The chilly winter months are rolling in, but the cold never really bothered Philly anyway.
In Northern Liberties, the next two weekends are going to be enchanted at Germantown Garden Grill with a princess brunch starring Elsa herself offering seatings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. However, for the princess in the spotlight, Aisha Maria Loeks, getting to this point was not exactly a magical journey.
The New Mexico native currently resides in Northern Liberties, and like many others, she had her eyes set on huge sights for 2020. Her Adorned by Aisha business was set to hit the stage at Philadelphia’s major festivals like the Philadelphia Flower Show and Christmas Village. Her second business, A Dash of Magic Events, was her back-up sideline business that brought joy to kids at birthday parties and special events across the region. Once the pandemic swept the world back in March however, all the access she was going to have to promote her business at in-person events was essentially nulled. Loeks did what she needed to do to, and instead used her skills for her socially-distanced styled business.
In 2017, A Dash of Magic Events was born, and currently today, A Dash of Magic Events has now become Loek’s primary source of income during the pandemic. The high-end themed party and events company was a perfect fit for Loeks who did musical theater all through junior high and high school and then went on to study theater and costume design. She also received her BFA in technical theater from Santa Fe University of Art and Design—it was there she learned to act, sing, make props, design costumes, and so much more.
“Imagine the look on your little one’s face when they see their favorite character step into their own space and their own home,” said Loeks in the release. “When they look up at their birthday party and flash their big eyes and smile, that is what does it for me each and every time. I am so honored to be able to help make their dreams come true — and it’s all about bringing joy and light into their lives. During the COVID crisis, I wasn’t going to let that joy be taken away. It wasn’t a question of would I keep doing this, but instead was a question about how could I pivot and do it an entirely new way.”
Currently, the princess business has been transformed to match requirements set by the CDC. That means creating COVID-friendly princess masks that matched each of her magical costumes, adjusting rules around photos and social distancing, reshaping her packages to adjust for smaller audiences and different minimum time requirements.
Loeks said in a statement, “This pandemic has been tough for so many people, and for me personally with both of my small businesses being impacted. With A Dash of Magic Events, it was parties and events being canceled, and movie theaters closing (I was doing premier openings). But within one week of the shut down, I pivoted and got online bookings running ASAP. In late March, I was already offering weekly princess virtual sessions on a pay what you can basis. Because I understood we were all in this together, and all these changes were especially tough on the kids, these virtual events were really popular.
“In June, people grew tired of virtual events and the weather was nicer, so I expanded and got out of the box,” she continued. “We got permission to start to do events again, and that’s when my socially-distanced sidewalk and stoop serenades were born. I would book 5 minute little pop-bys, neighborhood by neighborhood, so that parents could book a quick visit with a character for their kiddos. Then as restrictions lightened again, I started doing birthday parties and events again — but all socially distanced and all outdoors.”
That cumulated to Loeks partnering with another local establishment who chose to pivot, the newly re-imagined Germantown Garden Grill. For the Enchanted in Northern Liberties: Snow Queen Brunch at the Igloos, the event will be housed in the outdoor igloos that now call the eatery home. The space in the summer was Vesper Dayclub, one of the only pool hotspots open during 2020, and now it’s been transformed by Glu Hospitality into an outdoor open-air steakhouse.
This socially-distanced dining experience will include 90 minutes at a private, exclusive and heated igloo just for you and your immediate family members. Guests can enjoy a safe and socially-distanced photo opportunity, songs from the princesses story and a grand entrance. Each reservation will also receive a private Snow Queen visit per each igloo, a souvenir, and frozen themed activity sheets. There will also be plenty of options for brunch and lunch, plus hot beverages for kids and adults. This event is part of the Northern Liberties Holiday Pop-up and pairs two small businesses together to support each other during the pandemic.
According to the release, Enchanted in Northern Liberties: Snow Queen Brunch at the Igloos will take place on Saturday, Nov. 28 on Small Business Saturday and on Saturday, Dec. 5, with seatings each day at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person for igloo seating and $10 per person for outdoor seating without the igloo. A portion of each ticket will go to charity, and provide a free princess appearance for children in need through the Salvation Army.
Tickets are now on sale at germantowngarden.com