It is a humid Friday night in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. There are a number of people strolling along the main street where restaurants, taverns and quant little shops take up occupancy in this sleepy little town. Out of nowhere hundreds of crazed people come streaming out of the local movie theater, The Colonial. These people are screaming as if there is something chasing them from the theater- something sinister, something blood thirsty, something Blob-like. There is only one possibility. It must be Blobfest!
There is one weekend out of the year when the old iron and steel town of Phoenixville transforms itself to Blob Central. Phoenixville was the setting of the 1958 film, “The Blob”, where a gelatinous monstrosity crashed to earth and began devouring any living thing that dared cross its path. For the last 11 years the city has devoted one weekend a year to the loving legacy that only a massive blob from outer space can leave. The three day event begins with a reenactment of one of the most famous scenes in the film. In the film, a group of teenagers gather at The Colonial to take in some B-move goodness when the Blob oozes into the theater. The result is a frenzied mob running from the theater doors. Now, 53 years since that scene first graced the drive-in screens of America, hundreds of Phoenixville residents and Blob enthusiasts gather in the lobby of the Colonial and spill out onto the street. It is truly one of the most unique traditions that one is liable to find in small-town America.
The residents of Phoenixville absolutely love bizarre association that their town has with the B-Movie classic. “Look around!” local resident Debbie Hannum says, “All of these people gathered together for a silly movie. These are the kinds of things that most people reminisce about with their children. I’m lucky enough to experience it with my kids. They just don’t do stuff like this anymore.” Debbie’s youngest daughter Carla certainly agrees as she runs down the main drag screaming, “Blobfest is awesome!”
The festival is not only a celebration of The Blob, but more a celebration of a simpler time. There are family games that completely eschew the modern idea of “fun” and instead rely on imagination and enthusiasm. Events like The Screaming Contest, Fire Extinguisher Parade and the Monster Costume Contest bring kids back to the days when video games and the internet where not the main form of entertainment. Classic muscle cars sit dormant as they are displayed along the streets but one gets the feeling they would be ready to drag at the drop of a hat. Heck, even the music seems more genuine with the sweet rockabilly sounds of The Buzzards filling the summer air. One can’t help but chuckle as Buzzards front man, Roy Wilson, muses about a time when the cars were built in Detroit just before the band launches into a raucous version of Johnny Cash’s “One Piece At A Time.”
Blobfest is like nothing else. It is a true festival for people of all ages- whether they be very young or very young at heart. There truly is something magical about an event where the film is shown on celluloid, the music has a heart, the cars have some power and everyone has a smile on their face. This years Blobfest was summed up nicely by a 2 and-a-half year old local named Kyle when he simply stated that “Blobfest is the greatest ever!” There is a town and a whole legion of Blob fans that would gladly agree with him.
Read more about Blobfest at the official site.