Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Apr 8 2015

Festivals Keep Philly Neighborhoods Hopping All Year Long

Books, Beer, Arts, America, Music, Movies & More Inspire Festivities

Philadelphians can always find a reason to get festive. It could be a gathering of artists and artisans in Manayunk (Manayunk Arts Festival), a traditional Yoruba-style street fair on South Street (Odunde), a craft beer party on East Passyunk Avenue (Italian Festival and Craft Beer Day), a weekend celebrating all-things Harry Potter in Chestnut Hill (Harry Potter Festival) or a gathering of would-be scientists at multiple neighborhoods throughout the city (Philadelphia Science Festival). Philly’s neighborhoods make merry all year long with special events and activities that reflect their distinctive personalities. Here’s a look at some of the mark-the-calendar happenings for 2015:

CENTER CITY

Benjamin Franklin Parkway:

  • For the fifth year running, the Philadelphia Science Festival unleashes nine days of exploratory exhibitions, lectures, debates and hands-on activities on campuses, museums and other venues around the city, culminating with a family-friendly science carnival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. April 24-May 2. philasciencefestival.org
  • A signature event for The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Bug Fest brings a weekend-long celebration of all-things creepy, crawly and fluttery to its home. Visitors can check out hundreds of bug specimens both live and preserved, meet insect researchers and even sample some bug cuisine. August 8-9. ansp.org

Rittenhouse Square:

  • Along with the blooming rhododendrons of spring comes the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival, Walnut Street’s annual fete with food, fashion, music and art, plus a slew of activities for kids. May 2. rittenhouserow.org
  • James Joyce’s masterwork Ulysses serves as the focal point of Bloomsday, an international holiday celebrating the novel. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia hosts the Philadelphia outpost of Bloomsday-related celebrations with a weeklong festival for literary enthusiasts, culminating with the outdoor public reading of passages from the book. June 9-16. rosenbach.org

Washington Square West:

  • With a mission to showcase some of the best jazz in Philadelphia, the Center City Jazz Festival brings a variety of jazz musicians to bars and lounges around the Washington Square West neighborhood of Philadelphia. This year’s lineup includes Ben Schachter, The Huntertones and Surface to Air. April 25. ccjazzfest.com
  • The already vibrant 13th Street takes on an autumnal glow during the annual Midtown Village Fall Festival, with a pop-up beer garden, live music, food from area restaurants, dunk tanks, more than 50 artists, DJs and even sumo wrestling. October 3. midtownvillage.org
  • Philadelphia celebrates National Coming Out Day with OutFest, a block party in the heart of the Gayborhood that’s made up of drag shows, games, bar crawls and shopping. Philadelphia’s celebration is the largest Coming Out Day street festival in the world. October 11. phillypride.org

Old City/Penn’s Landing:

  • Lovers of one-of-a-kind finds descend on the annual Spring Art Star Craft Bazaar, where the handmade goods include housewares, ceramics, clothing, art, paper goods and much more. The weekend-long sale at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing is punctuated with live music, food and art demonstrations. May 9-10. artstarcraftbazaar.com
  • Most weekends of the summer, the PECO Multicultural Series brings the cultures of the world—from Ireland and Mexico to Brazil and the Caribbean—to Penn’s Landing for family-friendly celebrations. June-September. (215) 922-2FUN, delawareriverwaterfront.com
  • When the Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden pulls into port this summer, visitors can watch the colorful parade of sail and tour 15 vessels from around the world, including L’Hermione, a replica of the ship that brought General Lafayette to the aid of the United States during the Revolutionary War. Ships will be docked on both sides of the river, where boat lovers and landlubbers can enjoy live entertainment, hands-on activities and dazzling fireworks. June 25-28. Delaware River Waterfront, tallshipsphiladelphia.com

BEYOND CENTER CITY

Fishtown & Northern Liberties:

  • Artists of all stripes and genres line the cobblestone streets to peddle their wares, while nearby, a quirky competition for the most creative human-powered vehicles takes place. It’s all part of the annual Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Arts Festival. May 16. kinetickensington.org, trentonaveartsfest.org
  • A block party sponsored by the businesses of Northern Liberties, the 2nd Street Festival showcases live music programmed by the Philadelphia Folksong Society, workshops, art, shopping and the very best local eats and drinks. August 2. 2ndstfestival.org
    • The Fishtown Neighbors Association presents the Rivercity Festival, a waterfront party with live music, a 5k run, hospitality and wellness tents and food and drink aplenty. October 10. rivercityfestival.org

South Street: Society Hill To Graduate Hospital:

  • The undead come out to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Philly Zombie Crawl on Easter Sunday night. Fearless fans can line up at 6th and South Streets for a parade of the brain-eating monsters and then take their chances with a nightlong crawl of South Street from 3rd to 6th Streets for drink specials and ghoulish fun at several neighborhood bars. April 5. phillyzombie.com
  • When the weather warms, the crowds gather at the South Street Spring Festival, an open-air party with local eats, drinks and goods from the street’s wide-ranging vendors, along with live entertainment on three stages. ART-GAGE will be on site with interactive projects up and down the street, while others gather around the city’s largest maypole. May 2. southstreet.com
  • Based on Yoruba traditions, ODUNDE, the largest African-American street festival in the country, celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2015. The festival honors the New Year for African and African-Americans around the world with a procession, ceremonial offering, live entertainment and an African marketplace with about 100 craft and food vendors stretching over 12 city blocks. June 14. odunde365.org
  • Go green at Clean Air Council’s Greenfest Philly, the city’s largest environmental event where all ages discover fun ways to live healthier and care for the environment. Live music, eco-friendly crafts, beer gardens and demos by local businesses transform Headhouse Square into a festive and educational outdoor marketplace. September 13. greenfestphilly.org
  • Craft breweries, neighborhood vendors, live music and food trucks come together on South Street for Bloktoberfest, an all-ages block party. Proceeds benefit local charities and programs. October 3. bloktoberfestphilly.com
  • South Street Headhouse Square District gets into the October spirit with the Pumpkin Fall Festival, a family day of activities, including arts and crafts, hayrides, vendors and live circus performances, music, seasonal foods and a free pumpkin giveaway. It all takes place in the Headhouse Square Shambles. October 24. southstreet.com

South Philly: Bella Vista & East Passyunk:

  • It’s one of the hottest restaurant rows in the region, and East Passyunk toots its own gastronomic horn during Flavors of the Avenue. For a reasonable admission fee, visitors can sample food and drink from its myriad restaurants, bakeries and pubs. April 26. visiteastpassyunk.com
  • The nation’s oldest outdoor market and the already-bustling heart of South Philadelphia welcomes the city for the South 9th Street Italian Market Festival, a foodie’s dream with flavors from its many restaurants and shops, along with the Annual Procession of Saints, plenty of activities for kids and, new this year, a pop-up outdoor disco. May 17-18. italianmarketfestival.com
  • During Philly Beer Week, East Passyunk plays up its roots with a daylong Craft Beer Day, a pub crawl with a distinctly red-sauce flavor, offering samples, brewer meet-and-greets and plenty of special deals, including an outdoor Asian street food BBQ and beer event by Bing Bing Dim sum and an outdoor grill and sampling event with four breweries hosted by Le Virtu. May 31. visiteastpassyunk.com
  • La Festa Della Repubblica presented by Filitalia International will return for its sixth year along three blocks of East Passyunk Avenue. Filitalia International's History of Italian Immigration Museum located at 1834 East Passyunk Avenue will be the center of the excitement, surrounded by four locations of live music bands and 30-plus food and merchant vendors. The festival will feature fun for both kids and adults, including an Orbitron amusement ride, a trampoline, a Water Gun Fun game and an exciting spaghetti-eating contest. June 7. filitaliainternational.com
  • Muscle car enthusiasts show off their Turtle Waxed best at the Car Show and Street Festival, where vehicles in multiple categories are judged. Street eats and live entertainers round out the offerings. July 26. visiteastpassyunk.com

Fairmount/Spring Garden:

  • Musicians, artists and other performers from in and around the Fairmount community share their talents at the first Fairmount Avenue Arts & Culture Day, celebrating the neighborhood’s abundant talents from a wide range of genres. Taking place in front of Eastern State Penitentiary, the event is jam packed with live entertainment, art, craft booths, food and the chance to win prizes from local merchants. June 6. fairmountcdc.org
  • Wigs are welcome at the Bastille Day celebration at Eastern State Penitentiary, where the Bearded Ladies cabaret performers hit the stage with dancing baguettes, a romping Eiffel Tower and other lighthearted tributes. The merriment is capped off with a reenactment of the French Revolution in which a Marie Antoinette re-enactor yells, “Let them eat Tastykakes.” At night, French dinner specials at local restaurants beckon revelers. July 11. easternstate.org

West Philadelphia/University City:

  • In addition to selling locally made crafts and goods, the Go West! Craft Fest, presented by local shop VIX Emporium and As the Crow Flies & Co. and held outdoors at the Woodlands, hosts performances by local bands and Tangle Movement Arts’ Tinycircus performance series. April 25. gowestcraftfest.com
  • The Philadelphia International Children’s Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts with even more family-friendly music and theater performances from around the globe, along with face-painters, jugglers and other entertainers in the free Fun Zone. May 7-9. annenbergcenter.org
  • Held on Saturdays closest to the summer solstice and fall equinox, the Clark Park Music and Arts Festival brings together music of all genres, arts and crafts, vendors and family activities in one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhood gathering spaces. June 20 and September 19. clarkparkfest.wordpress.com

Chestnut Hill:

  • Anything that goes into making a cozy home or spectacular garden is on display at Chestnut Hill’s annual Home and Garden Festival. Hundreds of craftspeople, merchants, food purveyors and entertainers set up along several blocks on Germantown Avenue. May 3. chestnuthillpa.com
  • Autumn gets off to a glorious start at the Fall for the Arts Festival as more than 150 artists and artisans from around the country display their talents during this daylong festival. On the docket: alfresco dining, entertainment, crafts and more. October 4. chestnuthillpa.com
  • Quidditch tournaments, horcrux hunts, sorting-hat demos and other magical Hogwarts activities delight fans of the boy wizard during the fourth annual Harry Potter Festival. Muggles beware as costumed wizards roam Chestnut Hill for a weekend packed with potions, spells and so much fun. October 16-17. chestnuthillpa.com

Manayunk:

  • If it’s June, it must be the Manayunk Arts Festival, marking its 26th anniversary in 2015. The festival continues to attract huge crowds to Main Street to check out a variety of artwork from 300 artists and crafters from around the country. Up-and-coming local talent gets in on the action in the Emerging Artist Tent. June 20-21. manayunk.com

Neighborhoods All Over Town:

  • Those obsessed with hard-to-find and unusual craft beers circle their calendars in red to mark the return of Philly Beer Week. Highlighted by such signature events as the Opening Tap celebration and the Hammer of Glory Relay Race, the sudsy celebration, which actually runs for 10 days, is packed with thousands of brewery tours, demos, games, tastings, workshops and other events brew-themed activities. May 29-June 7. phillybeerweek.org
  • Philly’s premier Fourth of July bash, Wawa Welcome America! offers up a spectacular series of family events, including fireworks, parades, movies, ice cream, Philly hoagies and star-studded live concerts headlined by national acts. June 27-July 4. welcomeamerica.com
  • Music fans mark the dates for the XPoNential Music Festival every year along the Camden Waterfront. The three-day event draws an incredible lineup of established legends and up-and-coming artists. July 24-26. xpnfest.org
  • Dubbed “the black Sundance” by Ebony, the BlackStar Film Festival gathers filmmakers and cinema lovers for screenings and workshops that illuminate the global black experience. July 30-August 2. blackstarfest.org
  • With an eye on the world’s most cutting-edge art, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival curates
    17 days of theater, dance, music and interdisciplinary performances. September 3-19.
    fringearts.com
  • The entire city celebrates DesignPhiladelphia, the oldest festival of its kind in the U.S., with more than 130 events showcasing the work of 400 designers, architects and creatives. Each fall, venues host exhibits, lectures, workshops, demonstrations and tours highlighting architecture, urban planning, product, interior, furniture, multimedia, graphic and fashion design. This year’s marquee event, Pearl Street Passage creates an urban oasis featuring outdoor, experiential and fun installations in the Chinatown North/Callowhill neighborhood. October 8-16. designphiladelphia.org
  • The Philadelphia Film Festival, an 11-day citywide event, showcases a range of short and feature-length, domestic and international films enhanced by special events and filmmaker Q&As. October 22-November 1. filmadelphia.org
  • Standup storytelling, theater, food events and workshops are just a few of the ways the First Person Arts Festival brings the real life narratives of everyday people and established artists to a wide audience. The 14th annual festival takes place in venues across the city. November 4-21. firstpersonarts.org

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county area.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.
 

Contact(s):
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