WPL’s 2014 Pumpkin Carving Contest underway; Check out the sponsors

Posted on 23 October 2014

Many thanks to all who already submitted photos of their carved creations for West Philly Local‘s 2014 Pumpkin Carving Contest. Here’s a reminder that we’re accepting contest entries until 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31. After that there will be Readers’ Choice voting and all the winners will be announced on November 3. Please read more information on how to enter the contest here.

We would like to thank this year’s sponsors, all local businesses and organizations, who are providing prizes: Cafe Renata, Curio Theatre, Honest Tom’s Taco Shop, International House Philadelphia, Lil’ Pop Shop, Mariposa Food Co-op, Penn Museum, Sabrina’s Cafe, and VIX Emporium.

NOTE: Some readers put photos of their jack-o’-lanterns on Instagram and linked them to our site (hashtag #westphillylocal). Please make sure to also email them to: with your name, address and age (if you’re entering the Kids’ category). Thank you! We’re looking forward to more submissions.

Pumpkin Contest 2014 copy

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Books Through Bars hosting workshop, speakers, fundraiser on incarceration issues

Posted on 17 October 2014

Books-Through-Bars-LogoAn important discussion about incarceration has gained traction nationally in recent years and an important facilitator in that discussion locally is the organization Books Though Bars.

The group’s primary mission is to obtain, pack and ship books to inmates in the region, a volunteer-heavy activity they have been doing in West Philly for more than 20 years. There is a chance this Saturday to be part of this ongoing conversation, meet people from Books Through Bars and other organizations engaged in incarceration issues and raise a little money to keep their work going.

Books Through Bars is hosting a fundraiser tomorrow (Oct 18) at the LAVA Space at 4134 Lancaster Ave, beginning at 2 p.m. The event will feature free workshops and speakers (2 to 6 p.m.) from the following organizations: Decarcerate PA, Hearts on a Wire, The Center for Returning Citizens, HRC, Books Through Bars Address This!, and DreamActivist PA. After that there will be a rockers show (6-10 p.m.) hosted by MMGZ.

Please bring $5-8 to donate at the event. Also, Books Through Bars’ Business, Science and Math shelves are pretty empty right now, so if you have any books that you don’t need please bring them to tomorrow’s event or to the A-Space where the organization is located (4722 Baltimore Ave).

For more information, check out the Books Through Bars Facebook page.


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St. Francis de Sales students featured in Philadelphia Film Festival Premiere

Posted on 17 October 2014


Violinist Zebadiah plays with The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra and now attends Central High School.

This weekend, the annual Philadelphia Film Festival kicks off and we learned that students attending a local parochial school will be featured in one of the festival premieres.

Ilene Miller of Play On, Philly!, a tuition-free after school music program that has been operating for a few years at the St. Francis de Sales School near 47th and Springfield, sent us some more details about the film and the West Philly kids featured in it:

Play On, Philly! (POP), the innovative tuition-free after school music program in communities with little access to music education, was founded in 2011 at St. Francis de Sales School. The program, as well as two students, will be featured in the premiere of Crescendo! The Power of Music, at the Philadelphia Film Festival on October 20 and 25 (see a trailer here).

Filmmakers Jamie Bernstein (daughter of famed conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein) and Elizabeth Kling have been following Play On, Philly! at St. Francis de Sales since day one for their documentary about kids participating in two youth orchestra programs – POP and the Harmony Program in Harlem.


Raven started POP in 4th grade and now plays with Musicopia String Orchestra and Philadelphia Sinfonia. She wants to be a professional violinist.

You will be truly moved at the experiences of students Raven and Zebadiah – their struggles, heartbreak and joy – as they discover themselves through the mysterious power of music in the Play On, Philly! program.

Raven is a violin natural with a rambunctious spirit. Quiet, quirky Zebadiah overcomes his shyness and gains confidence through the viola.

Zebadiah is now in 11h grade at Central High School. He returns to St. Francis every week to mentor younger students as a POP Ambassador… Raven, now in 9th grade at String Theory Charter School, studies with a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra, plays in Philadelphia Sinfonia and Musicopia String Orchestra, and wants to be a professional violinist.”

Crescendo! The Power of Music will be shown on October 20 at 3:00 p.m. at The Ritz Bourse Theater and again on October 25 at 3:15 p.m. at The Prince Music Theater (including a performance by POP students and a discussion with Jamie Bernstein).

For tickets visit or call 267-607-3385.

(Photos by Steven Krull/Play On, Philly!)

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2014 Spruce Hill Halloween Parade and Party confirmed

Posted on 16 October 2014

halloween 1

We hope that our little neighbors and their families are getting their costumes ready because this year’s Spruce Hill Halloween costume parade for tots will be held on Friday, Oct. 31, the Spruce Hill Community Association (SHCA) announced earlier this week. The parade will start at 4:30 p.m. from the assembly area at 45th and Baltimore (next to Milk and Honey). The assembly will begin at 4 p.m.

West PhillyThe parade will follow the usual route down Larchwood to 43rd Street and over to the scarily decorated 4200 block of Osage (“Little Osage”), where the everyone will be welcomed with cider and treats.

SHCA, who is the sponsor of the parade, is asking that all tots be accompanied by an adult and that everyone be extra careful crossing streets to get to the parade and especially afterward, as darkness falls.

SHCA also invites little neighbors to stop by their center at 257 S 45th Street during trick-or-treating. “SHCA board member and Mel-Lo Townwatch leader Jackie Waiters will continue the long standing tradition of delighting trick-or-treaters with hand assembled goodie bags,” their announcement reads.

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WPL’s 2014 Pumpkin Carving Contest starts today

Posted on 15 October 2014

pumpkin_entry_2011-1Dear West Philly Local readers, we’re happy to announce our 4th Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest. We hope that more people will participate this year because we’ll have some awesome prizes from local businesses, plus there will be random drawings for prizes. Are you ready? Here are the rules:

The contest runs from October 15 through October 31, 2014. All ages are welcome to participate.

Submit a snapshot of your pumpkin by email ( that includes your name, address (West Philly residents only please), and age (if you are entering the Kids category). Entries from kids 12 and under will also be entered into the Kids category. Be sure to get a good photo that shows off your pumpkin’s best features. If you’re an Instagram user, please upload your photo there with the hashtag #westphillylocal.

Winners will be selected in the following categories:

Kids (12 and under)
Best Philly-Themed
Readers’ Choice (grand prize)

There will also be a random drawing for those pumpkins that didn’t win in any of the above categories, so everyone has a shot at an awesome prize.

The entry deadline is 6 p.m. on Friday October 31.

Voting for the Readers’ Choice will run on October 31 – November 2. Note: One entry per person.The winners will be announced on November 3.

If you need ideas check out the pumpkins entered in our previous contests here.

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Halloween-themed events kick off this Tuesday at The Woodlands

Posted on 14 October 2014

FunnyBonesThis month, we’ll be publishing information about Halloween-themed events happening in the area. Here’s a roundup for the upcoming events at The Woodlands Cemetery and Mansion (40th and Woodland). Many of them are for the whole family. Please note that the first two events, dedicated to works of Edgar Allan Poe, will take place today (Tuesday, Oct 14).

Tuesday, Oct 14

Edgar Allan Poe: Funny Bones (kids are welcome)

4:30-6:30 p.m.

The Woodlands is a perfect setting for something mysterious and macabre, like a performance based on Edgar Allan Poe’s works. Literary historian and playwright Rob Velella, who specializes in 19th century American literature, will demonstrate some of Poe’s most loved stories. This event is especially great for kids. For more info and to buy tickets ($15 adults, $10 kids), click here.

Edgar Allan Poe: Master of the Macabre

7:30-9:30 p.m.

Velella, will continue his demonstration of some of Poe’s works, in this after-dark performance. After his performance, Velella will take you on a nighttime cemetery walk to visit Poe’s contemporary, Timothy Shay Arthur, at his eternal resting spot. This event is more suitable for adults and children ages 10+. For more info and tickets ($20), click hereContinue Reading

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