Mayor Michael Nutter and World Meeting of Families leaders hit the streets of Philadelphia Monday to deliver Pope visit kits to Philadelphia businesses.
The "Open-in-Philadelphia" kits contain signs, buttons and business resources that organizers hope will serve as a proactive measure to help businesses better engage the throngs of visitors expected for Pope Francis’ visit in late September.
Nutter and WMOF organizers started their #OpeninPHL tour at the Wawa at 17th and Arch streets before hopping on a Phlash bus to make stops at McGillin's Olde Ale House and Del Frisco's in Center City and Pat's Steaks in South Philly.
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At McGillan's, they jokingly promised to have beer delivered by drone if that's what it takes.
The kit deliveries – organizers promise to get hundreds of kits into business owners' hands – came days after Nutter and WMOF leaders announced the "I'll Be There" campaign that encourages people to show up to see the Pontiff as a series of public events on Sept. 26 and 27 including a mass on the Ben Franklin Parkway.
Part of the "I’ll Be there" announcement included trying to change perception of the papal visit from one of inconvenience to one of fun and faith. They announced that the traffic box ranging from The Delaware River to 38th Street and South Street to Girard Avenue would now be known as the "Francis Festival Grounds" and would feature street food and other fun.
"I hope our message today is clear: Come! Be part of history," said Donna Crilley Farrell, executive director of the World Meeting of Families. "Let's not lose sight of the fact that this is a moment we will never have again."
Businesses that don’t get an “Open in PHL” kit delivered Monday an pick up the kits all week at eight locations throughout the city including 30th Street Station, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Reading Terminal Market.