The Billy Penn Awards Gala will honor these awesome Philadelphians

The Billy Penn Awards Gala presented by Pat’s King of Steaks on June 26 will showcase local movers and shakers and creators and instigators who are having an impact on Philadelphia.

It’s a party about everything that makes Philly awesome — which means we had dozens and dozens of possible honorees. For this first year of what’ll become an annual event, the Billy Penn team selected seven categories to focus on. We then worked with a committee to choose four impressive nominees for each.

It’s not just about the awards, though. Like the Oscars, the folks who present these awards will play a huge part in the evening, so we enlisted some local personalities as inaugural  MCs for the Billies.

Who’s involved and what are they all about? Read on — but first, pick up your $22 ticket here.

Also, the event doubles as a fundraiser for our newsroom, which runs on reader support. If you want to show some love but can’t come out to World Cafe Live on Wednesday, you can make a contribution right here.

presented by Dietz & Watson

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Despite its many issues, social media can be fun, effective, and even inspiring — as these Instagram and Twitter stars show. Presenting this category on stage will be social chronicler HughE Dillon (aka Philly Chit Chat) and Aversa PR president Kory Aversa.

Our nominees are:

🏆 Gritty, the Flyers mascot/orange brat who unites us all with continuous Philly “charm.”

🏆 Conrad Benner, a tireless advocate for Philly’s public art and public spaces.

🏆 Fabiana Ferrarini, a fitness pro who rocks Instagram even while pregnant.

🏆 Albert Lee, a photographer who posts beautiful shots of the city that make us all proud to be Philadelphians.

presented by CIC Philadelphia

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This award honors the innovators keeping Philly at the forefront of discovery and creation. The award will be presented on stage by Mikey and Allie Ilagan, two of the minds behind the very popular Philly Geek Awards (RIP).

Our nominees are:

🏆 Alex Hillman, founder of the innovative coworking space Indy Hall.

🏆 Mark Kuhn and his company Oat Foundry, who designed a modern split-flap board, like the one that used to live in Amtrak’s 30th Street Station.

🏆 Dave Silver and Will Toms, creators of RECPhilly, a resource firm for independent Philly creatives.

🏆 Emma Fried-Cassorla, part of the creative muscle at the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, where she helped think up public spaces like Spruce Street Harbor Park.

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This category recognizes those making an impact in Philadelphia performing or visual arts, music, audio or comedy. Presenting the award will be Opeola Bukola, founder of Lillo Consulting and former Strategic Initiatives Associate at Backstage Capital, and Spike Eskin, sports radio host at 94WIP.

Our nominees are:

🏆 Dito van Reigersberg, drag queen extraordinaire behind the Philly band Martha Graham Cracker.

🏆 Tierra Whack, up-and-coming rapper and rising superstar, who was nominated for a Grammy Award.

🏆 Jos Duncan, a producer for WURD and founder of Love Now Media, a social storytelling enterprise.

🏆 Rana Fayez, creator of YallaPunk, a Philly festival celebrating Middle Eastern and North African artists and musicians.

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In a city not exactly known for fashion, whose appearance makes a mark? This award will be presented by Diana Lu, former WHYY journalist and communications manager for Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, and Feminista Jones, activist and author of Reclaiming Our Space and other books.

Our nominees are:

🏆 Rakia Reynolds, founder and president of Skai Blue Media and notorious rocker of floral pantsuits.

🏆 Saeed Ferguson, who does marketing for P’s & Q’s, a cutting edge, family-owned lifestyle clothing store.

🏆 Miguel Martinez-Valle, an especially stylish multimedia journalist at NBC10/Telemundo62

🏆 Leah Kauffman, owner of a regal wardrobe and founder of Rad Girls, a community for career women

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Philly’s food scene gets a lot of cred, but the drink situation is also fire, which we’ll recognize in this category. Appropriately, presenters for this award are Herman’s Coffee cofounders Amy Strauss and Mat Falco. Amy is also a longtime food and drink writer, and Mat was the publisher of Philly Beer Scene magazine.

Our nominees are:

🏆 Erin Wallace, the Devil’s Den owner who founded the Philly chapter of the women-in-beer Pink Boots Society.

🏆 Marc Lamont Hill, a news and entertainment pro who opened Uncle Bobbie’s, a coffee shop meant to bring together Germantown’s black community.

🏆 Jennifer Sabatino, manager of Manatawny Still Works‘ East Passyunk tasting room, who many credit with the best Old Fashioned in the city.

🏆 Khoran Horn, the expert veggie chef who’s behind Old City smoothie haven Stripp’d Juice.

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Philly has no lack of troubles — but luckily, also no shortage of people working to turn things around. This award will be presented by Tayyib Smith, cofounder and connector at Little Giant Creative and Pipeline Philly, and Bill Marrazzo, WHYY President and CEO.

Our nominees are:

🏆 Melissa Alam, who launched a digital media platform called Femme & Fortune for ambitious women.

🏆 Jean Friedman-Rudovsky & Cassie Haynes, who run RESOLVE Philadelphia, which facilitates hands-on collaboration among Philly news outlets.

🏆 Sara Goldrick-Rab, a Temple researcher who moves the conversation forward on student loan debt and economic insecurity.

🏆 Elvis Rosado, a Prevention Point staffer who’s reversed countless overdoses and trained others to do the same

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This category recognizes people whose actions, presence and personas speak to almost everyone in the city. Presenting the award will be Sheila Hess, City Representative for the City of Philadelphia, and Frank Olivieri, third-generation owner of Pat’s King of Steaks and founder of the Spread the Whiz Foundation.

Our nominees are:

🏆 Jane Golden, the enthusiastic founder of Philadelphia’s renowned Mural Arts program.

🏆 Joel Embiid, the humorous Sixers star who’s been caught practicing at neighborhood parks around the city.

🏆 Michael O’Bryan, a leader at the Village of Arts and Humanities who is instrumental in Philly’s community development field.

🏆 Fergus Carey, the Fergie’s Pub and Monk’s Cafe co-owner who’s an avid supporter of the arts and is sometimes known as Philly’s “night mayor.”