Weeks ago, a friend alerted me to the fact that a TLC Summer Block Party was going to be held in Philadelphia, featuring appearances by a number of their reality stars, including the Duggar family. I talked GG into taking me and put it on the calendar, canceling all my other plans for the day. I didn’t know what it was going to be like, if they were going to perform or if we’d have a chance to meet them or what, but on the off chance that I had the opportunity to speak to them, and I had to limit myself to just one question, I had it ready to go: if they were so confident that they’d trained and educated their children the “right” way according to their beliefs, why keep them so isolated? Shouldn’t they be out interacting and sharing their beliefs with others? That’s sort of the question that all other questions would be based on.
Well, then it came out that Josh had molested his sisters, and the Duggars were obviously taken off the bill for this event.
I had my schedule cleared for the day, and GG was interested in seeing some of the little people families who were scheduled to be there. The weather was beautiful, so we still went! The event started at 12, and there was already a long line of people outside the gate when we got to Penn’s Landing around 11:30. It moved pretty quickly once the gates opened, though, and when we got inside, it was pretty empty.
We made our way down to the main stage, where the guy who was the host/MC for the day was calling for volunteers for the first trivia game of the day. GG for some reason thought I would want to participate? So the guy started interviewing us (and some other couples), asking what TLC shows we liked to watch. For some reason, besides the Duggars, I wasn’t even thinking of other shows beyond those that were represented at the event, so I was just like, “I don’t know, midgets?” Thinking back on it, I should have said My 600 Lb. Life, Sex Sent Me to the ER, I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, My Strange Addiction, etc. Oh well. Anyway, I couldn’t get through an answer without saying “midget,” and I didn’t want to be on stage (and potentially on TV) anyway, so we passed on playing the game (with the married Roloff kids and their wives). Watching the game play later, I was glad not to be participating!
We didn’t really do a lot of the activities, but there was a lot going on. Kate Gosselin, Cara, and Mady from Kate Plus 8; Buddy from Cake Boss; Randy from Say Yes to the Dress; Monty and Lori from SYTTD Atlanta; Whitney from My Big Fat Fabulous Life; the Hamill family from Our Little Family; and the entire Roloff family from Little People Big World were on site. They all participated in games on stage, and were available for photos and autographs at various times. (It was probably actually a good thing the Duggars weren’t there – it was a hot day and there was a lot of “Nike” going on, plus if they’d done some game on stage they would be interacting with heathens and the host made jokes that would have gone over their heads.) There were also different games and activities (like face painting, balloon animals, or decorating cupcakes from the new Carlo’s Bakery that opened in Philly the same day). One neat thing they did was if you posted a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #TLCBlockParty, they would print it out and you could pick it up later.
After an hour or so, we were ready for lunch, but the food cart options were limited and expensive. So since we learned we could leave and come back, we walked a few blocks over to The Continental for brunch. Then we checked out Shane Confectionery, which we’d wanted to visit for a while, and got a frozen chocolate drink to go. We finished it as we walked back to the TLC event. It was a nice little break, and by the time we got back, the crowd had thinned significantly.
There was a tent up on a high terrace with a big “VIP” sign, and I just commented to GG that I wondered what VIP entailed, because it looked like just regular people up there. He went over and started chatting with the guy at the entrance, and next thing I knew, he was waving me over! Apparently, the tent was for the stars of the shows and the media (people from the local paper, etc.), but they actually had free reign to let anyone into the area, as long as they were cool about it! So GG and I got wristbands and went in! I got to see up-close the SYTTD Atlanta people, the Gosselins, and all the Roloffs! I didn’t talk to them to try to get pictures because I didn’t want to bother them in this area, but it was neat to see them all up close. (Kate Gosselin and Audrey Roloff are both gorgeous in person! So are Cara and Mady.) There was also a buffet of food, free drinks, and at one point they brought in some pastries from Carlo’s Bakery (we split one, they were amazing). And free t-shirts we picked up. Honestly, it was worth getting in just for the nice breeze we got up there!
The event went until 5PM, but we left just before the finale, a band coming on at 4. I think that was just long enough to be out in the heat and sun. It was a crazy experience!