By Dan Majka
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One dollar doesn’t typically get you very far, but on Thursday evening, September 8 it can go a long way at the annual Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll in Philadelphia’s University City District.
“The Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll is one of the most popular events we put on here in University City,” said Chris Richman, with the University City District. “It typically draws thousands of people to West Philadelphia’s Baltimore Avenue to walk around, shop their way down the street, and everything is on sale for a dollar each.”
Richman says the goal of the Dollar Stroll is to both remind people of the great brick and mortar stores that have been along the avenue for a long time and also to give people an opportunity to try new businesses.
“It’s a neighborhood that has been booming for years,” he said. “The Baltimore Avenue business corridor has tons of old places that have been around for 15, 20 years, but it’s also an attractive place for new businesses to open up.”
From 43rd to 52nd Streets, vendors line the sidewalks and people are encouraged to walk up and down the avenue, sampling all sorts of foods and drinks.
“There is everything from ethnic food, like samosas, to more traditional stuff, like slices of pizza, there’s small cheesesteaks, ice cream and small pours of beer,” Richman said. “Dock Street Brewery is one place that offers a special beer for the occasion.
Not hungry? No worries. While the great food tends to be most popular, a buck can get you more than just a bite to eat.
“There’s a pet store called The Baltimore Avenue Pet Shoppe, where you buy toys for your dog or your cat. There’s a baby store called The Nesting House, where you can get toys and gently used goods for newborns and infants,” Richman explained. “There’s a place called Greensgrow West, which is plant and farm store where you can get vegetables and plant starts.”
Three new businesses this year include an upscale pizza place called Clarkville, a pottery studio called Black Hound Clay Studio, and a soul food restaurant called Amari’s, adding to the ever-growing event along the avenue.
“In its initial years, we’d expect maybe a few hundred people to come out, a few shops would set up, but now it’s just grown like wildfire,” Richman said. “All year people wait for the return of the Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll. We have people coming from all over Philadelphia. Last year we estimated we had at least 5,000 people walking up and down the street, and it just keeps getting bigger each year.”
The Dollar Stroll also features lots of live entertainment, from jugglers and balloon artists, to hula dancing and fire-breathing, to bands performing on the sidewalk.
“The dollar price point is the way to get people to come and check out the event,” Richman admitted, “but the fun of it, the activities and the food is what brings people back.”
Richman says the Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll is wonderful chance to get out, enjoy the outdoors and experience what makes University City great for just a few dollars.
“Come hungry, come thirsty, come with 15 to 20 dollars and you’ll leave full, satisfied with some cool gifts that are representative of our neighborhood,” he said.
The Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll is Thursday, September 8 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. For a complete list of participating stores and restaurants, their locations and what they’ll be offering, visit UniversityCity.org.