The Downingtown Fall Fest couldn’t have had better weather this year. With temperatures in the high sixties and partly cloudy skies, thousands walked along Lancaster Avenue, between Green Street and Wallace Avenue, enjoying the food, the music and other entertaining offerings from local businesses.
Along Green Street, members of the Lowe Riders BMX team flew through the air off the amazing ramps set up outside the BMX shop. At the east end of the festival, families posed for photos with giant forks and spoons at the Downingtown Dish’s photo booth. The hosts of WCHE 1520 AM’s radio interviewed musicians from The School of Rock. Couples emerged from the Werther’s Caramel Tent chewing on their free caramels and caramel covered apple slices. A long line of dedicated fans waited patiently at the Ka’Chi mobile food truck for their Short Rib Beef Cheesesteak or other options.
We stopped and sampled some of Station Taproom’s Pork Belly Tacos, being served up by none other than owner Sean McGettigan. “We’re having a great day,” Sean told us as he carefully filled a soft taco shell. “It’s kind of a community thing. It’s great for the revitalization of Downingtown. There’s a community that surrounds the borough and often drives right through it to get to other places — it’s nice that people can see we’re a little jewel in the center of Chester County.”
In the center of the action along Lancaster Avenue, musicians performed up on stage. Several local crafters set up tents with everything from tye-died t-shirts, jewelry, reproduction furniture and more. Other local businesses, including window installers and heating and air conditioning experts, were on hand to talk about their services and answer questions.
We stopped for a beer inside Victory’s Beer Garden, and ended up spying Victory’s own Bill Covaleski hanging out. Bill told us, “the community festival that Fall Fest was always intended to be is really maturing into that. There is a lot more events for children, the beer garden of course is lots of fun and Mother Nature has smiled on us!” He raised his head up at the sun peeking out from behind the clouds. “So it’s really coming together.”
I asked Bill about the origins of Fall Fest. “We operated in our own parking lot for four years and calling it a community festival was always kind of difficult,” Bill said. “Now, working with the borough to bring it here onto the street, it’s really become that.”
We searched around for Derek Lee, a dedicated foodie, who had tweeted out he would be perusing the festival. Derek blogs at bestfoodblogever.com, enjoyed sampling the atmosphere of the day. Although we never found him in person, we asked for his thoughts on the day through Twitter.
“Great, good, good fun, a wide spectrum of vendors and palpable sense of community in the air,” he wrote. Derek was especially fond of the food serves in Victory’s Beer Garden. “Both of Victory’s food offerings — the roast beef sandwich and the bratwurst — paired well with their signature Festbier… with the bracing tang of the horseradish dressing tempered by the cold beer and a slight breeze on this bright sunlit day.” A few moments later, he added, “I also ate three cupcakes from that one tent next to the ATM Truck (Dia Doce)!”
At the west end of Fall Fest, Amani’s served their excellent Chicken Salad Sliders, and Gadaleto’s offered up a choice of either Crab Cake or Lobster Roll sandwiches (both options are pictured to left). Oh, the choices!
As we made our way back toward Green Street, we stopped to chat with the folks of Beaver Creek Tavern, who were serving up delectable hot roast beef sandwiches. Pat Reichenbacher said, “We love being at Fall Fest and we just love Downingtown Dish!” Pat explained they have supported FallFest for the past few years and this has been one of the best. “This is our third year, considering last year it rained the whole day, this is fabulous!”