West Philly Music Playgroup seeking indoor space for winter

Posted on 19 November 2014


“Tuba Dan” of West Philadelphia Orchestra playing the accordion for West Philly Music Playgroup at Clark Park. (Photo by Anna Selfridge)

About 30 tots and their caregivers, members of the West Philly Music Playgroup, are desperately seeking indoor space for meet-ups and activities during winter. The group, which started in the spring of 2013, has been steadily adding new members who enjoyed playing together and socializing outdoors during the warmer months. Since last spring the group has been meeting at Clark Park (at the stone courtyard at the corner of 45th and Chester) for some outdoor play, music, and fun. But with winter coming on (and the threat of more polar vortices), indoor space is needed that would accommodate the group’s growing numbers.

The group organizers say that they have looked into some available indoor spaces around the neighborhood, but they all charge over a hundred dollars a month.

“The play group has always been free and that makes it more readily available for people of all incomes and backgrounds to join in on the fun,” writes the group founder Alexandra E. Gunnison. “We would really just need the space from December to March, give or take some time depending on the weather.”

The group is not very formal and organizes mostly through social media. “I’ll post a reminder in different Facebook groups (West Philly Playgroup or the group I started, West Philly Nannies) that play group will be happening on Tuesday morning and sometimes we have parents or nannies with their children join in from the park or the street,” writes Alexandra. The kids and caregivers meet up around 10 a.m., have a bit of free play and talk time and then gather together for songs like Ring Around the Rosie, the alphabet, or the Wheels on the Bus.

The group also had a few “special events”, like a Halloween themed music playgroup at the Woodlands Cemetery with apple cider and muffins and birthday celebrations with goody bag hand-outs.

And check out the impressive list of musicians who have already performed for the group’s tiny members (Alexandra says she’s friends with them):

“Tuba” Dan Nosheny of West Philadelphia Orchestra, Neon and Shy, Polkadelphia and Red Hot Ramblers. Sarah Larsen of Lady Bird and Frankie Velardo of The Downtown Shimmy and Aardvark Felon performed for the group as well.

If you would like to help out or for more information please contact Alexandra by calling 240-460-8572 or emailing: aegunnison[at]

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Crossroads Music program resumes, free children’s concert this Sunday

Posted on 15 November 2014


Corey Harris (publicity photo).

After the summer break and some uncertainty regarding the Fall 2014 season, Crossroads Music is resuming its program. So far the company has announced performances by two musicians, which will take place at The Rotunda (40th and Walnut) while the Calvary Church building, its usual performance space, is undergoing maintenance.

This Sunday (Nov. 16), Corey Harris, a blues guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, and band leader, will give two performances. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. (tickets are $10-$30 and can be purchased here) and there will also be a free program for children and their caregivers starting at 6 p.m.

On Sunday, Nov. 23, Honduran musician Aurelio will bring Garifuna music sounds to The Rotunda. This performance also begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are available here.

More performances will be announced soon, according to the Crossroads Music website, so check it regularly for updates.


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West Philly weekend: Fall festivals, tree giveaway, Day of the Dead, Hot Taco Massacre

Posted on 31 October 2014


Photo by Eva Jacobs.

This weekend is not only about Halloween (that said, you can check Halloween events here). A bunch of other fun community events are being held this Saturday and Sunday, including food-centered events (End of Season Fall Market, Vegan Day celebration, a taco fundraiser), a tree giveaway and a couple of fall festivals. For more upcoming events or if you want to submit an event, go to our Event listings.


Saturday, Nov 1 

• End of Season Market Celebration & Tree Giveaway

Neighborhood Foods Farm (53rd & Wyalusing), 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.


Photo courtesy Urban Tree Connection.

Urban Tree Connection (UTC) and Neighborhood Foods (NF) invite neighbors to an end-of-season market, featuring fall farm produce, $3 chicken platters (cooked by NF Coop Members Gale and Nicole) with potluck sides, vendors, and giveaways: recycling bins and yard trees provided thanks to a grant from TreePhilly. You can also bring your own food or items to sell. There will be 50 trees available for property owners with yards – an open (unpaved) area on private property – and are absolutely free. They come with a free planting demonstration, educational materials, and a bag of mulch from the Fairmount Park Organic Recycling Center. Several species will be available, ranging from large shade trees to medium-sized trees to smaller fruit trees. A full list of available species can be found here. To reserve your tree and for species list, contact Karen: 215‐900‐1292 or 


• Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) Celebration

Penn Museum (3260 South Street), 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

DayoftheDead 5

Photo courtesy Penn Museum.

This Saturday, the Penn Museum presents the third annual Day of the Dead Celebration. Throughout Mexico and around the world, Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) brings family and friends together to pray for and remember loved ones who have died. The celebration includes pageantry, traditional music and dance, storytelling and puppetry, paper maché artistry, sugar skull and mask making, face painting, special foods and more.

Guests can also view colorful altars (ofrendas) designed by regional community groups, and a large Day of the Dead altar created by the Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia and the Mexican Cultural Center, co-organizers of the event, with the help of local artist Cesar Viveros. The event is free with Penn Museum admission ($15, general admission; $13, seniors [65+]; $10, children [6-17] and full-time students [with ID]; $2 ACCESS Card holders; free to children under 5, members, active U.S. Military, STAMP and PennCard holders). For more information, go hereContinue Reading

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Halloween events: Philly Thriller returns, Tot Parade, Kids’ Halloween Jam, Night of the Philly Dead and more (updated)

Posted on 30 October 2014


Philly Thriller performs in front of The Rotunda (Facebook photo).

We hope you prepared your spooky costumes because All Hallows’ Eve is almost here! Check out our Halloween events roundup (for kids and adults alike) below and we hope you have a lot of fun. Also, the popular local community dance group, Philly Thriller (Facebook page), will be performing again on West Philly streets. Here’s a tentative schedule of their performances:

4:30 p.m. – Dress rehearsal on The Rotunda Plaza (40th and Walnut)
5:00 – 5:15 p.m. – Performances at 42nd and Osage
5:30 to 6:45 p.m. – Clark Park performances

Also, there will be some “Catch us on Baltimore Ave” flash mob performances, according to Philly Thriller founder Rashida Holmes.

Continue Reading

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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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Free preschool options in West, Southwest Philly

Posted on 14 October 2014

headstartThe Philadelphia Head Start Partnership (PHSP), a program of Public Health Management Corporation, provides no-cost preschool education and family support services to low-income children and families and is currently accepting applications for this school year. Recently, PHSP began partnering with various child care providers in West Philadelphia (see the list of locations below).

Children who were 3 by Sept. 1, 2014 are age-eligible for Head Start services. If you are interested in applying to PHSP, please call 215.205.0400 to set up an intake appointment.

The following locations in West and Southwest Philadelphia now offer Head Start programming managed by PHSP:

Child Care Centers

Brightside Academy
4829 Lancaster Ave. 19131

Brightside Academy
4047 Lancaster St. 19014

Brightside Academy
801 N. 48th St. 19139

Woodland Academy
5401 Grays Ave. 19143  Continue Reading

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