The Philadelphia International Art Expo drew only light crowds on Saturday in Mt. Airy. The weather was a mixed blessing with sunny skies and occasionally gusty winds. At 2:39 p.m. a gust of wind blew a painting on display right off its hook and onto the pavement near Food for All.
There was a lot to look at with vendors displaying jewelry, pottery, clothes and paintings. Also, nearly all of the businesses in the 7100-block area of Germantown Ave. were open. This provided plenty of options for food and shelter from the wind.
Expo in Mt. Airy
This is the first time the expo is being held in Mt. Airy. Mercer Redcross, one of the organizers of expo, said one of the goals with bringing the event here is bring the art and artists closer to the people. “Here we’ve got the personal interaction, the personal feel, the community,” Redcross said.
There was some talk among business owners and residents that the expo was hurting businesses. Resident Greg Beetle, who lives above The Black Pearl Restaurant, said it’s been a burden on Mt. Airy. “Not one of these vendors are local…there’s no sanitation here, no Porto potties, the local businesses are being taxed, and being hurt businesswise and they are being made to provide all the things the organizers of this event failed to provide,” he said.
Afshin Kaighobady, owner Philly Electric Wheels, said his business was down. “Usually Saturdays we’re very, very busy, and it’s very very slow today.”
NewsWorks talked other local businesses; a hair stylist at Polish Salon said the expo didn’t stop her customers from making it in. In Owens Antiques, the staffer said the expo has brought more people into her shop but as of Saturday afternoon that didn’t translate into higher sales.
Festivals attract narrow demographics
The Philadelphia International Art Expo features mainly African-American artists. The event attracted mostly African-Americans to the event, even though Mt. Airy is one of the most progressive and diverse communities in the nation.
Further up Germantown Ave. it was nearly an all white crowd for Chestnut Hill’s Harry Potter Weekend. The event drew large crowds of mostly families with children. Most of Harry Potter themed events took place inside stores. So, you if were looking for the Potter fest and didn’t see it that is why.