The sun bowed slowly, as if accepting every well earned compliment from the joyful crowd. The sunset’s performance was perfect as it disappeared beyond the horizon, still casting just enough light on the friendly clouds to render them a reddish hue. Fortunately, rainstorms had spared us, insuring the success of the 10th Annual Up on the Roof fundraiser and the future of Downtown West Chester’s beautifully thriving streets. On Saturday, June 2nd, 332 people gathered on top of the Chestnut Street Parking Garage in West Chester to enjoy local restaurant offerings, take in the views, and swing their hips to some upbeat tunes of the Donny Syracuse Band. The venue may have been unlikely but there was nothing unusual about why this crowd was having such a wonderful time.
An event such as this deserved two red carpets and while Town Dish dawned their glamorous setting, the West Chester Downtown Foundation, part one of the evening’s fundraising collaborative, unrolled theirs as well. As guests stepped out of the elevator, they were awed by the surreal appearance of the rooftop decorated with trees and flowers by DGS Landscaping, The guests were treated like celebrities for the night, and they were all contributing to a wonderful cause. The money from their ticket purchases and other donations, which amounted to nearly $20,000.00, will go toward the beautification and marketing of Downtown West Chester. However, it took more than ticket buyers to make this event happen and frankly, it might be hard to gather such a large group of people had it not been for some of the favorite local restaurants participating and a few other components.
Before stepping ten feet off the red carpet, Doc Magrogan’s presented popular fresh oysters on ice. It was a perfect temperature for enjoying the raw delight, no sign of overwhelming heat but just a light breeze reminding you of the beach. The floor, or better yet roof plan, created a natural flow as guests came streaming in right on time. After grabbing a light oyster bite they were greeted by a wide array of West Chester “tastes.” Some of the area’s favorite local restaurants served appetizing offerings to prepare guests for the main course served later in the night.
A charcuterie display and antipasto platter from Limoncello Ristorante kicked off the sequential “taste of West Chester”, which included a bountiful selection of imported and domestic meats, cheeses, olives, roasted vegetables, and more. The mellow flavored cheese balanced perfectly with my generous helping of slightly sweet bruschetta and crostini. Mas Mexicali Cantina offered their always popular nachos, homemade tortilla chips, and sides of fresh guacamole and salsa. I wasn’t shy when choosing a few sushi rolls from Kooma, who brought a variety of their delicious favorites. Less than an hour into the event, I noticed the tray of popular sushi rolls was empty and being replaced with a new one. It was no secret. The crowd was loving this stuff!
Everyone was fond of the refreshing smoked salmon appetizer from Gilmore’s Restaurant and savory prosciutto roll ups prepared by iPasta. Lastly, the initial event offerings were rounded off in a perfect fashion with Kildare’s hearty helpings of favorite Irish Pub appetizers.
After the crowd selected their appetizers, they were directed toward a beer and wine bar. If it was a cocktail you preferred, a bar station was located at the other end of the roof. The crowd dispersed depending on their drink preference. Many dashed to the professional mixologists to try the ever popular Rooftop Martinis. Yes, there was more than one. Some selected the spiced rum concoction while others enjoyed a tasty tequila mixture. Guests found their way to one of many seats that dotted the rooftop. They sat at the tables covered in bright blue and lime green spandex linen, meeting new faces and conversing with friends as they chomped their way through the appetizers.
As the evening progressed, The Donny Syracuse Band serenaded the diners with upbeat tunes and were joined by a large dancing crowd. However, not many people hit the dance floor before acquiring their main meal from Limoncello Ristorante. Tender pork rolled around prosciutto and mozzarella cheese, broccoli rabe, and the tortellini was more than any guest could ask for on the perfectly brisk evening. The authentic italian cuisine warmed the soul and tickled the taste buds, stretching everyone’s smiles.
Prior to the music’s start many onlookers enjoyed The “Paint the Town” plein air art show/sale, brought to this year’s event for the first time with the help of the Chester County Art Association local artists, and especially the 2012 Up on the Roof’s Honorary Chairperson, Darcie Goldberg. Being the woman who started it all 10 years ago, she was presented with a beautiful bouquet from Kati Mac Floral Designs during the evening’s festivities.
For those of you who save room for dessert, Cakes & Candies by Maryellen and D’Ascenzo’s Gelato were there to assist your sweet loving tendencies. I snagged an employee recommended Cake Pop and Turtle Brownie from Maryellen and swooned over the limoncello gelato from D’Ascenzo’s, then washed it all down with a Tally Ho Coffee. Life was good thanks to these amazing treat bearers and every other Up on the Roof component that lead me to that sweet, sweet moment.
Every guest who stepped across our red carpet, whether pausing for a photo or not, was in good spirits. The event planning expertise of Maggie McIntosh Event Design was flawless and their work set an ongoing jovial mood. Employees from one major sponsor, Univest Bank, squeezed together on the red carpet, unable to capture a single photo where someone wasn’t bursting into laughter. It was a genuine good time where nobody left early and everyone thought on their way out, “I can’t wait until next year!”
Aside from the delicious food and beverages, this event was made possible by West Chester Downtown Foundation and the West Chester Business Improvement District. Sponsors included E. Kahn Development Corporation, J. Loew & Associates, and Univest Bank and Trust Company as top contributors. “Panorama” sponsors included Brandywine Valley Heating and Air Conditioning, Goldberg, Meanix, McCallin and Muth, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence A. Goldberg, MacElree Harvey, Ltd., Maggie McIntosh Event Design, and Trevdan Building Supply. “Bell Tower ” supporters were Arthur Hall Insurance/ Van Grofski LP, Cozen O’Connor, David MacMain, Esq./Lamb McErlane PC, Fox Chase Bank, Fulton Bank, Jane Chalfant/Kiki Boutique, Maille, Falconiero & Company, LLP, Manito Abstract Company, Inc., Mr. A. Roy Smith, Susquehanna Bank, Thompson Homes Renovations and New Homes, Tuttle Marketing Services, and Zukin Realty, Inc.
View more scenes from the 10th Annual Up on the Roof HERE.
Photo credited to Allison Benford at bonsai doll fern photography.