By Dan Majka
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Taking place in University City on the fourth Saturday of each summer month, the 11th annual 40th Street Summer Series allows guests to enjoy variety of great, live music and entertainment while never having to reach into their wallets.
“The idea behind this is to create family-friendly and free programming throughout the summer,” says Lori Brennan, Marketing and Communications Director for the University City District, “where people who are staying in the city, who might not have a beach house or might not be on vacation have the opportunity to do something really cool, to experience live music and dance performances and art right in the neighborhood, all for free.”
Traditionally the program focuses on live musical acts. But Brennan says this summer, in its 11th year, the festival has been changed a bit to present a diverse mix of programming.
“We’ve got everything from face painting to hula hoopers to trapeze artists and tight wire walking, fire dancers, percussion workshops, painting workshops, activities that are very hands on, like mask making and martial arts lessons,” she says. “(It’s) really just a great opportunity for people to try their hand at a lot of different things.”
With no cost for admission, all the events take place outside in the green space behind the Walnut Street Library.
“A lot of people bring food and they picnic,” Brennan says. “There are wonderful, fast, take-out restaurants directly across the street from the field. You could stop at the Greek Lady or Qdoba Mexican Grill or Harvest and do take-out, and just walk it right over to the field and have a picnic dinner and listen to free music and watch free entertainment.”
Brennan says anyone coming out to enjoy the program on August 29th will be treated to a performance by the South Pacific Island Dancers.
“They’re a dance troop that performs traditional Polynesian dance, hula dance,” she says. “They’re very engaging with the audience. They’ll drag people up and they do demonstrations and get the crowd involved. They do fire dancing. It’s quite spectacular.”
Adding to the fun that evening is a concert by crowd favorite Sun Ra Arkestra. And new for the September 19th events, the 40th Street Summer Series will screen an outdoor film.
“We did a crowd sourcing title selection and we are doing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” Brennan says. “We’re partnering with the Penn Museum for that, and they will have ancient Egyptian activities to go along with the movie.”
Whether it’s the live music, the interactive arts and crafts or any of the other free activities, Brennan says there are plenty of reasons to come out to the 40th Street Summer Series.
“It’s just a really nice couple of hours to get out in the city,” she says. “We think that what we offer is different enough each time that this is not the kind of event that you come to once and you’ve said ‘I’ve done that.’ There’s always something new to come and check out.”
For more information about the 40th Street Summer Series, visit the University City District website.
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