Manayunk StrEAT Festival kicks off fall restaurant week

The Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival returned to Main Street Manayunk on Sunday with more music, new vendors and kid-friendly activities.

With over 45 street vendors, the bi-annual festival located between Green and Shurs lanes on Main Street offered day-long yoga instructions, a beer garden and a kid-friendly area dubbed “Recess.”

The sunny day brought out over an estimated 15,000 people who waited in half-block lines for food truck favorites including Mac Mart, The Cow & The Curd and Zsa’s Gourmet Ice Cream.

Zsa’s owner, Clay Parker, 42, says he prepared about 2,000 products for the event. 

Jane Lipton, executive director of the Manayunk Development Corporation, says there were 4,500 unique visitors to the organization’s site by 1 p.m.

She was excited the street was closed off from traffic this year. Last year, the vendors were on the sidewalks and Lipton says it was nearly impassable.

“What we hope as a district, is when people come here they have a good time and they have a positive impression,” says Lipton. 

Throughout the day, people were sharing foods with each other and packing the beer garden. Parents were seen enjoying food while watching their kids on the moon bounce. Children were smiling while playing with sidewalk chalk, hoola hoops, bubbles and bean-bags.

Terrance Furtick who came with his daughter says, “This is an annual event for us, we make it a family event every year.”

The Germantown-resident continued, “It’s close and it brings out a lot of different demographics.”

Enjoying the wine tasting, Germantown-resident Jenia Jolley, says of Manayunk, “It’s very artsy around here, right near the water. It’s like the hub in the middle of everything and everybody’s got easy to access it. It’s just a really good time.”

Matt Shankle, 28, a pizzaiolo at the Nomad Pizza Company stand says the appeal for customers at an event like this is the excitement of being able to see the pizza oven in the old REO Speedwagon.

For an event this high-profile, Shankle says the usually prepare a day ahead and use about 150 pounds of cheese. They planned to sell 400 to 500 pieces at the event.

Shankle says the appeal of Manayunk for a food festival is its beauty; the old cobblestone streets that can make you feel like being in an old marketplace, but which still retains a feeling of Philadelphia.

Lipton hopes the next time people plan an outing they remember having a great time at the street festival and make the connection to return to Manayunk.

“It’s about getting people involved on the rivers, on the trails. Bigger, better and more—that’s us this year.”

Manayunk StrEAT Festival kicked off the Manayunk Restaurant Week. Click here for more information. 

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