Philadelphia’s Fringe Festival officially begins Friday.
This year’s menu of theater, dance, music and other artistic works will bring festival-goers to locations all over the city as well as some suburban venues over the course of 16 days.
But this year, for the first time, the festival will be anchored by the new Fringe Arts building at the foot of the Ben Franklin Bridge.
“We’ve been nomadic for 18 years, and we finally have a home base,” said Nick Stuccio, president and producing director of Fringe Arts.
Despite the rush to open the new facility, Stuccio spent many of the weeks ahead of this year’s festival touring the world in search of new and exciting material, like a show he saw in Belgium called “100% Brussels.”
“We are doing the same thing here in Philadelphia with a show called ‘100% Philadelphia,’ starring 100 citizens of our city,” he said. “It’s kind of like a town hall meeting mixed with a big, fun family reunion with dancing and music.”
Although the festival will last only about two weeks, Fringe Arts will use its new building and accompanying bar and restaurant, La Peg, to host year-round programming from then on.
Stuccio says even if the Fringe Festival isn’t your thing, it still has a positive net effect on the city.
“Every time somebody decides to go out to the theater, they, of course, have to get a baby sitter, and they go out to dinner, and they go to a parking lot, and they buy a pack of gum and a beer afterward,” he said.
“All of this has an economy multiplier effect, and it’s rooted in our work in culture.”