Deck the Ave 2021 kicks off next week in East Passyunk


The holiday season kicks off officially in South Philadelphia next week for the East Passyunk neighborhood.

Already a picturesque section of the city, East Passyunk takes this season to showcase what it has — and that’s more than 160 independently-owned businesses. There will be the return of the popular in-person annual tree lighting ceremony, photos with Santa for children and pets, pop-up music performances, spirited decorations adorning the avenue, and much more, starting on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 27, through the end of 2021.

“We are excited to celebrate the holidays on East Passyunk with a number of brand-new businesses, beloved classics, and ongoing events and entertainment to keep things festive throughout the season,” said Adam Leiter, Executive Director of East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District in a statement. “Whether you are coming to the avenue from around the corner or traveling here as a destination, this is the year to make memories that will last a lifetime.”

The annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Singing Fountain (East Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street) is typically the focal point of the area’s festivities and it’s back again in 2021. This year, all are invited to take part in the official holiday kick-off and Christmas tree lighting on Thursday, Dec. 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. On top of the return of the in-person lighting, this year’s tree is also receiving an upgrade: Now tricked out in LED lights, the enhancement aims to reflect the sounds of holiday music within the surrounding area.

Photos with Santa for both kids and pets is another fan-favorite holiday tradition on East Passyunk Avenue, and Philadelphians will be able to bring their own camera and take holiday photos with Santa at no cost, starting on Thursday, Dec. 2, following the tree lighting ceremony between 6 and 7 p.m. There will then be three additional chances for photos with Santa this year at 1904 East Passyunk Ave.: Wednesday, Dec. 8, from 5 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 18, from 3 to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 19 from noon to 2 p.m. 

Some events last throughout the season as well, for instance, the East Passyunk Punch Card. With this, you receive a punch for each $10 spent at participating businesses and submit the completed card of $100 spent to enter to win a weekly gift card from a raffle drawing on behalf of EPABID (East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District.) Letters to Santa can also be dropped off at the North Pole Mailbox at the Singing Fountain throughout the season.

There’s also Hanukkah Happenings where you can celebrate the festival of lights with the South Philadelphia Shtiebel for Hanukkah menorah lightings on the avenue at the Singing Fountain with a community event on Sunday, Dec. 5,  and a Holiday Concert and Dance at Society Hill Dance Academy (SHDA) where you can join SHDA and City Rhythm Orchestra for a holiday concert and dance party open to all on Sunday, Dec. 12 at 4 p.m. Those who head to the Ave can also enjoy pop-up music performances with carolers, musicians, mummers, and more and partake in Shop and Stroll Sunday. On this specific day, Dec. 12, East Passyunk will start with brunches, followed by bunches of sidewalk sales, pop-up events, and other holiday surprises. 

It’s all happening with the backdrop of Deck the Ave decorations and live trees. Keep an eye out for photo opportunities, twinkling lights and spirited scenes along the Avenue, and stop by the annual holiday display inside Urban Jungle along with Christmas Trees for sale to take it all in.

For more information about Holiday Happenings or EPABID, check out their website or follow EPABID at


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