Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood is, admittedly, rather mysterious. Countless conversations have arisen about its exact boundaries—where it begins, where it ends. Is it called Fishtown because it’s by the water? It’s by the water, right? All logistics aside, the place really is a gem. And on April 24, the city will be celebrating the neighborhood’s historical (and environmental!) significance with the Fishtown Shad Fest.
Why Shad? What is Shad?
Shad is a fish. Very common to the Philadelphia region during Colonial times and up through World War II, shad was the fish that Fishtown most relied on for its economic well-being. One year, over 4 million shad were fished out of the Delaware River.
A lot has changed since then. Due to overfishing, shad can no longer be found in any local rivers and all available shad is shipped in from the west coast. I didn’t have the chance to get to know these little guys, and even if I had, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t know about all that business. All the same, people are big-time missing these fishies, and in their honor, the city will party down.
The Shad Fest will take place inside Penn Treaty Park on the 24th, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Highlights include a historic scavenger hunt that ends at the festival, shadfish provided by Johnny Brenda’s Tavern, Cosmic Catering and Festival Foods, and live music by The Strapping Field Hands, Birdie Busch, The Buried Beds, Blood Feathers and others. Neighborhood Bike Works will also be valet bike parking all day long. A number of community and environmental groups will be present, including The East Coast Greenway, the Bicycle Coalition, Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Fishtown Neighbors Association.
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