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Releases: Expanded View

Aug 16 2013

25 Not-To-Be-Missed Fall Festivals In Philly

Spectacular Celebrations Take Place All Season Long Throughout Greater Philadelphia

Fall in Philadelphia means the air is cool and crisp; seasonal fruits and vegetables transform local cuisine; hues of orange, red and brown dominate the landscape; and tens of thousands of people gather at spots all over the region for awesome autumnal festivals. Whether revelers don their Harry Potter-style glasses and broomsticks (Harry Potter Weekend), set out to watch ancient Chinese sea vessels race along the Schuylkill River (Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival) or enjoy Grammy Award-winning musical acts (WHYY Connections Festival), there’s something to celebrate all season long in Philadelphia. Here are 25 not-to-be-missed events:

Arts & Crafts:

  1. As the city’s largest annual performing arts festival, the Fringe Festival aims to attract more than 45,000 attendees this year to more than 200 events in venues ranging from the Wilma Theater and the 23rd Street Armory to the Asian Arts Initiative and Eastern State Penitentiary. The 17th annual festival, taking place September 5-22, features international all-stars, including Italian artist Romeo Castellucci, Irish step dancer Colin Dunne and Berlin-based circus arts creator Tobias Wegner.
  2. On September 7, the Go West! Craft Fest returns to The Woodlands in West Philadelphia. While browsing through handmade items from more than 70 vendors, festival-goers enjoy performances by jugglers, hoop dancers and acoustic musicians. Kids engage in free crafts-related activities, and hungry patrons dig into fare from local restaurants and food trucks. Rain date is September 8. 40th Street & Woodland Avenue,
  3. A celebration of the arts, the 3rd annual WHYY Connections Festival returns to the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, September 7-8. In addition to visual arts displays and family-friendly activities, the festival features show-stopping musical acts. This year’s headliner is the Grammy Award-winning band They Might Be Giants. S. Columbus Boulevard & Walnut Street, (215) 351-1200,
  4. Chestnut Hill transforms into an outdoor arts and crafts marketplace during the Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival on October 6. More than 150 talented artists from throughout the country display and sell their creations in media ranging from watercolor paintings to jewelry. Live entertainment, children’s rides and alfresco dining round out the excitement during this free event. Rain date is October 13. Germantown Avenue between Willow Grove & Rex Avenues, (215) 247-6696,
  5. From October 10-18, the ninth annual DesignPhiladelphia Festival, a signature program of the Philadelphia Center for Architecture, shines a spotlight on the vibrant creative community across the region. This year’s theme, EXPERIENCEdesign!, focuses on the experiential and emotional aspects of design by engaging festival goers’ five senses. More than 120 events are held in a variety of locales across the city, including boutiques, museums, warehouses and public spaces.
  6. The only festival of its kind in the world, the 12th annual First Person Arts Festival, presented by Penn’s Master of Liberal Arts Program and Harmelin Media, returns November 6-16. The celebration dedicates 10 days to the power of personal stories told through genres such as storytelling, theater, writing, dance and more at venues throughout the city. (267) 402-2055,

Music & Film:

  1. Approximately 5,000 attendees groove to the tunes of local and nationally acclaimed blues bands at Reeves Park during the Phoenixville Blues Festival on September 7. From 12:00 noon-10:00 p.m., musical acts entertain the crowd, and food vendors serve up delicious snacks and dishes. While this event is free to the public, funds raised from canned good donations and food sales help support charitable causes, including Give the Gift of Music, the Phoenixville Library and Paint the Town Pink. 2nd Avenue & Main Street, Phoenixville,
  2. Returning for its 22nd year from October 17-27, the Philadelphia Film Festival, presented by the Philadelphia Film Society, celebrates the art of cinema with more than 100 films from around the world. The festival also includes industry panels, post-screening Q&As and special events with filmmakers at venues across the region.

Nature & Harvest:

  1. On September 21, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society presents its annual PHS Fall Garden Festival. From 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., an assortment of activities take place on the parade grounds of the Navy Yard, including a marketplace selling local produce, plants, home décor and gardening tools; a PHS Kids Zone, where youngsters can participate in games, activities and crafts; a “Garden Giants” demonstration, where growers show off their oversized tomatoes, pumpkins and other gigantic goodies for a panel of judges; and bus tours of the revamped Navy Yard. 4747 S. Broad Street, (215) 988-8800,
  2. During the Peddler’s Village Scarecrow Festival, taking place September 21-22, visitors can view more than 100 amazing scarecrow creations and take part in scarecrow-making workshops, pumpkin pie-eating contests, pumpkin painting and live music. Routes 202 & 263, Lahaska, (215) 794-4000,
  3. The fourth-annual Downingtown FallFest welcomes more than 5,000 guests on September 29 for a day filled with festive events, including live music, food vendors, craft activities and displays from local businesses. And, of course, since Victory Brewing Company presents this festival, guests can expect a stellar beer garden with delicious brews and bites. E. Lancaster Avenue between Wallace Avenue and Green Street, Downingtown, (610) 269-1523,
  4. Franklin Square is all about fall fun during the third annual PumpkinFest on October 5. The event helps raise funds to maintain the park, which is one of Philadelphia’s most picturesque settings. Guests of all ages partake in festivities such as a costume parade, pumpkin painting, pony rides, spooky mini-golf, carnival games, cupcake decorating and more. Plus, admission includes unlimited rides on the historic Philadelphia Park Liberty Carousel. 6th & Race Streets, (215) 629-4026,
  5. On October 5-6, Morris Arboretum presents its annual Fall Festival, set amidst 92 acres of exquisite plant life and horticultural displays. This year’s family-friendly activities include scarecrow making, pumpkin painting and apple tasting. Also, from October 5-20, visitors can view 30 designer scarecrows along Scarecrow Walk. 100 E. Northwestern Avenue, (215) 247-5777,
  6. Reading Terminal Market is undoubtedly one of the best places to savor the fall harvest, and on October 12, visitors are invited to do just that during the Harvest Festival. From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., a portion of Filbert Street is closed to traffic and transformed into an urban farm, complete with hay bales and corn stalks. Kids and adults walk through an on-site pumpkin patch, ride an authentic farm tractor and enjoy freshly prepared donuts, candy apples and other seasonal goodies. Filbert Street between 11th & 12th Streets, (215) 922-2317,

International Travel & Local Culture:

  1. The 29th annual Feria del Barrio returns to the El Centro de Oro section of Philadelphia on September 8. A celebration of Latin American heritage, arts and culture, this free event offers a variety of live entertainment, including art demonstrations, music, dancing and children’s games. This year’s main act is the four-time Grammy-nominated Afro-Rican band Plena Libre. The revelry also features cuisine from several Latin American countries. N. 5th Street between Lehigh Avenue & Cambria Street, (215) 423-6320,
  2. The sights, sounds and tastes of Mexico take over the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing during the Mexican Independence Day Festival on September 15. This free celebration features arts and crafts, Mexican rock bands, face painting, Mexican food, dancing and more. S. Columbus Boulevard & Chestnut Street, (215) 922-2386,
  3. Culture meets athletic ability during the Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival, one of the largest festivals of its kind in North America. Throughout the day (October 5), more than 140 teams—totaling roughly 5,000 paddlers of all ages, abilities and ethnicities—take to the Schuylkill River in boats whose elaborate design originated in ancient China.
  4. Celebrate the harvest moon and give thanks for a good harvest during the Family Moonviewing Weekend at the Japanese House at the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden from October 18-20. Events and activities include a moon-viewing tea ceremony, a moon-viewing party, a sweets-making class, a traditional Japanese choral performance and storytelling. Horticultural & Lansdowne Drives, (215) 878-5097,
  5. Love it or hate it, scrapple is a quintessential part of a traditional Pennsylvania breakfast. During Scrapple Fest, taking place at the Reading Terminal Market on November 2, scrapple brands offer product samples and Reading Terminal Market chefs compete to determine the best scrapple dish in the market. 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 922-2317,
  6. Presented by the Geographical Society of Philadelphia, GEOfest is a two-day festival featuring illustrated talks from renowned explorers and travelers. This year’s events, which take place on November 13-14, include a visit with brat-packer-turned-travel-writer Andrew McCarthy; the city-wide GEObowl, where grade-school students answer questions about global geography and culture; and a talk by professional photographers who will share images of Philadelphia and the world beyond. (610) 649-5220,

Neighborhood Celebrations:

  1. Kicking off Manayunk Restaurant Week, the Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival on September 21 is a foodie’s dream, featuring food trucks, gourmet food vendors and specials at Main Street’s delectable restaurants. Between bites, attendees enjoy live music and sidewalk sales. Main Street, Manayunk, (215) 482-9565,
  2. Roughly 12,000 people are expected at this year Riverfront Ramble in Chester, making it the largest riverfront festival in Delaware County. On September 21, the Wharf at Rivertown on the Chester Waterfront features an antique car show, live performances, an iron chef competition, fitness instruction, a science fair, food and craft vendors, a petting zoo and spectacular fireworks over the Delaware River. 2501 Seaport Drive, (610) 447-7700,
  3. Showcasing the best of Fishtown, the annual RiverCity Festival returns to historic Penn Treaty Park on October 5. Activities like moon bounces and magic shows delight young revelers, while adults partake in grown-up amusement, including the RiverCity Fun Run and the on-site beer garden. Beach Street & Delaware Avenue,
  4. Guests can embrace Philly’s maritime culture at the second annual Old City Seaport Festival, kicking off on October 11 with a majestic sunset Parade of Boats. On October 12-13, visitors head to Penn’s Landing for a crafter’s village, deck tours of the Tall Ships, food trucks, a moon bounce, face painting and an outdoor beer garden. Throughout the weekend, guests can expect fun encounters with roaming, costumed pirates and their live parrots. S. Columbus Boulevard & Walnut Street, (215) 413-8655,
  5. For two magical days, Chestnut Hill transforms into Hogsmeade, the fictional town made famous in the Harry Potter series for Harry Potter Weekend. On October 18, an opening ceremony and pub crawl kick off the festivities. On October 19, spectators catch the collegiate Quidditch tournament at Chestnut Hill College. Plus, throughout the weekend, restaurants and shops all over town participate in Harry Potter-themed fun. (215) 247-6696,

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region’s vitality.

For more information about travel to Philadelphia, visit or, where you can build itineraries; search event calendars; see photos and videos; view interactive maps; sign up for newsletters; listen to HearPhilly, an online radio station about what to see and do in the region; book hotel reservations and more. Or, call the Independence Visitor Center, located in Historic Philadelphia, at (800) 537-7676.

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The Calendar of Events is organized as follows:

February 2018
March 2018
April 2018
May 2018
June 2018
July 2018
August 2018
September 2018
October 2018
November 2018
December 2018
January 2019
February 2019


Through February 2, 2018
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Through February 4, 2018
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