In recent years, Boyertown has become increasingly popular as a go-to place, and for good reason: many locals are working both independently but also together in bringing out the best in our area across the historic railroad, shops, restaurants, art-appreciating venues, and more must-see stops.
Boyertown has come a long way in its rich heritage and history, reshaping, surviving, and thriving into its latest reframing of what a town worth visiting can be. One longstanding example of this is what is now known as the Philadelphia Avenue Street Fair, formerly called the Sidewalk Expo. The initial version of this event began in 1966 during the town’s centennial, spanning three days under the title “BIBA (for Buy in Boyertown Always) Green Tag Days.” The Boyertown Businessmen’s Association founded it, and in time, the Berks-Mont Business Association, or BMBA, took over managing the event for the community.
The expo transitioned to the street fair in 2016 to make it a weekend event so that more people could attend and appreciate what its vendors have to bring to the proverbial table.
In the past, it had been on a Tuesday in June, and in its early days, many retail storefronts brought their inventory out onto the sidewalks, explains Sal Boccella who owns The Goddard School in New Hanover Township and is the main chairperson for the street fair through the BMBA. This year’s street fair is planned for Saturday, June 9, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a rain date of Sunday, June 10, 2018. Nowadays, between 2,000 and 3,000 people usually attend the street fair and peruse the offerings of more than 130 vendors, including food trucks and at least one with pulled pork sandwiches.
And restaurants like Durango’s Saloon and Iezzi’s on 3rd are some places which will have doors open that day for hungry bellies, too.
Music will involve the Boyertown Alumni Marching Unit as well as regional performers like country singer Kendal Conrad and also Michael Kropp who plays acoustic sets of pop and rock tunes spanning from the 1960s to the early 1990s.
For Kropp’s lineup, think The Beatles, Paul Simon, and the late Tom Petty.
And a beer garden featuring local breweries will welcome the sipping.
The fair will also include a rock wall for climbing, a zip line, a bungie trampoline bounce, exotic animals to glimpse up-close, and more.
And an iconic part of Boyertown to sightsee during the street fair, brimming with nostalgia of how our town operated long before we all knew it, is the Colebrookdale Railroad, which celebrated its first new train ride to Pottstown and back on October 14, 2014, after its grassroots preservation nonprofit and the people behind it worked determinedly to build it back up again for several years beforehand.
Judy Wetzel owns Magical Wonders Vacations based in Douglass Township, Berks County, and as a member of BMBA, is a part of the committee in charge of the street fair; she handles social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the event, too.
“It has been my experience that the Boyertown community takes care of each other,” Wetzel reflects. “I’ve seen many families sheltered, uplifted and loved through tough times. And the community is working to develop an experience for visitors with the historic car museum, the State Theatre, the Colebrookdale Railroad, the Peppermint Stick Candy Store, the Other Farm & Forge, and much more.”
Boccella mentions some of the greatest aspects of Boyertown in that it has a small-town feel and charm. And the street fair is one way to appreciate this on a Saturday in early June.
“Our street fair is a family event, so please come out, and bring your family,” Boccella says. “There’s something there for everybody.”
Be sure to keep an eye on the street fair’s social media posts for more sneak previews of what’s to come at this year’s event.
This article was made possible by the Berks-Mont Business Association and its members in promoting the positives of Boyertown in our local landscape. To become a member, visit bmba.biz.