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Kensington organizations celebrate the holiday season with Santa Claus, the Grinch, and shopping

The holiday season officially arrived in the Kensington area on Dec. 4 with winter festivities and a holiday market. The Harrowgate Civic Association hosted its first annual Winter Wonderland festival in Harrowgate Park, and over on Somerset Street between Frankford Avenue and Coral Street, the NKCDC’s Holiday Market welcomed shoppers looking to buy local. 

At the Winter Wonderland, Mural Arts and Impact Services led art workshops with neighborhood children as community organizations and groups tabled in the park. Community members, especially children, had the opportunity to get their face painted, decorate ornaments, and draw chalk art. Notable Christmas characters such as Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer decorated the sidewalks along the park, too. Throughout the event, volunteers distributed beverages and food, including 300 cookies donated by ShopRite. 

kensington holiday season
Holiday themed chalk art on display on the sidewalk at Harrowgate Park during the Winter Wonderland event on December 4, 2021. (Photo by Siani Colón)

The Amber Owls, a local cheer and dance team, performed a series of cheers during the event. The competitive team is made up of girls between the ages of six and 13. The team’s coach, Mimi Martinez, practiced with the girls beforehand and helped lead them through the steps.

kensington holiday season
The Amber Owls cheerleaders and Amber Owls coach Mimi Martinez pose for a photo after their performance at the Harrowgate Civic Association’s Winter Wonderland event on December 4, 2021. (Photo by Siani Colón)

The Winter Wonderland reached its peak with the arrival of Santa Claus. Santa’s iconic beard and suit attracted the children’s attention right away, leading them to run over and surround him. The children were encouraged to write a letter to Santa before taking photos with him. Afterward, volunteers dressed like elves helped Santa distribute coloring books and crayons to the children. 

kensington holiday season
Santa Claus greets children at the Harrowgate Civic Association Winter Wonderland event on December 4, 2021. (Photo by Siani Colón)

The Grinch also made an appearance at the event, wreaking havoc by jokingly messing with table displays and teasing attendees. 

kensington holiday season
Harrowgate community member Elizabeth Coyle and The Grinch pose for a photo at Harrowgate Park during the Harrowgate Civic Association’s Winter Wonderland event on December 4, 2021. (Photo by Siani Colón)

In an effort to protect the community from COVID-19, Tang Pharmacy provided interested community members with vaccines and booster shots. According to Shannon Farrell, president of the Harrowgate Civic Association, more than 40 people were vaccinated at the event. 

kensington holiday season
Impact Services CEO Casey O’Donnell, Homeless American Volunteer Organization Coalition (HAVOC) founder Dennis Payne, and Harrowgate Civic Association president Shannon Farrell pose for a photo at Harrowgate Park during the Winter Wonderland on December 4, 2021. (Photo by Siani Colón)

The Winter Wonderland event followed the organization’s fall festival, which took place this past October. During the civic association’s meeting earlier this month, Farrell said the organization is committed to hosting a fall and winter event again next year and is planning on hosting another holiday event in the spring. 

NKCDC’s Holiday Market 

kensington holiday season
Gabriel Adam Echeverri, owner of Wildcraft Print Shop stands behind their merchandise outside of the Kreate Hub on Somerset Street at the NKCDC’s Holiday Market on December 4, 2021. (Photo by Siani Colón)

To allow neighbors to attend both events, a trolley from Philadelphia Trolley Works shuttled Winter Wonderland attendees from Harrowgate Park to the Kreate Hub at 2801 Frankford Ave. where NKCDC held its first in-person holiday market. 

Vendors at the market included Sunny’s Hot Chili, Fab Youth Philly, A Different Kind of Fine, and Wildcraft Print Shop. Last year, NKCDC hosted a virtual holiday market in an effort to support business owners who were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. NKCDC is running a virtual holiday market again this year until the end of December. 

“I really appreciate the wide scope of work that NKCDC does in this neighborhood and any opportunity I can get to support that work, and for that matter, to be supported by that work, seems mutually beneficial to me,” said Gabriel Echeverri, owner of Wildcraft Print Shop. 

The print shop’s designs are inspired by folklore, nature, and resistance, and the shop has made over 5,000 sales on Etsy so far. 

To find more small businesses to support this holiday season, check out our Last-Minute Gift Guide here.

Editors: Solmaira Valerio, Zari Tarazona / Designer: Henry Savage