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Plazapalooza returns to the Grays Ferry Triangle

According to SOSNA Programs Manager Nicole Koedyker, the event will feature live music, food trucks, a “puppy kissing booth” to raise money for the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, and a wine bar.

On Saturday, May 12, South of South Neighbors Association is bringing back Plazapalooza for its ninth consecutive year. The event serves as a fundraiser for the Grays Ferry Triangle, located at the intersection of South Street, 23rd Street and Grays Ferry Avenue. The plaza at the triangle has existed for five years.

According to SOSNA Programs Manager Nicole Koedyker, the event will feature live music, food trucks, a “puppy kissing booth” to raise money for the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, and a wine bar. While parents have drinks, children will be allowed to play in the Kid’s Corner, which will feature activities and games for children.

“We have a couple of local businesses that are very kid-focused, [including] Igloo and Baby WordPlay,” Koedyker said. “Those kids stores on South Street are creating these fun games and activities while their parents can drink a beer.”

The event is sponsored by Grace Tavern and Dogfish Head Brewery, and there will be plenty of alcohol and other fun things for adults as well.

“It’s a great day to spend time outside,” Koedyker said.

The event, which will last from noon to 7 p.m. will also feature live music from the following five artists: Tall Trees, Montrose Allstars, New Pony, Drum Like A Lady, Ill Doots.

Koedyker said the event drew approximately 2,000 people last year. This year, she expects it to draw between 2,500 and 3,000.

Work on the plaza initially started in 2012 when SOSNA members would volunteer to do monthly cleanings at the site. They eventually went around to all the nearby residents and neighbors and asked them about potentially turning the triangle, which at the time was a street open to traffic, into a pedestrian plaza. An overwhelming majority of people — 98 percent, according to South Street West Business Association Chairman Marcus Ferreira — supported the idea, but unfortunately that wasn’t enough.

“At the time you needed 100 percent,” Ferreira said, “of the adjacent property owners to approve of the loss of parking and the plaza use.”

Luckily, the group lobbied Councilman Kenyatta Johnson to pass legislation that reduced the threshold to 75 percent. The legislation passed, and SOSNA was free to create the pedestrian plaza in the triangle. They subsequently raised $10,000, according to Ferreira, to pay for the foundation of the plaza, which included planters, chairs and tables.

“We were able to get a groundswell of support,” he said.

Since that time, that particular street has been struck from the city’s map, and has been a favorite local community spot of local residents for its summertime music series and other events that feature pumpkin carving, painting and more. The monthly cleanups still happen at 10 a.m. on the first Sunday of every month.

Each Plazapalooza fundraiser generates thousands of dollars that go toward the upkeep of the park.

Impressively, not a single chair or table from the plaza has ever been stolen, according to Ferreira. In fact, he said, a new chair appeared once, and it’s still there today.

For more information about this year’s Plazapalooza, check out the Plazapalooza 2018 Facebook page.

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