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Here’s where to celebrate the winter holidays in Kensington

Santa Claus poses for a photo on Somerset Street during the NKCDC’s Holiday Market on December 4, 2021. (Photo by Siani Colón)

As the year comes to a close and another one begins, community members are celebrating their favorite holidays from Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, to New Year’s Eve and Three Kings Day. 

Throughout December and January, several community organizations are hosting winter festivities to provide safe, accessible spaces to bring people together. 

Here is a list of activities happening in Kensington and the surrounding neighborhoods this holiday season. Stay tuned for updates to this list in the following weeks. 

Friday, Dec. 2

HACE Tree Lighting

HACE CDC is hosting its annual tree lighting ceremony at Fairhill Square Park at 412 W. Lehigh Ave. The free event will take place on Dec. 2 at 3:30 p.m. Attendees can enjoy complimentary hot chocolate, cookies, and live music during the event.

For more information, contact Irayma Olivencia at iolivencia@hacecdc.org or Marie Reyes at mreyes@hacecdc.org 

Saturday, Dec. 3

NKCDC Holiday Market

The New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) is hosting its annual holiday market in a tented area at Cantina La Martina located a 2800 D St (The original location changed due to weather). The outdoor event will take place on Dec. 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The market will feature over 30 vendors, kid’s activities, and free food from Cantina La Martina and Vientiane Bistro. Santa Claus will also be visiting the market.

For more information, click here. To learn about some of the featured vendors, read our holiday gift guide here.

Taller’s Encendido Navideño: El Barrio Christmas Village

Taller Puertorriqueño, a Puerto Rican art and cultural center in Fairhill, is hosting a Christmas event series. The series, Encendido Navideño, will take place across three different days (see below) at 2600 N. 5th St. 

The kickoff event, Encendido Navideño: El Barrio Christmas Village, is on Dec. 3 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in partnership with Los Bomberos De La Calle. There will be live music, Christmas craft tables, and local gift vendors. 

For more information, call Taller Puertorriqueño at 215-426-3311. 

Saturday, Dec. 10

Winter Craft Show

Friends of Campbell Square is hosting a Winter Craft Show at Campbell Square at 2525 E. Allegheny Ave. The event will showcase local craft vendors on Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Santa Claus will also make a visit and be available to take photos.

Vendors interested in participating should contact The Uncrafty Crafter on Instagram.

Harrowgate Winter Wonderland

The Harrowgate Civic Association is hosting its annual Winter Wonderland in partnership with Impact Services and Mural Arts. The seasonal festival will take place at Harrowgate Park on Dec. 10 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

The Winter Wonderland festival will have a variety of kid’s activities like ornament decorating, face painting, and games. Philadelphia Parks and Recreation’s Play Mobile will provide other activities too. 

Additionally, the Amber Owls will perform an original cheer routine. But the entertainment won’t stop there. Help stop the Grinch from stealing Christmas! Santa Claus and The Grinch will both be at the park to take photos. And among all the activity, community organizations will be tabling to provide resources.

For more information, email Harrowgate Civic Association President Shannon Farrell-Pakstis at harrowgatecivicassociation@gmail.com.  

Queer Space Philly Holiday Market

Queer Space Philly, a group organizing meet-up events for Philly’s LGBTQ+ community, is hosting a holiday market featuring 18 local vendors.

The market will take place inside Immortal Vision Studio at 426 E. Allegheny Ave., Suite 2B on Dec. 10 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The venue is wheelchair accessible too. 

There is a suggested entry fee of $5, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Proceeds from the entry fee will be split and donated to Immortal Vision Studio and Galaei, an organization providing services and support for queer and transgender people of color.

Taller’s Coquito & Salsa Dance Class

Taller Puertorriqueño’s second event as part of its Encendido Navideño series is a Make Your Own Coquito & Salsa Dance Class. The event is on Dec. 10 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 2600 N. 5th St.

Attendees will learn how to make a coquito, a Puerto Rican coconut-based rum cocktail similar to eggnog. After perfecting your mixing skills, join the salsa dancing lesson. Tickets for this event are $100 for an individual and $150 for two people.

For more information, call Taller Puertorriqueño at 215-426-3311. 

Friday, Dec. 16

Taller’s Christmas Gift-Making Workshop

Taller Puertorriqueño’s third event as part of its Encendido Navideño series is a Christmas Gift-Making Workshop. The event will take place on Dec. 16 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 2600 N. 5th St.

It’s never too late to make the perfect gift! With help from Taller’s Christmas elves, sew a stocking, design accessories, or wrap presents.  

For more information, call Taller Puertorriqueño at 215-426-3311. 

Saturday, Dec. 17

End of Year Jawn

The Block Gives Back is partnering with SAFE-HUB Philadelphia to host its annual event, the End of Year Jawn. The event is on Dec. 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Maken Studios North at 3525 I St. 

The organizations will be giving away toys and essential items, connecting community members to resources, and providing a range of activities. Families can even enjoy Skating with Santa at nearby Scanlon Ice Rink at 1099 E. Venango St.

For more information, contact The Block Gives Back

McPherson Winter Festival

Friends of McPherson is hosting a winter festival at McPherson Square Park on Dec. 17 from noon to 3 p.m. in partnership with Impact Services, McPherson Square Library, and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. 

Attendees can take photos with Santa Claus and participate in art-making activities. There will be free hot chocolate as well.

For more information, contact Margarita Gonzalez at mgonzalez@impactservices.org 

Sunday, Dec. 18

Knights of the Kingdom Toy Run

Knights of the Kingdom Motorcycle Ministry is hosting a holiday parade and toy drive around North Philly. Participants should gather at 4011 G St. at 2 p.m. The parade will begin at 2:30 p.m. and make several stops at neighborhood parks:

  • Fairhill Square Park at 2601 N. Lawrence St. at 3 p.m.
  • Hunting Park at 900 W. Hunting Park Ave. at 4 p.m.
  • Juniata Park at 1120 E. Cayuga St. at 5 p.m. 
  • McPherson Square Park at 601 E. Indiana Ave. at 6 p.m.  

Wednesday, Dec. 21

Polar Express Toy Giveaway

The Community Center at Visitation is hosting a toy giveaway on Dec. 21 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 2646 Kensington Ave. There will be a hot chocolate bar, activities, desserts, live performances, and a toy giveaway for children under the age of 14. The child must be present at the event.

Pre-registration is required due to limited spots. To register or for more information, call 215-426-9422. 

Saturday, Dec. 24

Community Holiday Giveaway

The Everywhere Project and Philly Unknown are hosting a holiday giveaway on Dec. 24 at 10 a.m. at the Ruth Street Garden at 3029 Ruth St. Volunteers will give away toys, snacks, and children’s clothes. 

If you’re interested in volunteering at the event, report to the garden by 9 a.m. Monetary donations to support the event are being accepted via Paypal. In-kind donations for the event can be dropped off at the garden. Contact phillyunknownproject@gmail.com for more information.

Friday, Jan. 6

Three Kings and Three Queens Day

Taller Puertorriqueño is hosting a gift giveaway and a meet and greet with the Three Kings and Three Queens on Friday, Jan. 6 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 2600 N. 5th St. The deadline to register for the event is Jan. 2. Reserve your spot by filling out this form, emailing José Antonio Santiago Benítez at jsantiago@tallerpr.org, or calling 215-426-3311. 

Gift donations, such as art supplies, STEM toys and games, and sensory games, can be dropped off at Taller Puertorriqueño or at The Academy of Music at 240 S. Broad St until Jan. 3.

Parranda Navideña

The Lighthouse and La Guaua 47 are hosting Parranda Navideña, a night of carols with music from Jibaros con Tumbao and Miguel Orlando, on Jan. 6 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event will take place at The Lighthouse’s Sports and Entertainment Complex at 101 E. Erie Ave. Live music will begin at 6 p.m. 

Saturday, Jan. 7

Three Kings Day Storytime

Taller Puertorriqueño is hosting a storytime reading of the children’s book, “Un coquí de Boriquén con los reyes a Belén” on Jan. 7 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 2600 N. 5th St. The book will be read in Spanish by special guest Alyssa Reynoso-Morris. There will be coloring activities and light snacks.

To register, click here.

Ongoing

Lighthouse Winter Fest

The Lighthouse is hosting a winter festival at its Sports and Entertainment complex at 101 E. Erie Ave. The festival will take place on the weekends beginning on Friday, Dec. 2 and ending on Saturday, Jan. 7. 

Attendees can enjoy the hayrides, fire pits, s’mores, and light displays in addition to themed nights like Coquito Night (Dec. 10), First Responders Night (Dec. 17), Vendor Friday (Dec. 23), and 3 Kings Day (Jan. 7).

General admission tickets are $10. However, children 2 years old and under can enter for free. To purchase tickets, click here

For more information, call 215-425-7800.


Editors: Zari Tarazona / Designer: Siani Colón

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