Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Feb 21 2013

Philly Neighborhoods Host Festivals Galore All Year Long

Seasonal Celebrations Pay Homage To Books, Beer, Arts, America, Music, Movies & More

Philadelphians love their festivals. Whether it’s local artisans and craftspeople sharing their wares on Penn’s Landing, a celebration of the fall season in Midtown Village, a traditional Yoruba-style street fair on South Street or a craft beer party on East Passyunk Avenue, there’s always a reason to celebrate in neighborhoods in and around Center City. The following are some mark-the-calendar happenings for 2013:

CENTER CITY

Benjamin Franklin Parkway:

  • For the third year running, the Philadelphia Science Festival will unleash 10 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 18-28. philasciencefestival.org
  • A signature event for The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Bug Fest is a weekend-long celebration of all things creepy, crawly and fluttery. Visitors can check out bug specimens both live and preserved, meet insect researchers and even sample some bug cuisine. August 11-12. (215) 299-1000, 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 18. rittenhouserow.org
  • James Joyce’s masterwork Ulysses serves as the focal point of Bloomsday, and the Rosenbach Museum and Library hosts the Philadelphia outpost of a worldwide all-day festival for literary enthusiasts. June 16. (215) 732-1600, rosenbach.org

Midtown Village:

  • Putting the spotlight on LGBT history and culture, Equality Forum brings together people from around the world for panel discussions, parties, art and theater events and a lively community fair. May 2-5. (215) 732-3378, equalityforum.com
  • Philly’s OutFest is the biggest National Coming Out Day event in the world, and with good reason—the street carnival features a sports area, family zone, craft market, live music, dance parties and much more. October 13. phillypride.org
  • The already vibrant 13th Street takes on an autumnal glow at the annual Midtown Village Fall Festival, with a pop-up beer garden, live music, food from area restaurants, dunk tanks, more than 50 artists and crafters, DJs and even sumo wrestling. October 5. midtownvillage.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 11-12. artstarcraftbazaar.com
  • Every weekend of the summer is a new reason to celebrate at the PECO Multicultural Series, which brings the cultures of the world—from Ireland and Portugal to Israel and the Caribbean—to Penn’s Landing. June-September. (215) 922-2FUN, delawareriverevents.com
  • Tall ships from around the world line Philly’s waterfront during the Old City Seaport Festival every fall. Guests can climb aboard to tour the Delaware River, and on land, they enjoy live music, crafts, vendors and family-friendly activities that engage visitors in Philly’s maritime history. October 11-13. (215) 413-8655, phillyseaport.org/seaportfestival

BEYOND CENTER CITY

Fishtown & Northern Liberties:

  • Lining the cobblestone street with artists of all stripes and genres, the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival includes the storied Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby, a quirky competition for the most creative human-powered vehicles. May 18. 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 4. 2ndstfestival.org
  • The Fishtown Neighbors Association presents the Rivercity Festival, a waterfront party with a performance stage, fun run and hospitality and wellness tents. October 5. rivercityfestival.org

South Street: Society Hill To Graduate Hospital:

  • The undead come out for the Philly Zombie Crawl on Easter Sunday, and the first order of business is the Zombie Pre-Game for face painting and DJs, before a nightlong tour of South Street bars for drink specials and ghoulish fun. March 31. phillyzombiecrawl.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. May 4. southstreet.com/
  • Based on Yoruba traditions, the Odunde Festival celebrates the coming of another year for African-Americans and African people around the world with a procession, ceremonial offering and African marketplace, along with live music and dance. June 9. (215) 732-8510, odundefestival.org
  • Craft breweries, neighborhood vendors, live music and food trucks come together on South Street for Bloktoberfest, an all-ages block party. Proceeds are donated to local charities and programs. October 12. bloktoberfestphilly.com
  • The Headhouse Square Shambles get into the October spirit with the Pumpkinland Fall Festival, a family day of activities including arts and crafts, dancing demonstrations, vendors and live performances, plus a free pumpkin giveaway. October 26. 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 27. visiteastpassyunk.com
  • The nation’s oldest outdoor market and the already-bustling heart of South Philadelphia welcomes the city for the Italian Market Festival, a foodie’s dream with flavors from its myriad restaurants and shops, along with the Annual Procession of Saints and plenty of activities for kids. May 18-19. italianmarketfestival.com
  • During Philly Beer Week, East Passyunk plays up its roots with a daylong Italian Festival and Craft Beer Day, a pub crawl with a distinctly red sauce flavor, offering samples, brewer meet-and-greets and plenty of special deals. June 2. visiteastpassyunk.com
  • Muscle car enthusiasts show off their Turtle Waxed best at the Car Show and Street Festival, where vehicles in multiple categories are on display for the judging. Street eats and live entertainers round out the offerings. July 28. visiteastpassyunk.com

Callowhill:

  • A literary arts festival that goes beyond the book, the 215 Festival highlights authors and their words through live performance, music, film, book fairs, panel discussions and dance parties. October 17-20. 215festival.org

Fairmount/Spring Garden:

  • Collectors, enthusiasts and artists alike gather for the Fairmount Arts Crawl when Fairmount Avenue businesses become temporary galleries with more than 70 installations. Live arts and kids activities entertain along the way. April 28. fairmountcdc.org
  • It’s all about family fun at Clemente Fest, a fundraiser for the Spring Garden park named for the famed Puerto Rican baseball player. Attractions include local art, music and performance, plus a moon bounce and games for kids. May 18. friendsofclemente.blogspot.com
  • Summer in Fairmount begins with the Urban Beach Party, held on the Brown Street lawn at Eastern State Penitentiary and featuring games, music and food for the family. June 22. fespp.com
  • Wigs are welcome at the Bastille Day celebration at the Eastern State Penitentiary, where a reenactment of the French Revolution includes a Marie Antoinette re-enactor yelling “Let them eat Tastykakes,” followed by more festivities and French dinner specials at local restaurants. July 13. (215) 236-2985, easternstate.org

West Philadelphia/University City:

  • Sponsored by Crossroads Music and featuring musicians from India and the United States, the Raga Samay Music Festival is a 24-hour marathon of Hindustani classical music, along with a documentary screening and a panel discussion. April 6-7. (215) 729-1028, ragasamay.org
  • In addition to selling locally made crafts and goods, the Go West! Craft Fest, sponsored by local shop Vix Emporium and held outdoors at the Woodlands, hosts performances by local bands and Tangle Movement Arts’ tinycircus performance series. April 20. gowestcraftfest.com
  • 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 and September 2013 (exact dates to be determined). clarkparkfest.wordpress.com

Neighborhoods All Over Town:

  • The biannual Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts is a sprawling, month-long extravaganza (this year’s theme is “If You Had a Time Machine…”) of music, dance, theater, art and lectures, culminating in an enormous fair on Avenue of the Arts on April 27. March 28-April 27. (215) 546-PIFA, pifa.org
  • An artistic and architectural treasure hunt, Hidden City Festival features site-specific art exhibits within Philadelphia’s oft-forgotten architectural gems. This year, 10 visionary installations, designed to spur social initiatives and forward-thinking dialogues, take residence at nine under-appreciated destinations in neighborhoods around the city. May 25-June 30. hiddencityphila.org
  • The local obsession with all-things fizzy and fermented comes to a foamy head during Philly Beer Week, a regional bacchanal with special dinners, tastings, pub crawls and brewery tours. May 31-June 9. phillybeerweek.org
  • Awesome Fest brings the 1980s back to Philadelphia with a 10-week film and music festival. The outdoor movie screenings are all free and located in parks across the city, including Drexel Park, Liberty Lands and Eakins Oval. June 14-August 17. theawesomefest.com
  • Philly’s preeminent Fourth of July bash, Wawa Welcome America! offers up a spectacular series of events, including fireworks, parades, movies, ice cream, hoagies and live concerts headlined by national acts. July 1-July 7. welcomeamerica.com
  • 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. Helmed by honorary co-chairs Questlove and Black Thought of The Roots, this year’s festival takes place in such venues as the Barnes Foundation, Johnny Brenda’s and International House Philadelphia. August 1-4. (215) 232-4485, blackstarfest.org
  • With an eye on the world’s most cutting-edge art, the Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe curates weeks of theater, dance, music and interdisciplinary performances. September 6-21. livearts-fringe.org
  • The entire city celebrates DesignPhiladelphia, the largest festival of its kind with more than 150 events representing more than 500 nationally recognized designers. Each fall, venues all over host exhibits, lectures, workshops and demonstrations that highlight automotive, product and interior, architecture, multimedia and urban-planning design. October 10-18. designphiladelphia.org
  • The domestic and international works screened at the cross-city Philadelphia Film Festival include documentary, animation and live-action features, enhanced with panel discussions and director Q&As. October 17-27. filmadelphia.org
  • Story slams, workshops, standup comedy and theater are just a few of the ways the First Person Arts Festival brings the real narratives of everyday people to a wide audience in venues around the city every year. November 7-16. firstpersonarts.org

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 visitphilly.com or uwishunu.com, 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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