STORY WRITTEN BY VIRGINIA LINDAK
For Digital First Media
The 17th annual Blobfest is preparing to ooze into Phoenixville on July 8 through July 10 to celebrate the 1958 cult classic film “The Blob.” Festivities will run all weekend long, with many different events and family-fun activities for all to enjoy.
Much like the Blob itself, the popular festival will “take over” Bridge Street beginning on Friday night at the Colonial Theatre, and will continue all day Saturday with the street fair, into Sunday with special guests and double feature film screenings.
Filmed locally in the borough of Phoenixville as well as Chester Springs, “The Blob” starred a young future screen legend, Steve McQueen, and his gang of teenage friends as they try to save a town from an ever-expanding monster that threatens to ingest all of humanity. Several scenes were shot at various locations along Main Street and Bridge Street. The most widely known scene from the film, the “Run Out” will be reenacted on Friday night, as hundreds of people will run, screaming, out of the Colonial Theatre into a clamoring crowd of thousands.
The Blob Ball will begin just after the Run-Out on Friday night, across the street, upstairs at Club 212 with plenty of room to dance. Hosted for the second year by Lulu Boutique and Gifterie, owner Keely Wrigley said they were happy to host the Blob Ball again, and that 1950s dress attire is definitely encouraged for a fun-filled night of 50s swing dancing. Prizes will be awarded for Best Dressed and Best Dancers.
“We love Blobfest. It’s a great way to be a part of the town. Everyone loves a good excuse to get dressed up and the Blob Ball is a perfect excuse. The dance floor is going to be a lot bigger compared to last year. Club 212 is huge, so it’s going to be great,” said Wrigley, who noted the retro band Screamin Rebel Angels from Brooklyn, N.Y. will be performing throughout the night.
“There is no other Blobfest. It’s just so kooky, everything that they do. The people who show up at Blobfest; they get it. They have this retro feel, they love vintage, they’re rockabilly, they’re into cult horror movies. They’re just eclectic,” Wrigley added.
The quirky appeal of Blobfest and its many colorful characters continues to resonate with thousands of people each year, as the festival only continues to grow. Out-of-towners have made the journey from center city Philadelphia to as far away as California and Alaska to enjoy Blobfest and get a firsthand look at the town nearly destroyed by a gluttonous, red creature-monster.
Longtime Phoenixville resident Stephen Castrianni said he enjoys going to Blobfest each year, and bringing out of town friends to the fest, for a one-of-a-kind experience found only in Phoenixville. He noted that while beer and food truck festivals can be found in almost any town, Blobfest is unique to Phoenixville and the pop culture history of the town itself.
“It’s about establishing the longevity of Phoenixville. This is such a great thing that shows the history of Phoenixville in a really cool way, but also that Phoenxiville has been sort of a center for weird and odd, all the way back to 1958. I like taking people to Blobfest from out of town. They can’t get it anywhere else. It’s like out of a movie, the whole set up, with weird booths and people walking around wearing crazy costumes. There is nothing like this anywhere else, and we own it,” Castrianni remarked.
“A lot of my friends live in Philly and they come out here and are wowed by what goes on for a regular First Friday. Then I bring them out for Blobfest. They can’t get it anywhere else and they appreciate that,” he remarked.
The fun continues Saturday during the street fair, which will feature a wide array of special guests, vendors, music and activities. The Fire Extinguisher Parade, Olde City Side Show and Costume Contest are among events featured on Saturday. The festival’s theme this year is “60s Sci-Fi, The Vinyl Frontier.” Special guests will include Marta Kristen, who played Judy on the television show “Lost in Space” as well as the B-9 Robot from the show. Kristen will also take part in a Question and Answer session on Sunday afternoon.
“The great thing about Blobfest is that it is a family event and there are so few of those these days. It’s a place where you can bring little kids all the way up to grandparents. It’s really turned into something incredible. People come from all over the county for it,” said LuAnn Roth, Patron Services Manager of the Colonial Theatre.
More information, the Blobfest schedule and tickets are available at www.colonialtheatre.org