June 5, 2009

WDAS FM Cancels Unity Day 2009

It will be Philadelphia's first summer since 1978 without a Unity Day.

WDAS 105.3 announced that the family-friendly outdoor event would not be held. "It's the economy," said station manager Joe "Butterball" Tamburro. "It's atrocious out there. We don't have the resources to do it the way we've done it in the past, and we decided to take a break. We'd rather people remember it as it was." Tamburro said he did not know if Unity Day would return when the economy improves.

The event most likely won't return after a 30 year run. The "family-style picnic" was originally held in a park in West Philadelphia on a Sunday afternoon in 1978, eventually moved to the downtown area of the city on the Parkway near the famous Art Museum. However last year the event was downsized to a weekend concert at a venue on the city's waterfront.

The first 'Unity Day' picnic on July 16, 1978 was not held on city property as the city wouldn't grant the station a permit. The station held the event at parks in West Philly where 10,000 people showed up. Read more on the history of the Unity Day and the station's role in the community.
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