Manayunk Arts Festival makes welcome full-scale return

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — More than 150,000 people made their way to Manayunk throughout the weekend for its 33rd annual Arts Festival.

Dozens of artists specializing in paintings, woodwork, jewelry and much more lined Main Street Saturday and Sunday. This was the first time the street has shut down completely for the event since 2019, allowing visitors to buy from and interact with merchants.

Rene Nadeau said he's been coming to the festival for more than a decade and every time he leaves, he leaves inspired.

"I'm in the field of Murphy beds. I like to look at the artwork on how I can incorporate it with my Murphy beds," he said.

"It gives me some ideas of seeing some of the creativity out here some of the beautiful displays of artwork, the insight and I'd like to see some ideas that I can use that from from my product line."

Greg Gillin, owner of Greg's Kitchen, at the grill.
Greg Gillin owns Greg's Kitchen on Main Street in Manayunk. Photo credit Justin Udo/KYW Newsradio

But the resurgence of the festival has been especially important for one Manayunk business.

For the last nine years, Greg's Kitchen in Manayunk has been a hot spot for people in the community looking to pick up a hearty breakfast or lunch. That changed last year when Hurricane Ida struck.

"When the hurricane hit it was a little gut punch, sort of set us back a little bit. We never thought we’d be closed for 10 months," said owner Greg Gillin.

He said his little restaurant, tucked away on Main Street in Manayunk, suffered a number of setbacks as a result of the storm.

"It was about 7 feet of water in the basement," he explained, "a lot of paper products down there, little bit of equipment and then river sludge just came in and sort of took over."

But with a lot of work, Greg's was able to reopen this weekend, just in time for the first full return of the Manayunk Arts Festival since 2019.

"To be open for Manayunk Arts Fest is pretty important," said Gillin. "I think it’s pretty important for the entire community of Manayunk. The street closed down. It's good to see vendors. It's good to see life back on the street. We're happy to be back."

And thanks in part to the festival, he said business is booming.

"It's been overwhelming," Gillin shared, "and I'm sure the emotions will catch up with me one day, but I don't have time for that today."

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