5 Rules for Behaving During Philadelphia Street Festival Season

Want to be a good temporary neighbor? Here’s what to remember while passing through.

South Street Festival. Photo | South Street Headhouse District

South Street Festival. Photo | South Street Headhouse District

Somehow, I went almost three decades in this city without having to experience a neighborhood street festival.

Actually, it was easy. I grew up in the Northeast and then spent a good chunk of my 20s in West Philly, two of the most insular communities this side of North Korea. (Go on, ask your friend from Fox Chase to meet you in Center City. I’ll wait.)

But now I find myself renting in Queen Village, an apparently popular part of the city with things to offer and visitors to entertain. If last weekend’s record-breaking South Street Festival was any indication, it’s going to be a long, long summer of improvised trashcans and suspicious puddles.

Want to be a good temporary neighbor? Here’s what to remember before you go back to the ’burbs. (Want to be an even better neighbor? Make some room in that fancy crossover vehicle and bring me with you to the promised land.)

1. Drive at Your Own Risk

I get it – I live in South Philly and I drive a car almost every day. But this is because I reject truth and happiness, not because it’s a good idea. If you insist on driving to a street festival, prepare to sit in traffic while rethinking every decision of the past 10 years. (Shhh, it’ll be OK, grasshopper. Just let the rage wash over you like a warm bath of despair and regret.) Whatever you do, don’t you dare freak out at the PPA officer when you return to a ticket. He might be a vindictive little prick, but he’s our vindictive little prick — show some respect.

2. Don’t Mess With Jeanine’s Window Boxes

The sign on Jeanine’s window might say she’s “Ready for Hillary,” but she’s also ready to cut anyone who stuffs an empty Rita’s cup in her petunias. (Once a Goretti Girl, always a Goretti Girl.) Although creative trashcans are something of a Philly tradition, the real deal is only a block away.

3. Pee Where You’d Usually Pee

One of the reasons — perhaps the only reason — I got into writing is that watching people go to the bathroom ruins my day. If it didn’t, I’d be a happy nurse with a happy nurse life. As it is, I’m a grumpy list maker, so help me out here: Even though many of the streets in Queen Village are more like alleys, they’re nothing like toilets. What do you think this is, the Broad Street Run? Find a proper place to pee.

4. Pick Up Your Pizza Fail

The only thing sadder than dropping a slice of Lorenzo’s? An orphaned, morning-after slice of Lorenzo’s, baking in the sun, waiting for my dog to maul it. You put your drunk friend in a cab, and you don’t even like him. You could at least put your faithful fallen pizza friend in a trashcan.

5. Go Home

If you think New Wave is a great bar, you’re clearly too drunk. If you think my stoop is a great bar, well, you’re goddamn right it is, but you’re still too drunk. Good night and good luck, friends.

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