Way back in the 1990s, I started going to the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.
Every March, I’d go back to find not only that the festival had gotten bigger and bigger – too big, it became clear this year, when four people were killed by a runaway drunken driver – but also that the city was mushrooming along with it.
In Austin, the livability factor is high – warm temperatures, live music, BBQ – and the stream of transplants so steady it doesn’t take long for new residents to start moaning about how everything was better before people who arrived after them came to town.
Which brings me to the latest indicator that everybody has figured out Philadelphia is a cool place to live. It’s the modeled-after-SXSW Forbes Under 30 Summit, the money magazine’s inaugural gathering of boldface billionaires and tech titans (and upstart entrepreneurs who wish to emulate them) that will take place in its planned-to-be permanent home from today until Wednesday.
York may not be known for its oysters, but according to the York County Heritage Trust, it hasn’t always been that way.
“When they were doing the restoration of the Colonial Complex, they found oyster shells in the ground surrounding the buildings,” said Melanie Hady, director of marketing and public relations at the trust.
“There was obviously some trade going on between our area and the Chesapeake Bay area.”
In tribute to that historic link, the trust is celebrating its 40th annual Oyster Festival 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
POTTSTOWN, PA – Wednesday evening the Pottstown Zoning Board heard testimony from iCreate Cafe owner, Ashraf Khalil, regarding his request for a zoning variance to operate a cafe and computer training center at 130 King Street, Pottstown. The neighborhood is zoned TTN or Traditional Town Neighborhood. After receiving a violation notice from the Pottstown Codes Department in August, a hearing was originally scheduled for September 17th. However, Mr. Khalil’s attorney, Peter Dolan, requested a continuance to adequately prepare his case. The hearing was rescheduled for October 15th.
A large group of supporters gathered in the 3rd floor council chambers to hear the evidence be presented. After Mr. Khalil’s sworn testimony and some clarification questions from the board, the meeting was opened to public comment. More than a dozen people were allowed to speak in favor of iCreate Cafe and Mr. Khalil.
After the public testimony, the board met in Executive Session. After a short recess, the board returned to the council chamber and rendered their verdict for Mr. Khalil and iCreate Cafe by allowing the variance.
First of all, we thank the Pottstown Zoning Board for being open-minded and seeing the value of this niche market small business that draws customers from all over the Delaware Valley and beyond. Based on the passionate testimony made during the public comments, it’s obvious this is a very special place.
Secondly, we feel now that Pottstown is getting serious about economic development and tourism (by developing a Tourism District and leveraging all the attractions that surround Memorial Park and the Western Gateway) having a highly rated locally owned restaurant within walking distance is a win-win. If you want people to come to Pottstown and “spend the day” they will need to eat. They are not going to want fast food or chain restaurants. They are going to want something they cannot get at home. iCreate Cafe is the total package when it comes to something you cannot get just anywhere. From the unique decor to the vegan/vegetarian food with a Middle Eastern flair, it’s far from ordinary. Add a chef/owner with the gift of hospitality and you have a winning trifecta.
This was a great victory for small business and for Pottstown. If Pottstown could attract more unique restaurants like iCreate and some funky boutiques so people could do some shopping while they are visiting, you would have yourself a destination.
Congratulations to Ashraf Khalil and iCreate Cafe. We wish you much success.
West Chester, PA On a chilly fall day, residents warmed up in the borough with hot peppers for the 12th year in a row during the Rotary Club’s Chili Cookoff.
More than 70 chili recipes were shared with thousands of patrons on Gay Street Sunday in an effort to raise more than last year’s $50,000 to support 14 local nonprofits.
Among the dozens of recipes shared at the festival were some crowd favorites, like those of the Habanero Brothers.
The brothers, who have been coming to the event for the past 10 years, compete in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, for chances to show off their varying recipes.
Easton Garlic Fest chairwoman Jo Moranville learned one thing about garlic lovers this weekend.
“We’ve clearly reached the point where garlic-crazy people don’t care if they get wet,” Moranville says.
Despite a rainy start to the 14th annual festival on Saturday, Easton Garlic Fest saw its biggest crowd – ever – for the two-day festival.
More than 20,000 visitors flocked to Centre Square to “eat, drink and stink,” according to festival and police reports.
Mary Bouras never expected to get sticker shock from a pound of butter.
But when the grocery staple reached more than $5 a pound at most stores, the 66-year-old Dover resident said it was hard not to.
Last week, she paid $5.79 for butter at Weis, and three other grocery chains in the area had similar prices.
“I know it’s just life and prices go up, but $6 for butter is a lot for me,” Bouras said.
Six months ago, she would have paid $1 less for the same item at the same store. A year ago, it would have been $1.20 cheaper, and five years ago it would have been $1.80 less.
PARADISE TOWNSHIP, PA — Shelter, water and food, in that order, are the chief concerns of accused cop killer Eric Matthew Frein as he navigates the wilderness while dodging police, a defense department analyst and survivalist said.
Wilderness survival boils down to the rule of threes, said Bob Collins, a Defense Department analyst from Ambler who teaches survival classes for Montgomery County Community College and Bucks County Community College.
The human body can survive three minutes without oxygen, three hours of intense heat or cold exposure, three days without water and three weeks without food, said Collins, who is trained in survival by the U.S. Air Force, where he served 16 years after 10 years in the Army.
Collins dismissed the idea that Frein is living fully off the land. If he survived three weeks without a food cache, it would put him into a category of survival expert on par with Collins or others like him.
SKIPPACK TOWNSHIP, PA – When it comes to Skippack Days, Butch Kaelin is a purist.
Visitors strolling through Skippack Village during the two-day festival — set for Oct. 4 and 5, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. — a time the town welcomes vendors from all over the country, will find only true craftsmen setting up shop outdoors on the Victorian Carriage Shops property, 4039 Skippack Pike, which is owned by Kaelin.
If you’re looking for all things artisanal, authentic and guaranteed to be fully twenty-four carat, genuinely, unequivocally handmade, this is where you’ll find them.
With so many farms just a short drive from downtown York, organizers of this year’s Farm to City Dinner say there’s no excuse for not eating locally grown food.
For the second year in a row, three local nonprofits are teaming up to show how easy and affordable it can be to support local agriculture.
At 2:30 p.m. Sunday, the Horn Farm Center is joining York County Buy Fresh Buy Local and the Healthy World Café in closing off North Beaver Street in York for an afternoon feast, complete with wine and music, showcasing area farms through a sampling of their meat and produce.
At $65 a plate, organizers said it’s cheaper than similar dinners held in other cities; and they noted that purchasing produce and other food from local farms doesn’t have to break the bank.
For more information: http://www.artsquest.org/festivals/oktoberfest/brewersvillage.php
Sat & Sun, Oct 4th & 5th
10am – pm, rain or shine
Centre Square, downtown Easton
Check out their website for all the information you need: http://www.eastongarlicfest.com/index.php
Fall is here, and that means its time to begin thinking about the season’s fruits, vegetables and decorations.
Fresh-picked apples are available from mid-August through mid-November. And while pears and watermelons should be around through the first part of October, you probably won’t find corn, beans and tomatoes after the middle of September.
Pumpkins and gourds are now out in full force, along with other fall decorations including Indian corn, hay bales, corn stalks and mums.
York County has a wealth of locally owned markets and stands where you can find fall fruits, vegetables and family activities.
Folks in eastern Lancaster County have only a few days to recover from the dizzying carnival rides and deep fried Oreos of the Ephrata Fair before the action shifts to New Holland.
The 87th New Holland Farmers Fair opens Wednesday in the 100 blocks of East and West Main Street.
The four-day fair opens with the annual Spectacle of Bands parade, Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Fair website: http://pcrdesigns.net/nhf/index.php
When Wawa announced earlier this week that it had begun selling pizza, it seemed—for however brief a moment—that the pizza gods had smiled down on this city, giving us yet another treat made convenient.
“Finally,” we Philadelphians thought, “a place to grab a pie at literally any time of day. And it’s Wawa, so surely the pizza is decent.”
Indeed, Wawa seemed equally confident, rolling out their newfound pizza program at all of the chain’s stores under a “Deep Dish Focaccia Pizza” moniker. What’s more, it’s available in five styles—plain, pepperoni, buffalo chicken, veggie and bacon-jalapeño—so you can change up your order depending on your preference—and all for about $6 a pop.
Unfortunately, though, what we’re dealing with here is pizza in name only.
Ninety-six years young, the Ephrata Fair takes to the streets of the borough starting Tuesday.
The county’s oldest fair fills Main Street from Lincoln Avenue to Park Avenue, and State Street from Locust to Fulton, stopping just short of the Pioneer Fire Company building.
On the midway, the fair-goer will find food stands selling everything from full meals to sandwiches and cotton candy, including the Akron Lions’ Club’s famous toasted cheeseburger, along with games of chance and rides for all age groups, provided by Houghton Enterprises Inc. In Thomas Grater Memorial Park, Lancaster County’s youth shows off the best in livestock.
On Wednesday, the 81st annual Ephrata Fair Parade takes to the streets. This year’s edition features not one, not two, but three Mummers bands from Philadelphia, the Fralinger String band, the Uptown String Band and the Quaker City String Band, first place winners in the 2014 Mummers Day Parade.
Fair Website: ephratafair.org
The walls of Tutoni’s in York are covered with chalkboards — one displaying cuts of a pig, another showing different types of cheese — each with a description of where the food came from.
The pork loin, for example, was once a Heritage pig that roamed free on Rettland Farm in Adams County.
Bright green arugula leaves, one chalkboard says, were grown in the greenhouses of Brogue Hydroponics in Chanceford Township.
Soft, silky mozzarella was made at Caputo Brothers Creamy in Jackson Township.