On Saturday we visited Phoenixville, which was hosting its annual Firebird Festival, the climax of which is the burning of a huge wooden phoenix at Friendship Field on the north side of the borough. All afternoon there were musical performances in the shops on Bridge Street and Church Street, and we had a great time wandering around being tourists and stopping in here and there to warm ourselves up. We especially liked the Barn Swallows, a guitar-and-dobro duo who played at the Soltane Bridges Café and Bakery.
Later in the afternoon Morris dancers, cloggers, and hobby-horse dancers performed outside the Colonial Theater -- it was like we were in an English village! -- and while we were eating our dinner at XPress Pizza we could see fire jugglers spinning their blazing batons across the street.
Up at Friendship Field medieval warriors from a group called Barenheim were staging mock battles. We noticed that some of them quickly put down their weapons and went AWOL when the pizza delivery guy arrived with his white boxes.
Judging from the number of businesses and restaurants in town and the big apartment complex that is being built, Phoenixville seems to be a thriving town. It was also a remarkably friendly one. While we were at the coffee shop we asked where the phoenix bonfire was going to be held, and several helpful customers chimed in, giving us good directions and informing us about the shuttle bus (we walked instead). Random people we encountered on the street smiled and said hello, and even the folks who were asking us about parking (right, like we knew!) were polite.