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ON THE GROUND: Come out and play on Lancaster Ave. Second Friday, a tradition revived

When Flying Kite launched its On the Ground initiative, one of the hopes was to help contribute to the transformation it's uncovering in Mantua and surrounding neighborhoods of West Philadelphia. 

That contribution will be on parade in a big way this week for Lancaster Avenue Second Friday, a collaborative effort including Flying Kite, Lancaster Avenue 21st Century Business Association, People's Emergency Center (PEC) and Drexel University. Second Friday's return to the avenue is important for several reasons:
- organizing and strengthening a wide range of businesses and better connecting them to local residents;
- the collaborative effort of key players in neighborhood transformation;
- and the challenge of bringing both locals and visitors out onto sections of a major thoroughfare that has faced more than its fair share of blight.

"We want to introduce people to experiencing Lancaster Ave. for themselves," says George Stevens, president of Lancaster Avenue 21st Century Business Association. "Each month, Second Friday will let people see that together we can make Lancaster Avenue a safe, festive and vibrant place for residents, students and professionals to come grab something to eat, or sit down and relax with friends over a cup of coffee, or check out some of the galleries, artwork, poetry and jazz on the Avenue.
 
"Our goal is to make sure Lancaster Avenue is a welcoming place for everybody and celebrate the rich arts, history and strong sense of community it has to offer."
 
Second Friday will be held from 5-8 p.m. (and later at some sites) and include nearly 30 businesses and other participants between the 3500 and 4300 blocks of Lancaster Ave., stretching from Community Education Center (which will host an open mic, visual art performers and vendors) at 3500 to Dwight's Southern Bar-B-Cue (food specials) at 4345. By all accounts, that number is encouraging, and an indication that there is forward movement -- even if just a baby step -- along the corridor.

"We are anticipating this to be one of the biggest Second Friday celebrations we've seen in a long time," says James Wright, the commercial corridor manager for PEC. "The energy and excitement among the businesses and residents are palpable."

Also integral to Second Friday's revival is Drexel student Aashima Gandhi, who is working on a co-op project to draw more students to Lancaster Ave. and patronize businesses there.

Flying Kite will serve as the unofficial Second Friday headquarters at its On the Ground location at 4017 Lancaster with a big lineup of art and fun for folks of all ages.for its Transformation 19104 exhibition. Read about photographer Mike Arrison's work on Lancaster Ave., highlighted with an opening reception, here.  Also included is food provided generously by Chestnut Street Caterers. Flying Kite will also host:

- Local members of Philadelphia's newest puppetry and performance troupe ZigZag Handmade doing face painting
and pop-up puppet theater (also performing at Puppet Manualfesto Puppet Slam on 7/21).
- Yarnbombing from Melissa Haims, a key member of West Philadelphia-rooted Fiber Philadelphia
Certain Circuits, which will screen multimedia, cross-genre and poetic films from several local artists
- Jamie Campbell's mixed-media sculptures using found objects, another addition to the Transformation 19104 exhibit
 
Here's a block-by-block look at Second Friday's offerings:
 
3500 block
Community Education Center (3500): Garden Party Summer Series open mic, visual art performances and vendors
 
3600 block
Powelton Pizza (3635): Sidewalk sale and saxophonist
 
3700 block
Fresh Food Truck (area of 3700)
 
3800 block
Jollie's West (3800): Bar specials

Reed's Coffee and Tea House (3802): Open mic and art display

National Hot Dog Month (between 38th and Baring): That's right, celebrate the frankfurter with the Second Friday hot dog vendor and check out a collection of t-shirts from Philly hot dog restaurants.

A Part of Me (3834): Sidewalk sale
 
People's Emergency Center's Make Your Mark Building (3861): PEC hosts an art display by Brian Bazemore.
 
3900 block
New Angle Lounge (3901): Bar specials

Resellers Central Market (3939): Sidewalk sale

Chic Afrique (3943): Extended hours

St. James Soul Saving Holiness Church (3951): Sidewalk sale (hot dogs, sausages, chips, soda, water)
 
4000 block
Corner of 40th and Lancaster (4000/outside): Voter registration tent and a Condom Nation, a national condom giveaway program administered locally by Metropolitan Community Church.

Flying Kite On the Ground (4017): Lancaster Ave. First Friday HQ features its ongoing Transformation 19104 art exhibition featuring works by artists who live or work in West Philadelphia. Friday marks the opening reception for photographer Mike Arrison's Lancaster Ave. project. Flying Kite will also feature a jewelry vendor, face painting for children and a pop-up puppet performance from ZigZag Handmade, yarnbombing from Melissa Haims and food from Chestnut Street Catering.
 
Villa (4034): Sneaker/sportswear retailer hosts DJ FM and a live performance from Theodore Grams, a 22 year-old rapper, producer and lead of Germantown-based music group The PHRATTEAM best known for his song We Shall Not Be Moved.
 
Miss Prissy (4058): Sidwalk sale
 
4100 block
Vintage Villa Antiques (4167): A sidewalk sale with several vendors also serves as a pre-opening event for Vintage Villa, which will be reopening this summer. The shop also features artist Will Conyers and his original, limited edition framed works.
 
4200 block
King's Grill: Food specials
 
Bottom of the Sea (4142): Food specials
 
4300 block
Wolf Cycle (4311): Sidewalk sale
 
Dwight's Southern Bar-B-Que (4345): Food specials

Sources: George Stevens, Lancaster Avenue 21st Century Business Association; James Wright, People's Emergency Center
Writer: Joe Petrucci

Photos
Second Friday flyer (Aashima Ghandi)
Certain Circuits
Ellen Bonett, ZigZag Handmade
Cordelia, mixed media sculpture by Jamie Campbell
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