Esperanza’s Housing and Economic Development staff and event volunteers welcome people to the Feltonville Fiesta.

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Summer is here, bringing street celebrations and opportunities to enjoy family-friendly outdoor events in the city. On June 1st, the 20th anniversary of the Cana Festival was celebrated between 6th Street and Susquehanna Avenue. The community enjoyed music, gifts, and cash prizes for the winners of the traditional Domino Tournament.

The day before, another event debuted in North Philadelphia’s Feltonville neighborhood. The Feltonville Fiesta was held on the evening of May 31st, along the Wyoming Avenue business corridor, between C and D streets, from 6 pm – 8:30 pm. What a sight to behold! Unlike anything their neighbors could remember, the evening brought a street festival with food, music, and fun events for children and parents alike.

A street view of Wyoming Avenue, during the Feltonville Fiesta.

Many faces lit up with surprise as they returned home from work, greeted by the arch of colorful balloons and free food, including pizza, taquitos dorados, sodas, and ice cream waiting for them. Children freely played in the street, looking up in amazement at the street performers walking along on stilts, while waiting to take their turn in the bouncy house.

Children at the Feltonville Fiesta enjoy the bouncy house.

Spicy Latin music blared from the stage as the Mad Beatz Philly drum line kept the beat, marching in the street. Neighbors and business owners alike came out of their homes and sat on their stoops, chatting with families and children walking by, enjoying the evening sun and the live merengue music and other performances. Many booths were set up, such as the Free Library of Philadelphia, El Concilio, State Representative Danilo Burgos, Mi Salud Wellness Center, and others.

The Mad Beatz Philly drum line performs in the street at the Feltonville Fiesta.

The barber shops on Wyoming Ave seemed busier than ever. In fact, talking to a barber outside his shop, obviously delighted by the festivities, I was tempted to take him up on his offer to clip my hair!

This special event for the community was hosted by Esperanza, supported by a Corridor Safety Enhancement grant from the Philadelphia Department of Commerce. These funds were made available in response to concerns by the small business community and residents about the growing incidences of crime along this commercial strip.

Street performers mingle with residents at the Feltonville Fiesta.

Here’s why it matters: studies have shown that having outdoor community events during summer evenings can help turn the tide against crime and foster greater connection and collaboration among neighbors and business owners alike. This community strongly connects with the Dominican Republic, a country known for its love of music, dancing, and enjoying one another. Events like this rekindle this spirit and spark memories of a vibrant evening street life back home in DR.

Esperanza’s Housing and Economic Development team, celebrating a successful event

Everyone at the event that I spoke to expressed delight, with only one or two wistful comments about not seeing more residents from the surrounding communities join in the festivities. The local 25th police district and Sherriff’s Office were incredibly pleased and encouraged me to let the sponsors know that the Feltonville and other communities could benefit from evenings like this, where they can come out of their homes feeling safe and letting their children play with others along the corridor. They heartily agreed that these activities deter crime, bring back business, and revitalize the neighborhood.

The winner of the TV raffle at Feltonville Fiesta.

As one resident said, «Just as I remember growing up on the streets in my barrio in Santo Domingo, I hope that this will only be the beginning of creating fond memories for my children who will have them to pass down to their own kids here in this country.»

The stage at the Feltonville Fiesta.

In addition to Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce grant, AMLA of Esperanza, Councilmember Quetcy Lozada and the Hunting Park and Feltonville Business Association all contributed to making this a major success. May this first Feltonville Fiesta night festival turn into a tradition that families will look forward to welcoming in the summer months.


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