Jenkintown’s Festival of the Arts will serenade the borough with jazz, dazzle it with arts and splash it with brews this weekend.
The festival, which used to be called the Jazz and Brew Fest, has grown — so the name did too, according to Ben Ginsberg, Executive Director of Jenkintown Community Alliance.
In its 2011 installment, the festival celebrates the art of many disciplines, not just brewing.
“Last year was the first year we added a component of the juried art show. The arts encompass painting, drawing, music, a student art show, and my belief is that the brewery element is an extremely popular element of the festival, so it’s the art of local brewing,” Ginsberg said.
Jenkintown will be overfilling with art from 1 to 6 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 18, with a juried art show featuring 45 artists, more than 70 vendors and craftspeople, live music, dance performances, and of course, a brew tent.
One aspect of the festival that is very important to the organizers is their slogan to keep it local.
Most of live acts are from the area, including the Jenkintown High School Jazz Ensemble and dance performance from Edge Dance Company. Many of the artists in the show come from within a five-mile radius of Jenkintown, from Abington and surrounding areas, but not too far away, Ginsberg said.
“Now, more than ever, communities nationwide understand the importance of going local,” said Jen Stackhouse, promotions and volunteer coordinator for the Jenkintown Community Alliance “Jenkintown Festival of the Arts brings this commitment to life.” Restaurants from Jenkintown, Abington, and the area will show off their chops at the festival, such as Rosie’s Barbecue, and Tabora Farms, which will have baked goods, like cakes and pies for sale.
“It’s unusual because it’s an interesting mix of festival food and local restaurants who are able to showcase their wares. There are folks who apparently do festival food for a living and travel, so you have fried Oreos and festival food things like that. There are also local restaurants and caterers who are providing food,” Ginsberg said.
Many of the breweries with beer samples are from the Philadelphia region, including Prizm from North Wales. While others travel from the East Coast, such as Magic Hat and Long Trail (from Vermont), and East Coast Brewery from Point Pleasant, N.J.
“Gretz Brewing brings a lot of their brewery clients, and we really like to make sure there’s something for everybody. We have a lot of craft brewers,” Ginsberg said.
He said that while the beers are pretty local, the attendees of the event may not be. The festival is sponsored by the community alliance to draw more people – potential shoppers and possible new business owners — to the existing businesses to increase visibility and revenue.
“The more that I talk to people about the brew fest, the more I’m learning about people in beer tasting groups, and how people travel to different festivals and want to try different types of beer,” he said.
The alliance’s goal of attracting more commerce to Jenkintown led to the expansion of the festival from brew to encompass many arts. The Jazz and Brew Fest was already very popular, but the alliance wanted it to grow.
“The goal was really to branch out. The Jenkintown Community Alliance is an improvement district, so you want to offer things for as many potential customers as possible,” he said.
The festival is also one hour longer this year and ends at 6 p.m.
General admission to the festival is free. Admission to the tent is $25 in advance and $30 at the door.
For more information, visit the website at www.jenkintownfest.org.