PennFest makes its return on September 19

After a COVID-related hiatus, Richfield’s open streets event, PennFest, returns to Penn Avenue on September 19. The community event will welcome back familiar faces, along with new highlights for residents young and old.

“Our vendors and community partners are very excited to return back to PennFest this year,” stated Richfield recreation supervisor and PennFest coordinator Huy Nguyen. “We hope people will come out and have a great day.”

The event will be held on Sunday, September 19, from 1-5 p.m. along the Penn Avenue corridor in Richfield. The avenue will be closed to vehicles, with major intersections monitored by the city’s Public Safety Department. Visitors are encouraged to walk, bike, scooter and stroll along the route to visit more than 50 vendors and community groups who will be in attendance.

Conscious of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the event promotes social distancing with vendors spread out and visitors are encouraged to keep their distance from others from different households. Masks will be encouraged, but not required. Potential visitors are requested to stay home if they are not feeling well.

“Given that this event is spread along 10 blocks of Penn Avenue, the city’s public health officials feel that visitors and vendors will have plenty of space to social distance,” explained Recreation Services Director Amy Markle. “We hope it will be a great opportunity for people to connect with their community and celebrate all that Richfield has to offer, while still feeling safe.”

The event will be full of music and movement, from a symphony to Zumba to break dancing and even a DJ. Food trucks will also be offering Tibetan momos, ice cream, waffles, tacos and much more for purchase.

“We’re also excited to be partnering with two amazing groups and their events this year,” acknowledged Nguyen. “Minnesota Independent College and Community will be coordinating this year’s 1-mile and 5k race in the morning, and in the afternoon we will be hosting the Special Olympics Minnesota’s Mobile Polar Plunge.”

People interested in participating in the 1-mile or 5k event can find more information online at: https://p2p.onecause.com/micc5k.

Information about the Mobile Polar Plunge can be found at https://fundraise.somn.org/campaign/pennfest-plunge/

Back by popular demand, the Pet Zone will be located near Woof Central at 63rd Street and Penn Avenue. The Pet Zone will feature vendors, resources and activities. A goat petting zoo will be visiting Richfield, along with some special contests and prizes for local furry friends. At 1:30 p.m. the Pet Zone will host a “Muttloaf” Eating Contest, followed by a Best Trick Contest at 3:30 p.m.

Penn Avenue businesses will also be celebrating the day, with specials and prizes featured along the corridor. From restaurants to toy shops to soda pop, each business expects great foot traffic during the event.

“This is a great opportunity for people to discover our local businesses and find their new favorite spot on Penn Ave,” stated event organizer Gordon Hanson. “Between our businesses, vendors and community tables, there should be something for everyone.”

Volunteers are still needed to help greet visitors and direct people along the corridor.  Residents interested in helping with the event can contact Huy Ngyuen by emailing hngyuen@richfieldmn.gov or calling 612-861-9396.