Friday evening marked one year's worth of "Final-ly Friday" events in the Mt. Airy business district. Grayish skies and coolish temperatures may have kept attendance down but the energy level was high for the monthly business promotion event on the 7100 block of Germantown Avenue.

The event, which ran from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., was titled "Love Mt. Airy Style – The Pet Edition," a follow-up to February's successful "Love Mt. Airy Style" promotion, according to Elizabeth Moselle, Mt. Airy USA Director of Commercial Corridor Revitalization.

"We work to come up with a theme every month," she said. "Love Mt. Airy Style – we all really loved that one."

Specially made doggy treats were available at Earth Bread and Brewery, while Pilates Alchemy, 20 E. Mt. Airy Avenue, was offering to make a donation to Penn Vet's Animal Shelter program for everyone who signed up for a special class that evening.

But most of the canine excitement was centered at Ground Zero Salon. The business was celebrating its first anniversary at its 7119 Germantown Ave. location.

At Ground Zero's Puppy Love Booth, visitors could adopt a puppy, or get a photo taken with their pet for a $5 donation to Penn Vet Shelter Medicine Program, a cause Ground Zero co-owner Wendy Weinstein has supported for a long time.

It was a relatively small-scale event compared to one that Ground Zero sponsored last year, the "Black and White Ball," according to Weinstein . That event, she said, raised $35,000 for the shelter medicine program.

Dr. Rachael Kreisler of the Shelter Medicine Program was in attendance at Ground Zero. The program takes Penn veterinary students to animal shelters around the city where they perform diagnoses and operations such as spaying and neutering.

Much of the value of the program for the students, she said, is that it takes them away from the laboratories and animal hospital at Penn and has them doing "hands-on leaning in the field," without a lot of diagnostic equipment to help. "There's a lot your hands and eyes can tell you," she said.

Quintessence Theatre Group gears up to finish season

Another anniversary was being noted down the hill from Ground Zero: Quintessence Theatre Group is preparing to finish its third season at the Sedgwick Theater with what it's terming "Chocolate and Champagne Repertory." It will feature productions of George Bernard Shaw's "Arms and the Man," and Moliere's "The Misanthrope" and gets its name from scenes in both plays, one featuring chocolate and one champagne.

Alex Burns, artistic director of Quintessence, as well as other staffers and cast members, were on hand to greet passersby and drop-ins at the theater, 7137 Germantown Avenue. Quintessence is "doing very well at establishing ourselves as a professional theater company in Mt. Airy," according to Burns.

Quintessence's offerings are not the usual run of non-taxing crowd pleasers: among them for this season have been works such as Shakespeare's "Othello," a dramatization of "Four Quartets" by T.S. Eliot," and Nikolai Gogol's "Diary of a Madman," a short story adapted for the stage.

"Chocolate and Champagne," featuring performances of "Arms and the Man" and "The Misanthrope" will open April 16. For more information and tickets visit the group's website

Artists in Mt. Airy

Around the corner at the Six Senses Clay Studio, 20 East Mt. Airy Avenue, co-owners Shinobu Habauchi and Cornelia Kietzman were welcoming wire artist Rocio Cabello as their once-a-month guest artist. Habauchi, Kietzman and Cabello are all relative newcomers to the Northwest art scene, at least as entrepreneurs. Cabello opened Imperfect Gallery at 5601 Greene Street in Germantown in June, while Six Senses opened October 31.

"It's gone well," said Kietzman of their studio. While they haven't sold a lot of their own pottery, she said, "We've had a lot of people come in and look."

She added the response to the dozen or so classes the studio offers has been very encouraging.  For more information about Six Senses visit the studio's website or call 267-650-1757.

Part of the Final-ly Friday experience is the guest vendors who display their wares outdoor along Germantown Avenue, and those polled about their experiences at the event had similar feelings about it: they like the atmosphere and people.

Fairmount resident Melissa Metelits has been making jewelry for several years – "I started with my grandmother's sewing kit," she said. "I've been to Final-ly Friday before and had so much fun. No matter how you do sales-wise you always meet really amazing vendors and people."

Across the street from Metelits was Alison Andrews, also a jewelry maker, said, "It's something different, with the people just walking up and down the street. It's not like an event where you know what to expect. I enjoy it."