Written By, Casey Schmauder Photos by Greg Sciulli
On Saturday, May 19 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation (WCDC) will host their second annual Two-Way Street Fest, closing off Wood Street from vehicle traffic for vendors, visitors, and residents to enjoy all of Wilkinsburg’s offerings in one place.
At last year’s inaugural event, over 1,000 people came together to learn about local businesses and organizations, sample food and drink, participate in outdoor activities, interact with artists, and enjoy live music and performances. With over 80 businesses promising to participate in this year’s event, the WCDC expects another fantastic turnout.
In addition to local businesses, food trucks, and other vendors; Fest activities will include a slate of live performances, including steel pan drummers, Barrels to Beethoven, the Brazilian percussion group, Timbeleza, professional dance trainers, K-Theatre Dance Complex, and more. Attendees can also spend the day learning to skateboard, rock climb, pogo, and slackline!
New this year, through a partnership with Wilkinsburg Historical Society, those interested in something a little more low key can participate in a walking tour in the business district to learn more about Wilkinsburg’s unique history and architecture.
Though Wilkinsburg continues to face many challenges, including high rates of vacancy, blight, and tax delinquency; the community’s strengths and opportunities are equally substantial. The WCDC created the Two-Way Street Fest to celebrate Wilkinsburg and highlight these strengths and assets, from accessibility and historic architecture to a strong business community and dedicated residents.
The Fest will also showcase some of the WCDC’s current projects, like the Wilkinsburg Train Station. Last year, Wilkinsburg residents, visitors, and alumni rallied together around the WCDC’s Train Station Restoration Project. The project will restore the more than 100-year-old Train Station building on Hay Street that once served as a bustling center for workers and travelers. The end goal is to create a community-focused space, perhaps with a restaurant and/or cafe on the main floor and retail and/or office space on the lower level.
The flood of support for the Train Station Restoration Project – the WCDC has already raised $3.5 million toward the project and Phase II of construction will begin this spring – shows that the community of Wilkinsburg values its past history, its present community, and its future progress.
For more information about the Two-Way Street Fest, visit bit.ly/TWSF2018 or call (412) 727-7855.