Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll Weathers The Storm

Friday, September 13, 2013

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It looked as though Steve Robinson might have pulled out his table and photo displays for nothing last night as the rain poured and people scattered on Baltimore Avenue.

Fortunately for Robinson and other business owners, the brief showers did not dampen spirits as hundreds of patrons weathered the storms for University City's third Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll.

"The night was really successful. A lot of people came out," said Robinson, who opened You Photography Studios on Baltimore Avenue near 46th Street nearly two years ago. For $1, he offered a photo shoot, a frame and one 8x10 photo, a deal he said many people can't believe.

"Every year seems to be growing," he said. "We benefit from this because people get to know us, know where we're at. It's just good for the community."

With a variety of foods, beer and vouchers for services offered for an unbeatable price, the stroll has become a signature event in the area, drawing 20,000 people last year. Rain canceled the event in June, disappointing Robinson and other business owners.

After last night's showers ended, several businesses had long lines of customers waiting to try their $1 treats. Desi Village, an Indian cuisine restaurant, served hungry patrons from two tables.

"We thought the rain would kind of interrupt things, but the rain stopped, so we're doing good," Souradh Tolasaria said in between serving samosas. He estimated that 40 percent of customers from the event come back, and said the restaurant "took a loss" due to the June cancellation. "I'm glad this time it happened even though it was cut short a bit from the rain," he said.

The event wasn't just for shoppers, but also featured some family entertainment, including face painting, a bagpiper and fire twirlers.

Rob Plasschaert and girlfriend Lindsey Wright, who live in the area, went home and changed clothes after getting soaked in the downpour.

"I think this is an up-and-coming area of Philadelphia, so it's neat to be able to see that people are interested in community events like this," Plasschaert said.