Guests mingle at Kenney's Inaugural Block Party at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Guests mingle at Kenney's Inaugural Block Party at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Mark Dent/Billy Penn

‘From the neighborhoods’: Food, dances and promises at Jim Kenney’s Inaugural Block Party

Mascots gave high-fives at the front door. There was the Villanova Wildcat, Penn’s Quaker and the La Salle Explorer. And that was one way you could tell Jim Kenney’s inauguration party would be a little different than most.

“No black ties,” Kenney said when he took the stage of the Pennsylvania Center. “We’re all from the neighborhoods.”

The mascots weren’t the only thing used to give a laidback vibe at Kenney’s invite-only Inaugural Block Party that drew several-hundred guests. His bash had Jerry Blavat MC’ing and food trucks serving dinner. Plus, a shout-out to Woody’s from Kenney. 

It still wasn’t the typical block party, of course. There weren’t even beer koozies (most people were drinking wine or champagne), and people left earlier than the designated end time. And though the dress code may not have been black tie, nearly everyone was dressed in standard professional attire.

Blavat, better known as Geator with the Heater, did the entertaining before Kenney spoke. He danced along to oldies like “Runaround Sue” and “The Electric Slide” and kept referring to Kenney as “my man.”

Attendees could eat from nine food trucks bordering the party. There was Sweet Box Cupcakes, The Cow and the Curd, Taco Mondo, Seoulfull Philly, Baby Blues BBQ, The Tot Cart, Maglio Sausage, Undergrnd Donuts and Foolish Waffles.

Sweetbox Cupcakes

Sweetbox Cupcakes

Mark Dent/Billy Penn
Foolish Chicken and Waffles

Foolish Chicken and Waffles

Mark Dent/Billy Penn
Al pastor tacos from Taco Mondo

Al pastor tacos from Taco Mondo

Mark Dent/Billy Penn
Undergrnd Donuts

Undergrnd Donuts

Mark Dent/Billy Penn

Kenney didn’t speak long. He didn’t at his victory party in November either. In the two or three minutes that he did address the few hundred people who had scored invitations, he talked about the schools. Kenney said he would fight to get art, music, reading and after-school programs back, and he would forgo the mayor’s suite at Phillies baseball games and offer the proceeds to Philadelphia schools. He also asked the crowd to donate: People wearing fedoras were walking amongst the crowd seeking donations for the district.

Many elected officials and staffers from City Hall attended, as did other politicians. U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah and senate candidates Katie McGinty and John Fetterman made appearances. 

Fetterman was wearing his trademark black button-down shirt and jeans. He knew this would be his type of party because of the mascots and the taco truck.

“We had a taco truck at my campaign launch,” Fetterman said….“One of the many reasons why I love him. He’s not my mayor, but I love him.”

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