Have Fun, Do Good: Art at the Rail Park

A cool multimedia arts festival comes to the Rail Park, the RBG exhibition opens in Old City and more things to do in Philly this week for an amazing cause

Have Fun, Do Good: Art at the Rail Park

A cool multimedia arts festival comes to the Rail Park, the RBG exhibition opens in Old City and more things to do in Philly this week for an amazing cause

We head into October this week, which means one thing: It’s time to lean into Halloween (and maybe the occasional pumpkin spice latte).

You could do that in a variety of ways, including scaring yourself witless at Terror Behind the Wallsbut the spooky season is always more fun if you can throw some do-good in the mix.

One way to do that is by checking out the glowing jack-o-lantern festival that opens this week benefitting the green spaces and historic houses in Fairmount Park.

If you’re not quite ready for Halloween, you could check out the brand new Ruth Bader Ginsburg exhibition at the National Museum of American Jewish History, attend a knit in to help the homeless or swing by the Rail Park for a major multimedia arts festival that lights up the park on Saturdays throughout the month.

Find all that and more in our guide to the week’s best do-gooder events below.

Things to do in Philly this week for a good cause

1. The Blue Bash at The Franklin Institute

The Philadelphia Fringe Bar 2019, Late Night Snacks
Photo courtesy Johanna Austin

This Hump Day musical extravaganza gives you the chance to hear good tunes in the hallowed halls of The Franklin Institute while supporting PA Blue Victory Fund’s major effort to turn Pennsylvania blue in the 2020 election cycle—if that’s your thing. Three stages throughout the museum play home to a host of area performers, like the Bearded Ladies Cabaret (pictured), Alice Cohen and five Pennsylvania electeds, including state representatives Liz Hanbidge and Joe Ciresi, who will whip out opera arias and Broadway melodies, respectively. Food and drink comes courtesy of a handful of local catering outfits and distilleries, like Tired Hands Brewing Company and Yards. Wednesday, October 2, 7pm, starting at $150, The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street.  

2. Jack's Pumpkin Glow in West Fairmount Park

The cast of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is carved into a glowing jack-o-lantern
Photo courtesy Jack’s Pumpkin Glow

West Fairmount Park will be radiating this October with a massive jack-o-lantern parade that finds thousands of intricately carved pumpkins lined up along a 1/3-mile trail in the park. The gourds in the exhibition will sport all kinds of designs—from dinosaurs and superheroes to famous Philadelphians (Gritty?!) and local landmarks. A rep from Fairmount Park Conservancy tells us that a portion of funds from the event go to support the land and historic houses of Fairmount Park—one of the true treasures of our local park scene. October 4–28, various times, $16.99 and up, two blocks from the Mann Center 5201 Parkside Avenue.

3. Notorious RBG at the NMAJH

A young Ruth Bader Ginsburg addresses a class at Columbia Law School
Photo courtesy National Museum of American Jewish History

No matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on, it’s hard to deny the hard-fought accomplishments of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who’s become something of a pop culture phenomenon over the past few years. Her trailblazing legacy gets its day in the sun at the East Coast premiere of Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the National Museum of American Jewish History. Inspired by the New York Times bestseller of the same name, the nationally touring exhibition utilizes photos, documents and historic artifacts that not only spotlight her work as a member of SCOTUS but her accomplishments as a wife, mother and fiery women’s rights advocate. October 4–January 12, 2020, $9, National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall East. 

4. Knit In at the School District of Philadelphia

A woman knits a blue sleeve that will eventually become a shirt
Photo courtesy Cupcake / Negative Space

Have a talent for knitting and want to find ways to help the homeless in Philadelphia? Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and the Urban Affairs Coalition are hosting a knit in at the School District of Philadelphia, where folks are invited to stop by to knit and crochet mittens, gloves, hats and scarves that will be donated to those experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia this winter. The event is absolutely free to attend, but you must bring your own knitting supplies!  Saturday, October 4, 11am–4pm, free, School District of Philadelphia, 440 N. Broad Street. 

5. Site/Sound Festival at The Rail Park

An illustration shows the Moon Platform installation at the Rail Park in Philadelphia
Illustration courtesy Mural Arts Philadelphia

Mural Arts Philadelphia, the American Composers Forum and Friends of the Rail Park are teaming up for a weeks-long—and free!—multimedia arts festival that’s inspired by Philadelphia’s Rail Park, an evolving public space in North Philadelphia built on an abandoned railroad track. Head to the Rail Park each Saturday from October 5 to 19 to check out large-scale art installations, musical and dance performances, and innovative sound and light displays that highlight the ways in which art enhances public spaces in communities across the city. There’s something new to see each week. Here’s what’s happening the first weekend, including the cool Moon Viewing Platform (pictured) from Joshua Abrams and the Natural Information Society. Check out the full Site/Sound schedule here. October 5–19, 5:30–9pm, The Rail Park, Broad and Noble streets. 

6. Register to vote!

As long as we’re on the topic of October, we might as well remind you that October 7 is the absolute final day to register to vote in Pennsylvania in the November 5 election. Are you all set? Double-check your status, learn how to get an absentee ballot and more in our guide to registering to vote in Pennsylvania. Let’s boost those voter-turnout numbers and show the establishment we mean business!

More things to do in Philly this week for a good cause

  • Love all Isaiah Zagar’s glass murals along South Street? The Philadelphia Magic Gardens 5K Mosaic Brunch Run supports preservation efforts to keep them looking spiffy—and gets you one free beer and food discounts at Hawthorne’s.
  • The Pink Elephant Movement charity run, walk and fun run returns to fight Philly’s opioid epidemic. The race was created in 2016 by former addict Reenie Dugan.
  • Laughter and Love: A Funny Fundraiser rolls into Helium Comedy Club to raise money to provide housing for people in recovery.  Chanel Ali headlines.
  • Pennovation Works hosts the 2019 Mini Maker Faire to showcase makers of all kinds in Philadelphia. Swing by to check out a room full of robots, drones, wearable electronics and more coming out of some of Philly’s most forward-thinking minds.
Photo courtesy C. Smyth / Visit Philly

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