Local Lifestyle: Blobfest (Phoenixville, PA)
While the coming of July does mean that year is already half over, this month also brings one of my most favorite events of the year. No, it isn’t the Fourth of July. It is, of course, the true highlight of Phoenixville, PA’s social calendar – Blobfest!
For those of you totally confused, I understand. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was introduced to its wacky, but charming magic. Blobfest is a weekend long street festival that is solely dedicated to the 1950s horror flick, The Blob. (If you’ve ever seen Grease, then you’ve at least seen the trailer for it in the background of the drive-in movie sequence.) As the title suggests, the movie is an hour and thirty minute romp filmed in the Phoenixville/Downingtown area where an amorphous blob from outer space attempts to wipe out the citizens of small town America. You’ll laugh, you’ll laugh some more, and undoubtedly will not be scared until the last line of the movie that intimates we may all be safe as long as the Arctic stays cold. (You didn’t realize global warming came with a side of monster unfreezing, did you?)
I will admit that not only did I not know much about The Blob before going to my first Blobfest three years ago, I hadn’t seen the movie until this year’s iteration of the festivities. So, if you’re wondering if you need to have seen the movie, or at least have an interest in horror films of times gone by, no fear! The only thing you need to enjoy Blobfest is a sense of humor and an appreciation for the quirkier side of humanity.
For being located in small town America and only being one weekend long, the Blobfest offers a pretty packed itinerary of events. The anchor of the schedule is the Friday night movie theater run-out which officially kicks off Blobfest weekend. Yes, you read that right, movie theater run-out. The Colonial Theater, which sponsors Blobfest every year, plays a critical role in the movie as (spoiler alert) the Blob attempts to eat its way through the patrons trying to enjoy an old Bela Lugosi film. After they realize the danger in their midst, the innocent movie-goers run out of the theater in an attempt to save themselves. In honor of this historic moment in movie history, the Colonial hosts a variety show on Friday night that culminates in theater patrons running out of the theater as a fake blob inflates on top of the marquee. Seriously.
The first year Katie and I went, we ate at one of the restaurants downtown and just watched the run-out happen. At the last minute she had invited me to come down and enjoy the weird annual event that her family thoroughly enjoys every year. While it probably doesn’t sound fun to wait for people to run-out of a theater in a spectacle that lasts no longer than a few minutes, it really is. The street is full of stores and restaurants and there are people dressed up in their gothic and film noir best. Going to the run-out is great, free way to experience Blobfest. Last year, Katie and I actually got tickets for the run-out. The variety show ran a little too long for my personal taste, but the actual screaming and running out was definitely an experience. I probably wouldn’t buy tickets for that again, unless they were going to show the movie leading up to the run-out.
This year, we skipped the run-out and decided to go to the Saturday afternoon double feature of The Blob and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. While both movies have not aged well in terms of special effects, they are whimsical jaunts to a different time screened in the beautiful old Colonial Theater. Tickets to the double feature also gave us access to the events going on inside the rest of the theater throughout the day, which included getting our picture taken with the real Blob from the movie. This year also happened to be its 60th birthday.
Whether you want to go to Blobfest watch the run-out, see a movie, or just enjoy the street fair full of unique vendors, there is something for everyone. I already can’t wait for next year’s Blobfest, I think we’re going to make a point to attend the 1950s themed charity even, the Blob Ball!