A Midsummer’s Guide to Skippack

Join the crowd: Folks ejoying the Fourth of July parade in Skippack Village.

Join the crowd: Folks ejoying the Fourth of July parade in Skippack Village.

There are two different ways to enjoy summer in Skippack Village, each is symbolic of a different approach to life itself.

The Roar of the Crowd

The town offers up its big events. Just follow the crowd.

Fourth of July Memories

The Fourth of July, already now a memory, brought cheering masses to our main street, Skippack Pike. People lined up to see born-to-be-wild motorcyclists, classic cars, flamboyant mummers, brave firefighters, marching musicians called Reilly Raiders, civic-minded business owners in clever floats, water-blasting deck washers and more  – all proceeding down Skippack Pike to enthusiastic applause. The Fireworks at night, considered by many the best in Montgomery County, were like a brilliant exclamation point at the end of a great day.

First Fridays

Family practice, an acoustic music group, featuring Larry and Kim Fetters (at right) and Ken Pilotti play haunting melodies at First Fridays in Skippack.

Family practice, an acoustic music group, featuring Larry and Kim Fetters (with guitars) and Ken Pilotti (keyboards) play haunting melodies at First Fridays in Skippack.

A smaller but steady crowd returns each month with First Fridays. Musicians of all different styles line our streets. Magicians, face-painters and other forms of family friendly entertainment join them to entice people into the town, and shops and restaurants stay open to accommodate the influx of visitors. Skippack perks up and bustles. The remaining summer First Fridays dates are  August 3 and September 7, and the event continues through November. More info.

Skippack Carnival

This coming Wednesday, July 18, marks the start the Skippack Carnival, which continues through Saturday, July 21st. This is a family friendly carnival, with bright multi-color lights, popcorn, cotton candy, rides, games of chance with stuffed-animal prizes and festive sounds. This year’s carnival promises to be bigger and better than ever with a new ride called the Music Express, bumper cars, a 80-foot high ferris wheel and a super slide. You can also listen to and see a beautiful new band organ from Belgium, which plays more than 500 songs. More info.

Going downhill fast. The Super Slide is one of many new rides being featured at the Skippack Carnival this year.

Going downhill fast: The Super Slide is one of many new rides featured at the Skippack Carnival this year.

Concerts across from Basta Pasta and at Palmer Park

Two concerts remain in the Skippack Summertime Concert series, which takes place in the park across from the Basta Pasta. On July 25, U2Nation, a U2 tribute band will play. On August 15, you can hear the sounds of  The Mango Men, a popular  area band. In addition, on August 10, local musicians, the Ken Battista Band, who often is responsible for getting folks moving at the Hotel Fiesole dance floor, will perform in Palmer Park in a concert setting, in an event sponsored by Skippack Township. More about the U2Nation show. More about Skippack events. More about the Ken Battista Band.

Montgomery County 4-H Fair

One last great event rounds out the Skippack Summer:  Montgomery County 4-H Fair will take place on August 9, 10, and 11 at the 4-H center located on Rt. 113, one mile south of Route 73 in Skippack. The 4-H Fair is the culmination of the 4-H project year for Montgomery County 4-H members. This is their opportunity to show their families, friends and the public the results of their work throughout the year. The fair also features demonstrations, contests, music and much more. I’ve enjoyed attending this event in the past and this year hope to cover the 4-H fair for the first time for I Love Skippack. More about the Montgomery County 4-H Fair.

Traveling All Alone

The Skippack Blogger enjoying a frozen lemonade tea in the summer heat: All the wisdom of great men is less significant to me than the 3-minute conversation with the cashier at the WaWa.

The Skippack Blogger enjoying a frozen lemonade tea from WaWa in the summer heat: All the wisdom of great men is less significant to me than the 3-minute conversation with the cashier at WaWa.

I have never been one to follow the crowd; if I see everyone else going to the right, I go left. Conversely, if I see everyone going to the left, I go to the right. For better or worse, the road itself has taken charge. I have walked now too long in the direction opposite of others to turn around and tag along.

I have come to rely on I Love Skippack, the website you are reading now, to serve as a bridge between myself and the rest of humanity. Sharing my writing on the Internet provides a tool for reaching out to others, something to talk about and connect me to a larger community.

Enter the village: I stop to chat with a shop owner or anyone familiar with I Love Skippack. We will make small talk, which is misnamed, because it is one of life’s biggest blessings. Nothing seems to quell my inner demons quite so well as an easy-going conversation on a topic trivial, be with it friend or stranger. All the wisdom of great men is less significant to me than the 3-minute conversation with the cashier at WaWa, which helps me connect the thought waves ricocheting between my brain cells back to reality.

Freedom to Wander and Roam

Charlie King is co-owner of the Miss Riddle's Candy Shop in Skippack: Getting to know shop owners is one of the great joys of wandering around Skippack Village..

Charlie King is co-owner of Miss Riddle’s Candy Shop in Skippack: Getting to know shop owners is one of the great joys of wandering around Skippack Village.

There is a joy in traveling alone. It lies in the freedom to wander and roam, the agility to explore nooks and crannies that are too narrow for the masses to enter. So it is during summer days in Skippack. The happiest times have been small-scale; stopping in a shop or restaurant on quiet afternoon and taking time to talk to the owners or listen to a band. Skippack is a place where I can settle in, focus and listen to stories, and feel like my presence matters. People begin remembering who I am. During each summer visit, Skippack Village tells her ongoing tale, and I leave eager to return to visit again, and hear the next chapter.

Favorite Skippack Blogger Hangouts, Summer 2012

Here are some of the Skippack Blogger’s favorite hangouts for Summer 2012.

The Sinful Cupcake Bakery and Cafe

The Sinful Cupcake Bakery & Cafe in Skippack Village offers gourmet cupcakes, great coffee and much more.

The Sinful Cupcake Bakery & Cafe in Skippack Village offers gourmet cupcakes, great coffee and much more.

This popular cupcake bakery, first known as It’s A Peace of Cake, has moved from its original location to 4034 Skippack Pike, next to beautiful Brasserie 73, and opened its doors as a full-scale bakery and cafe. In addition to the delicious gourmet cupcakes for which owner Kristin Sullivan has become justly well-known, the Sinful Cupcake offers delicious coffee, a wide range of baked goods, and a beautiful sitting area to hang out, with free wi-fi. The beautifully redesigned interior is courtesy of Kristin’s husband Bob Sullivan. Call 484.636.4732. More info.

Miss Riddle’s Candy Shop

A neat, cozy specialty candy shop. Miss Riddle’s features such delights as nostalgic brands of candy, fine chocolates, gelato, wax lips and much more. Charlie King, co-owner along with his wife Aimee Rush, has scholarly knowledge of the history of candy, and a passion for the science of satisfying the sweet tooth. If I have a chance to chat with Charlie, the shop becomes a delight for my mind as well as my taste buds. Charlie and Aimee have placed two comfortable sitting chairs in a beautiful bay window, and the cool air-conditioning, colorful displays with priceless packaging, selection of unusual sodas, and great conversation make it hard to leave Miss Riddle’s on a summer afternoon. Call 484.991.8135. More info.

Pop Pop’s Yogurt

Pop Pop's Yogurt at the Fourth of July parade in Skippack. Tony Szatkowski who owns Pop Pop's and the Goddard School, walks with members of his team."

Pop Pop’s Yogurt at the Fourth of July parade in Skippack. Tony Szatkowski who owns Pop Pop’s Yogurt and the Goddard School in Skippack, walks with members of his team.

Delicious, self-serve, soft frozen yogurt with a choice of toppings is itself enough of a treat, but Pop Pop’s also offers a fresh, beautiful oasis for cooling down in summer, with a choice of outdoor tables or indoor air-conditioning in a comfortably renovated shop. Free wi-fi is available, making it a likely stop for the Skippack Blogger. Pop Pop’s is located off of Bridge Road/Route 113. You can reach it on foot from Skippack Village from the Hotel Fiesole parking lot under the covered bridge and following the Skippack Trail on your right, which leads to the back of the old firehouse building, where Pop Pop’s is located. More info.

Farmer’s Market of Skippack

A new weekly Skippack event, the Farmer’s Market of Skippack opens up each Sunday around 9 am in a field across from the WaWa. The line-up of vendors varies, but on any given Sunday you may buy fresh farm produce, coffee, baked goods, sausages, pottery, jewelry, natually-flavored crushed ice and more. A great place for meeting people and making small talk. Before long, I am feeling like a part of a growing community of buyers and sellers. A energetic young management team has taken over the Farmer’s Market of Skippack, and the Skippack Blogger enjoys stopping by to yap with the great people and soak in the positive energy. More info.

Live Music at the Victorian Carriage Shops

On occasional Sunday afternoons under the covered patio in the Victorian Carriage Shops (4039 Skippack Pike), live musicians offer free concerts to anyone who willing to stop and enjoy life, courtesy of the Southwest Trading Post. This is a great place for the Skippack Blogger to hang out and talk to his favorite types of people, namely musicians.

Recently, I enjoyed a show by the duo of Michael and Tina Oelschlager who play roots and country gospel music and go by the name SpiritsHigher. Since retiring from full-time work,  former residents of nearby Royersford, PA Michael and Tina have taken to traveling the country in their RV, learning about different types of music, and are now heading out to Arizona, where they hope to make a new home: The joy of getting to know them mixing at once with that bittersweet word, “goodbye.”  SpiritsHigher will return to Skippack to perform at Skippack Days, which take place on October 6 & 7. More info.

To find out about future Sunday performances at the Victorian Carriage Shops, contact the owner of the Southwest Trading Post, Butch Kaelin, at 610.584.2774.

Dining Outdoors, a Great Skippack Summer Activity

Outdoor dining in Skippack in the morning: Sisters Tracey and Amy take care of customers at Mal's American Diner during breakfast. A third sister, Dina, is the owner of the restaurant.

Outdoor dining in Skippack in the morning: Sisters Tracey and Amy take care of customers at Mal’s American Diner during breakfast. A third sister, Dina, is the owner of the restaurant.

Skippack offers many choices for outdoor dining:

Back Porch Café
610.584.7870, 4000 Skippack Pike

Basta Pasta
610.584.0341, 4052 Skippack Pike

Black Dog Café
610.222.9211, 4049 Skippack Pike

Brasserie 73
610.584.7880,  4024 Skippack Pike

Cabana Bar
610.584.0341,  4052 Skippack Pike

The Farm House Restaurant
610.584.5170, 1146 Stump Hall Road

Hotel Fiesole
610.222.8009,  4046 Skippack Pike

Outdoor dining in Skippack in the evening: The beautiful coy pond at the Tokyo Japanese Restaurant.

Outdoor dining in Skippack in the evening: The beautiful coy pond at the Tokyo Japanese Restaurant.

Justin’s Carriage House
610.584.5005,  3911 Skippack Pike

La Villa Mexican Grille
484.991.8085, 4101 Skippack Pike

Mal’s American Diner
610.584.0900,  4006 Skippack Pike

Parc Bistro
610.584.1146, 4067 Skippack Pike

Roadhouse Grille
610.584.4231,  4022 Skippack Pike

Tokyo Japanese Restaurant
610.222.4777, 4044 Skippack Pike

Have a great second half of summer!
– from the Skippack Blogger Michael Shaw and the Neighborhood Web Guy Brad DeForest, your I Love Skippack team

Summer cool down, Skippack style, during our Fourth of July parade

Summer cool down, Skippack style, during our Fourth of July parade