For the second year in a row, Gov. Wolf has opted out of Pennsylvania's premiere political event, held in New York City.
In a thinly veiled criticism of the ritzy affair, Wolf instead spoke at a young leaders' event in Philadelphia, and donated to several nonprofits.
Former Gov. Ed Rendell said he understood the move - he himself would like to see Pennsylvania Society relocated to Pennsylvania - but would have suggested Wolf show up, for political reasons.
"If the governor had asked me I would have advised him to come," said Rendell at a Saturday event for businesses and politicians at the Metropolitan Club on Fifth Avenue near Central Park. Politically, it's a chance to address both sides in a divided year, Rendell said.
"You get a chance to address everyone . . . and it's an opportunity to just see everyone, but the governor feels strongly it should be in Pennsylvania and it's the way he has of making his point," he said.
Wolf also skipped the black-tie affair last year, citing the state's budget impasse. This year he will donate $10,000 each to Philabundance, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
Wolf and his wife plan to volunteer at one of the food banks as well, according to his office.
In addition, Wolf plans a $10,000 donation toward college scholarships in Pennsylvania, a Wolf spokesman said.
On Saturday, while his mostly white-haired colleagues gathered at a $500-per-plate dinner at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan, Wolf gave the keynote address at the Pattison Leader Ball in Philadelphia. The $65-per-ticket event has become an alternative to Pennsylvania Society. It gives millennial leaders a local forum to network on the same night as the exclusive, invitation-only dinner.
In New York, party leaders faced the questions they get every year about whether the New York event for Pennsylvanians, put on by Pennsylvanians, will move home.
Next year, the Waldorf will be closed for renovations and the dinner will move to the Hilton New York. Rendell predicted the shift would mean low turnout, prompting Pennsylvania Society to finally move to Pennsylvania in 2018.
"Without the charm of the Waldorf, I think attendance will drop radically and it will be time to move it to Pennsylvania," he said.
Rendell would like to see Pittsburgh and Philadelphia alternate hosting.
For his part, Mayor Kenney doesn't see the event leaving New York.
"It's never going to move, it's just not going to do it. The only shot we really had was next year when the Waldorf is closed and we asked them to consider and they said they weren't interested," Kenney said.
"I understand the tradition has been it's way of getting people, particularly Pennsylvania Republicans, here and they like coming here. It's never coming to Pennsylvania," Kenney said.