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Do Something: Grab a Midnight Snack

Check out an artsy pop-up bar for the masses, Greenfest Philly, Salt-N-Pepa for free and more things to do in Philly this week for a great cause

Summer may be (unofficially!) kaput, but this city is still buzzing with things to do—including the ones we’ve dug up below that give you a chance to have some fun while furthering a good cause.

There’s a particularly large number of environmentally focused events this week, like a discussion about the Amazon rainforest fire at the Academy of Natural Sciences, a community cleanup along the Delaware River and a massive eco-friendly festival in Queen Village.

We’re also super excited about a slew of arts events for a good cause, including the FringeArts pop-up bar Late Night Snacks, which offers pay-what-you-wish admission to make it easy for anyone to attend, and a free hip-hop concert in West Philly featuring Salt-N-Pepa.

Speaking of concerts, Connor Barwin’s annual Make the World Better Foundation benefit concert hits the Dell Music Center on Thursday in support of his organization’s mission to renovate city parks. We’re sponsoring free SEPTA rides there and back to give you even more of an incentive to go.

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

1. Practice With the New Voting Machines

You might have heard that Philadelphia is getting brand new voting machines for the first time in almost 20 years. They’ll make their debut on Election Day, on November 5, but locals can get a chance to check them out a little early at a community event hosted by State Representative Elizabeth Fiedler on Thursday at her field office in South Philly. Representatives from the City Commissioner’s office will be on hand to demonstrate how to use the machines, which offer touchscreen accessibility but also require the handling of paper ballots. The reps will also answer any questions from the community so you’re not fumbling through it on Election Day. Need to register or check your voter status? Check our complete guide on registering to vote in Pennsylvania. Thursday, September 5, 5:30-7:30 p.m., free, 2400 S. 9th Street. 

2. Learn More About the Amazon Fire in Brazil

We’ve heard a lot of scary talk about the burning of the Amazon rainforest and its effect on the environment, but is all the dire news true? Scientists from Drexel University and the Academy of Natural Sciences (ANS) who have a background in Amazon Basin research are gathering for a public discussion at ANS on Thursday to explain how the destruction of that vital ecosystem can have an environmental impact across the  globe, and what may come of the fish, birds, insects and other wild animals that live there. The community is invited to attend—for free—with questions in hand. Thursday, September 5, 5:30-6:45 p.m., free with registration, Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. 

3. Make the World Better With Music

Former Eagle—and Philadelphia Citizen contributor—Connor Barwin is back in Philadelphia to host his fifth annual Make the World Better benefit concert. The show raises funds for his organization’s mission to rebuild city parks, including his latest project, Vare Recreation Center in Point Breeze. The night’s lineup is a who’s-who of hot indie groups at the moment, such as Future Islands, Karl Blau and Philly’s own Strand of Oaks and Hop Along. To make it easier for you to get there, The Citizen is hosting free SEPTA rides to the show, on bus routes 32 and 61. Get more details on that right here. Thursday, September 5, 7 p.m., $20-$150, Dell Music Center, 2400 Strawberry Mansion Drive. 

4. Clean Up Trash Along the Delaware River

Meet up with folks from United By Blue on Saturday morning for a community cleanup along the Delaware River—starting at the Frankford Boat Launch and moving along the waterfront trail. United By Blue provides all cleanup supplies and even water for volunteers, but guests are encouraged to wear sturdy shoes and long pants. When the cleanup is finished, volunteers will be treated to free grub from Luke’s Lobster and fun “cleanup games,” where they can win swag from United By Blue. Saturday, September 7, 9 a.m.-noon, free, Frankford Boat Launch, 5501 Tacony Street. 

5. Party Your Eco-Friendly Heart Out at Greenfest Philly

Greenfest Philly, the largest environmental festival in the Philadelphia region, is back for its 14th year this Saturday. The Clean Air Council-sponsored event fills the streets of Queen Village with more than 100 eco-friendly exhibition and vendor booths, and lots of environmentally focused activities. You could take part in plant-based cooking demos, hop inside some of the newest hybrid vehicles to hit the market and even munch on some edible insects. A bike valet will be on hand to park your wheels while you play. Saturday, September 8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free, Bainbridge Street between 3rd and 5th streets.

6. Attend a Town Hall about Gun Violence

March For Our Lives Philadelphia leads a town hall about gun violence at the Central Branch of the Free Library on Saturday. Moderators say the event is more of a conversation between guests than a Q&A, focusing specifically on what the government and everyday citizens can do to create a safer community. The panel will include two students, to give insight into how young people are viewing the gun-violence issue. Saturday, September 7, 10 a.m.-noon, free, Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street. 

7. See Hip-Hop Legends for $0

The Neighborhood-to-Neighborhood (N2N) Street Festival—a collaboration project from Senator Anthony H. Williams and the Black Women in Sport Foundation—has been bringing free summer jams to West Philadelphia for nearly a half-decade, with the intent of uniting families throughout the region at one festive event. The concert is absolutely free, but there’s nothing cheap about the lineup. This year, the celebration honors women in hip-hop with headlining performances from legends like Salt-N-Pepa, MC Lyte and Angie Stone, the neo-soul diva who was once part of the first female hip-hop group to sign with the Sugar Hill records. (Check out this song from that group for an automatic feel-good boost to your day.) The event is a complete family-friendly affair, with food, drink and merchandise vendors, a kid’s zone and a variety of health and wellness resource booths. Admission is absolutely free, but attendees are asked to register here. Saturday, September 7, noon-8 p.m., free, 50th Street and Baltimore Avenue. 

8. Munch on a Late Night Snack

The Philadelphia FringeArts Festival kicks off this week, with literally hundreds of theater events happening around the city (that in itself is something to to do this week for a good cause—supporting the local arts) from September 5 through the 29th. Every year, the festival includes a pop-up bar, and this year that’s Late Night Snacks, a cool industrial space in South Philly that’s been converted into a speakeasy featuring cutting-edge, late-night performances by a lineup of gender-bending performance artists, drag queens and other creatives from Philly and beyond. The bar was dreamed up by The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, which created it with a mission to increase access to the arts for anyone who wants to see it. As such, there will be pay-what-you-wish admission available every single night. So stop by one night for a cocktail and a show. There are dozens of performances scheduled. You can find the full lineup here. Saturday, September 7 through Sunday, September 29, sliding scale $0-$45, 1316 S. Percy Street. 

9. Celebrate Women Who Make Art

Philly Art Collective Gallery, a local outfit dedicated to promoting artists in the Philadelphia area, celebrates its one-year anniversary with a free bash dedicated to female artists and performers. Guests can browse 150 pieces of art, watch live painting demonstrations and catch performances from a lineup of lady DJs, musicians and poets. Tickets are free to the first 500 people who walk through the door, but donations are accepted. Proceeds from the door benefit Global Girl Project, an organization committed to mobilizing young women around the world for social change. Sunday, September 8, 3-8 p.m., free, Philly Art Collective Gallery, 253 N. 3rd Street. 

Photo courtesy Johanna Austin

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