is a vibrant chunk of the city, so for it to be blocked off for an afternoon is a huge feat.

Jeff Alexander, President of the Board of Directors for Midtown Village Merchants Association
Jeff Alexander, President of the Board of Directors for Midtown Village Merchants Association pictured at 13th & Sansom in Center City Philadelphia. Photo by Kaci Lewandowski / Multimedia Storytelling

“It’s been 11 years. To pull it together we start working on it tomorrow for next year,” said Jeff Alexander,President of the Board of Directors for Midtown Village Merchants Association, when asked how long something like this takes to come together.

“We have the best production company, SPW Productions, they take charge and they do 99 percent of everything that you see today,” said Alexander. Stopping traffic and collecting vendors to appear at the event is no small action. The food vendors placed on either side of the street along with clothing stands people could pop-up themselves show the interest people take in this event.

A neighborhood like this is one that is always crowded and thrives off the energy it receives daily from the many commuters of Philadelphia. With the usual packed restaurants such as El Vez, Midtown Village seems to be thriving with either weekday workers, or nightlife on the weekends. A festival is just more of an excuse for people to gather together for something that they all can enjoy.

Over the years people have come from all over to experience the event, business reviews on Yelp are just some insight to what the event has to offer.

“Whether it’s food, crafters or merchants, it’s a lot of fun,” said Alexander.

Some of the crowd at the event this past weekend
The crowd enjoying the many different vendors, food, beer, and crafts on Saturday at the event. Photo by Kaci Lewandowski / Multimedia Storytelling

When asked about his favorite tent at the festival, Alexander said, “The Jim Beam tent! *laughs* Especially those who work at the Beam tent, they are all so generous.” And then on a more serious note, “The best part is seeing all of our residents, all of our neighbors come out and have a good time together. It brings everybody out before they hibernate and we see them next Spring.”

The participation each year grows and grows, whether it be in vendors or people attending. “The weather is a huge contributing factor,” according to Alexander. Early on in the event at 12:30 he had already thought the numbers looked a little heavier.

“We don’t raise an awful lot of money,” said Alexander. “Through the fees that we charge to be in the festival, but we just sort of cover the cost. It doesn’t give us a lot of fluff.” Alexander could not give any direct dollar amounts in regards to this.

“We’re at year number 11, and I cannot see it stopping! The neighborhood comes to expect it, and we have a fun time prepping for it,” said Alexander, “With the way this morning is going, I would say we should expect around 10,000.”

Traveling past the many, many apple beer tents came vendors or all types. There were jewelry tents, t-shirts with old Philadelphia logos on them, hand drawn photos up for grabs, but one that was attracting a lot of attention went by the name of “The Hip Pocket.”

A discreet and easy way to hold everything you need on your hip, without the hassle of carrying a big, heavy bag.
A discreet and easy way to hold everything you need on your hip, without the hassle of carrying a big, heavy bag. Photo by Kaci Lewandowski / Multimedia Storytelling

Scott Turner was kind enough to give insight behind the product on display at his tent at the festival. “Pants with no pockets. The biggest problem. What do you do with the cell phone, credit cards? It’s either that or carry the big, bulky bag,” said Turner.

One cool thing about this product if that when you clip it on to you, the magnet is at the bottom of the clip and pocket itself. Therefore, when you jog, walk or jump around, it doesn’t flap up and down when you do. The magnet keeps everything down and in place, all while the pocket itself stays in place, and protects whatever you have inside of it.

Although this product is not directly entertaining in itself, you can use it to do many entertaining things such as running, or walking at a fall festival in the Gayborhood drinking apple beer.

Scott Turner showing us that the "Hip Pocket" can do more than just hold the contents of a wallet
Scott Turner showing us that the “Hip Pocket” can do more than just hold the contents of a wallet. Photo by Kaci Lewandowski / Multimedia Storytelling

Turner’s cousin, Stacy Harkinson who invented the product came up with the idea two years ago. It is a family thing and they go to different events such as the fall festival to get their product out there.

They are working on designs for EPI Pens, insulin pumps, and things like that where you have to have them on you when necessary. They do not have a website available yet, but they are working on doing so soon.

An event like this is one you do not want to miss next Fall in Philly!

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