With so many great festivals in the pipeline for September and October, we're providing you with a full rundown so you can start making plans. (Photo credits, clockwise from top left: G. Widman, E. Mencher, G. Widman and M. Kennedy, all for GPTMC)
It’s after Labor Day, which means summer is starting to wind down. But that only means that the late summer/early fall festival season is just getting revved up.
The next several weeks are filled with street fairs and block parties celebrating art, crafts, fashion, theater, design, live music, delicious food and craft beer throughout the Philadelphia area.
With all that’s going on, we thought it would be helpful to round up all of our top picks for late summer and early fall festivals happening in Philadelphia. Plan accordingly.
Check out the guide below, with festivals listed in order by date. And be sure to stay tuned for ongoing festival coverage.
Late Summer Festivals
• Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe: September 7-22, various locations. The popular festival is back with hundreds of dance, theater, visual arts, music and spoken-word presentations performed in venues of every stripe, from traditional stages to street corners, cars, galleries, cabarets and restaurants. It’s all offbeat, daring and avant-garde. Don’t miss the final few days! Check out all our Fringe coverage here.
• Feastival: September 12, Pier 9, 121 N. Columbus Boulevard. The annual Feastival fundraising event, that brings together Philadelphia’s outstanding culinary and artistic realms to benefit the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, returns to the scene on Wednesday, September 12.
• The Philadelphia Collection: September 13-20, various locations. The city shows off its fashionable side during The Philadelphia Collection 2012. A wide-variety of fashion and style events, including fashion shows, workshops, trunk shows and in-store events, have been brought together for a celebration of Philadelphia’s fashion and retail community. Check out all our Philadelphia Collection coverage here.
• Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show: September 14-16, 18th and Walnut Streets, around the perimeter of the park. One of the most respected and well-attended outdoor art shows in the country, the Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show dates back to 1932, when a group of local art students first came to the Square to informally exhibit their work between the trees on clotheslines. Bonus: during the Saturday of the festival, the square will annex 18th Street for a giant outdoor cafe.
• Doylestown Arts Festival: September 15-16, State and Main Streets. The free two-day Doylestown Arts Festival takes place in the heart of beautiful Doylestown Borough in Bucks County. This annual festival has grown to include more than 150 exhibitors and a food court. Diverse entertainment is presented at numerous locations throughout the downtown area.
• German Society Oktoberfest: September 15, 611 Spring Garden Street. At the German Society Oktoberfest, expect delicious traditional food, dance, music and more.
• Mexican Independence Day: September 16, Penn’s Landing. This free festival, organized by the Mexican Cultural Center, will honor the traditions of Mexico, while infusing the atmosphere with all the new and exciting entertainment that Philadelphia’s Mexican community has to offer.
• 40th Street Summer Series: September 22, 40th and Walnut Streets. It may be the first day of Fall, but you can still savor summer with the final performance of University City District’s 40th Street Summer Series. West Philadelphia’s Bobby Zankel is joined by two sax masters: Odean Pope, best known for his two decades with the Max Roach Quartet; and Dave Liebman, who performed and recorded with Miles Davis from 1970-1974.
Read up on Early Fall Festivals, below.
Early Fall Festivals
• Longwood Gardens Autumn Colors Festival: September 8-November 18, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square. Longwood Gardens celebrates the harvest season with Autumn’s Colors, a festive showcase of fall colors, giant pumpkins, unusual gourds and live concerts. Longwood’s landscapes glow with shades of yellow, orange, purple and red trees. Golden honey locusts and ginkgoes, scarlet sweet gums and sourwoods and ruby northern red oaks add bursts of color.
• MGK Brew Blast: September 22, Battleship New Jersey, 62 Battleship Place, Camden, NJ. WMGK, the classic rock station, is sponsoring its second annual craft beer festival on the Battleship New Jersey, the WMGK Brew Blast. Tickets are $45 and include a tour of the ship plus all-you-can drink craft beers (50+), food and the MGK House Band playing live on the deck.
• PHS Fall Garden Festival: September 22, The Navy Yard, 4747 S. Broad Street. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) will be celebrating all things fall, with a free family-friendly, multi-sensory experience perfect for green thumbs and garden newbies alike. The event features a day’s worth of garden fun, from contests to presentations from local floral and plant experts and a PHS Gold Medal award-winning plants display.
• Riverfront Ramble: September 22. Chester Waterfront, Chester. The Riverfront Ramble, a massive 14-mile-long party and festival celebrating Delaware County’s waterfront communities, caps off your summer with a day of fun. Towns from Marcus Hook to Tinicum Township roll out the welcome mat for visitors with a September festival of food, crafts, music, boats, contests, fireworks and much more.
• Uhuru Flea Market & Clark Park Music Festival: September 22, Clark Park, 43rd & Chester Streets. All day, visitors can stroll the tables of the Uhuru Flea Market. There will be antiques and collectibles, ethnic food, arts and crafts, bikes, records, books, jewelry, clothing and even housewares for sale. There will also be children’s events and activities, music, dance and theatre performances, and a chance for non-profit organizations to reach out to the neighborhood’s residents.
• Slyfox Can Jam: September 22, 331 Circle of Progress Drive, Pottstown. Can Jam celebrates all things local craft beer, with live music, deliciously crisp canned beer, BBQ and more.
• Jenkintown Festival of the Arts: September 23, 715 Greenwood Avenue, Jenkintown. The Jenkintown Festival of the Arts is back with two stages of live music, a juried and student art show, brew fest, kid’s court, lots of food, artisan vendors and more.
• Campus Philly College Day: September 29, Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Philadelphia will welcome back thousands of college students during its annual Campus Philly College Day, a city-wide day of discounts, giveaways, entertainment and free admission to museums and more on September 29. Throughout the day, students will gain free admission to museums and attractions in Historic Philadelphia, Center City and along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
• Manayunk StrEAT Festival: September 29, Main Street, Manayunk. StrEAT is the kick-off of the five day Manayunk Restaurant Week on Saturday, September 29. Main Street will be lined with some of Philadelphia’s best food trucks with specialties ranging from ice cream to Asian delicacies.
• New Hope Arts & Crafts Festival: September 29-30, New Hope-Solebury High School, 182 W. Bridge Street, New Hope. The New Hope Arts & Crafts Festival highlights the work of premier artists and artisans specializing in photography, watercolors, oils, pastels, pen and ink drawings, silver and gold jewelry, ceramics, wearable art, glass, wood, sculpture and furniture. Exhibitors sell the works on display in booths lining Union Square.
• Downingtown FallFest: September 30, Lancaster Avenue between Wallace Avenue and Green Street, Downingtown. Come for the local foods, crafts and entertainment and stay for the beer garden with craft brews from Victory Brewing Company during the Downingtown FallFest.
• Chinatown Night Market: October 4, 10th and Race Streets. It’s time for another round of Night Market Philadelphia, the roving outdoor food truck bazaar that visits neighborhoods throughout the city to dish up mobile eats, live music and crafts. Centered around 10th and Race Streets will be dozens of the city’s best mobile food vendors plus live bands, local artists’ crafts and much more.
• Old City Seaport Festival: October 5-7, Delaware River waterfront along Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard. Independence Seaport Museum is launching the Old City Seaport Festival, a weekend-long fest with Tall Ships, live music, crafts, vendors and activities along the waterfront plus refreshments from food trucks and a beer garden area on the museum’s outdoor second floor balcony.
• Revolutionary Germantown Festival: October 6, 6400 block of Germantown Avenue, Germantown. On October 4, 1777, the Continental Army attempted to fight the British out of Germantown. Washington and his troops lost the battle and were forced to retreat to Valley Forge for the winter. Germantown commemorates the event on October 6 during the Revolutionary Germantown Festival with a battle reenactment, tours, food vendors and more.
• Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival: October 6, St. Joe’s Boathouse, 4 Boathouse Row. Stroll up Kelly Drive along the Schuylkill River for Philadelphia’s colorful annual celebration of an ancient Chinese tradition, the Dragon Boat Festival. The boats, festooned in brilliantly colored dragon heads and tails, are manned by teams of 20 paddlers and compete against each other in several heats throughout the day.
• RiverCity Festival: October 6, Penn Treaty Park, 1199 N Delaware Avenue. The Fourth Annual RiverCity Festival is presented by the Fishtown Neighbors Association at historic Penn Treaty Park. The festival reinforces friendships in the community, promotes exciting local businesses and showcases everything that makes Fishtown stand out as a neighborhood with tremendous history and vibrancy.
• Midtown Village Fall Festival: October 6, 13th Street between Chestnut and Locust. The six-block outdoor party is back, with food samples from Midtown Village restaurants, sidewalk sales, handmade items from artisans and crafters and the “Little Villagers” family-friendly area complete with a free moon bounce, sidewalk chalk and pumpkin painting.
Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival: October 7, Germantown Avenue, between Willow Grove and Rex Avenues, Chestnut Hill. Germantown Avenue is transformed into a festive outdoor arts and crafts marketplace at Fall for the Arts, with more than 150 artists displaying their works. Meanwhile, markets, restaurants and bars set up shop outside on the street serving festival-goers delicious eats and drinks. There will also be children’s activities, including face-painting and amusement rides, as well as live music on two stages and lots of alfresco dining.
• OutFest: October 7, Between Walnut and Pine Streets from 11th to 13th Street. Don’t miss Philadelphia’s Outfest, a National Coming Out Day (NCOD) Festival that attracts more than 20,000 people to the region. The annual block party embraces the GLBT lifestyle and freedom. Philadelphia was one of the first cities to organize around NCOD on a large scale by creating a block party to showcase the many facets of the community.
• Design Philadelphia: October 10-14, various locations. Approximately 200,000 people are estimated to explore the world of design during more than 150 events held throughout the city. Design Philadelphia aims to celebrate and promote Philadelphia as a design capital and destination. It’s awesome.
• Before the Bridge Music Festival: October 13, Haddon and Woodlawn Avenues, Collingswood, NJ. Before the Bridge continues the long time tradition of Collingswood’s support of independent music, bringing artists from as far away as Brooklyn and Virginia.
• Taste of Fall West Fairmount: October 14, Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse, 504 Reservoir Drive. Taste of Fall in West Fairmount Park features food, beer and wine tastings, live music and plenty of activities for adults and children alike. This autumnal outdoor affair, sponsored by The Junior League, will offer selections from both local farms and gourmet food vendors, plus showcase the work of artisan and craft vendors.
• Philadelphia Film Festival: October 18-28, various locations. The Philadelphia Film Festival is 15 days of cinematic splendor, with more than 250 screenings of independent, feature, documentary and short films… stay tuned for much more insider intel.