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Overington Park 50 Years Later

gene and marion perri

Gene and Marion Perri

It was only a half century ago that teenaged Gene Perri sat on the stone wall on Leiper Street that surrounds Overington Park and first met Marion Ridge.  He says he was cleaning his shoe which must have made quite an impression on Marion.  They have now been married 47 years.

They thought it might be interesting to return to the place they first met on the 50th anniversary of that day.   They had some concerns, having not been back to Frankford in quite a long time but they decided to go for it and walked into Overington Park on Saturday, September 28th.

They happened to come on one of the best days of the year for the Park. The Art Under the Trees event sponsored by the Friends of Overington Park brought out a great crowd of families and the weather was beautiful.

Their Frankford roots go back generations.  Gene’s family had a candy store at Penn and Sellers. Marion’s grandfather owned one of the first Unity-Frankford grocery stores on Arrott Street. They now have two grown children, Dawn and Gene Jr.  and four grandchildren; Jessica, Michael, Eric and Samantha.

It was good to have them back in the neighborhood.  Anyone who recognizes them and would like to get back in touch, contact the Gazette and we’ll pass on your information.


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Waving Trees to Rainbows Below

On Saturday, September 28th, the Friends of Overington Park had their annual “Art Under The Trees” event. This year, the president of the organization, Diane Kunze, decided to use master works from Andy Warhol’ pop collection to inspire the artists. The children and young adults got to pick which picture inspired them to chalk beautiful works of art onto the blacktop.

The chalk designs that the artists produced were magnificent with vibrant colors, and the creators wore those Crayola chalk sticks down to dust. This contest had four age catagories: 6 and under, 7-10, 11-15, and 16-19. From what I observed, the judges had a tough time picking a winner from the beautiful displays of art that covered the ground. One winner was picked from each age category and received a sketch book, art supplies, and a certificate of congratulations.

Congratulations go out to:

  • Amyia Topping (6 and under)
  • Alivia Miller ((7-10)
  • Christian Joyce & Gavin Hopkins (11-15)
  • George & Tyreek (16-19)

Along with the contest, they had a craft table with handmade crafts designed & crafted by Jennifer Mohr. This table was staffed by the artist herself and Lorraine Fortino.

Meals-on-Wheels receivers had a special treat put in their lunches. The children of Frankford produced beautiful works of art on paper using Crayola crayons and their imaginations which were to put in everyone’s lunch following this event. This part of the event was created by Lisa Handy.

Thanks go out to Carlos Correa and Noah Gibson of the Jr. R.O.T.C. of Frankford High School for volunteering their time to organize and distribute the art supplies, contestant sign-ups, and giving out pretzels to the crowd. The instructor of the Jr. R.O.T.C., Joe Fraioli, made an appearance to say hello and thank you to his men staffing the table.

What a wonderful day it was with cool temperatures, sunny skies, and a love for art under the long living tree’s of Overington Park.  Special thanks from the Friends of Overington Park go out to all the people who help & volunteer their time to make all their events possible; Nona Bloom, John Neugebauer, Maryanne Seifert, Linda Heywood, Jr. R.O.T.C., Janet Bernstein & Frankford Garden Club, and this is just to name of few THANK YOU.

Come out for some other events happening in Overington Park: November (Love your park clean-up) & December (Caroling in the park). Please see the Frankford Gazette website for dates, times, and other events happening in your Frankford community. Keep the Frankford spirit alive and get involved with the fun!

For more information on Friends of Overington Park go to their Facebook page at: Friends of Overington Park
Inquires and contributions can be sent or obtained at:

Friends of Overington Park
1344 Overington Park
Philadelphia, PA 19124

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Third Annual Art Under the Trees

The weather was cool but dry last Saturday, September 29th, for our third annual Art Under the Trees. We had 25 Children under 18 who participated in our chalk art contest. A few adults couldn’t resist grabbing some chalk and joining in.

This year our biggest group was the 13 to 17 year olds. Our winners in the teen group were Stephanie Espejo, age 15 and Salina Santiago, age 17. Our 6 and under winner was Rowan Becker age 6, and 7 to 11 winner Lazaia Moore, age 9.

The park looked beautiful filled with kids letting their inner artist rise to the surface. Color was all around. The Friends group also had a printing station where leaves were printed and bookmarks stamped. We had doughnuts in the morning and water and pretzels at noon.

Many thanks go out to all those who helped make this a fun day in our neighborhood: the Friends of Overington Park, councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez, Frankford High JR ROTC, and Tony Payton’s office.


Our event was so inspiring that the next day more chalk art filled in the blocks around the park. This corner of our world became a creative and fun place for everyone this weekend. Thanks for coming out and and making it happen!

Our next event will be on October 20th from 10 till 1, Fall Festival! We will all come in costume, find pumpkins in the patch, make an arts and craft project, play games and have candy! Come out and join us!

Diane Kunze, president, Friends of Overington Park