PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A favorite December event is back in Philadelphia’s Manayunk neighborhood.
Get ready to take a holiday ride! It’s giving businesses a much-needed boost.

Spending a few hours on Main Street in Manayunk on a spectacularly mild December night you’d be forgiven for thinking it doesn’t get any better than this. Ninety-one days ago, many thought it couldn’t get any worse.

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On Thursday, Sept. 2, torrential rain from Hurricane Ida caused the Schuylkill River and the Manayunk Canal to overflow onto Main Street, causing widespread destruction.

Joan Denenberg, a marketing and retail consultant here, explains.

“It was just overwhelmingly sad and we had to deal with so much. It was pretty bizarre, especially after coming out of COVID. And Manayunk has really come together through COVID and that’s what brings us to tonight,” Denenberg said.

Thursday night was a culmination of events. Following last week’s tree lighting, the town launched its Jolly Trolley, which rides along Main Street. You’ll see the Main Street Light Spectacular and you can patronize businesses that have overcome both a historic pandemic and flood.

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“Manayunk I feel like has come together to create a community that existed before but now feels not just like community, but family,” Shayna Karl said.

“Last year, the vibe was cool but it was still kind of the middle of the pandemic. This year, if you go up and down this street, I kind of want to rival us against South Philly — the lights, everybody’s got the vibe going. The holiday spirit is out there,” David Lee said.

And to hear visitors tell it, that vibe is catching on.

“First of all, it’s very beautiful, the lights, looks amazing, definitely festive. The holiday season is definitely here,” one man said.

What struck me most about everyone who works here that we spoke to is that each invoked the word community, independently of each other and community is the story here tonight.

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CBS3’s Siafa Lewis reports.