The month-long Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts comes to a close with great fanfare this weekend, culminating in a humongous street fair on the Avenue of the Arts this Saturday, April 27.
Shutting down Broad Street from Chestnut to South streets from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the free fair transforms the thoroughfare with an eight-hour blowout of festivities ranging from street musicians and performers to food vendors and exhibitors.
Building on the first PIFA street fair in 2011, this year’s entertainment lineup includes classic carnival rides like a Ferris Wheel and Spanish Galleon, three grassy pop-up parks, a dinosaur petting zoo (yep!), jungle gyms and tons more family-friendly activities.
Plus, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts will be open all day with food and drinks by Garces Catering and entertainment in Time Travel Plaza.
Read on for our roundup of what’s going on where, plus check out the detailed map of the street fair’s setup below.
• The Rides: A handful of carnival rides are set to take attendees for a spin. Look for a giant Ferris Wheel to span Broad Street at Lombard Street and a swinging Spanish Galleon at Walnut Street. Rides are $5 per person, and we expect lines to form, so be prepared to queue up. Specifically for families, check out the elevated jungle gyms of the kids obstacle course at Spruce Street ($5) and the two family obstacle courses at Pine Street ($10). Of course, the very daring can try for a turn on the flying trapeze with Fly School Circus Arts in the lot across from the Kimmel Center.
• The Food And Vendors: Festival-goers shouldn’t have a problem satisfying hunger. A lineup of 20 local and regional food vendors are set to dish street food throughout the day. Look for fare from trucks and restaurants including Garces’ Guapos Tacos, Anthony’s Italian Ice, Parc, The Capital Grille, The Cow and the Curd, Loco Pez and the Surf and Turf Truck. For an adult beverage, seek out the Garces Catering beer garden tent near the Kimmel Center, the only location with boozy beverages.
Besides food, visit more than 45 vendors and artisans including Black Ink Art, Freckled Sage and Willow Street Pictures, plus friendly non-profits like the Arts and Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Taller Puertorriqueno and more.
• The Attractions: The highlight of the fair just might be the dinosaur petting zoo. Situated in front of the Kimmel Center, this whimsical attraction is reported to include a prehistoric-style beach with an 18-foot tall and 40-foot-long T-Rex. Of course, the dinosaurs are animatronics and puppets, so no feeding or riding.
In addition to the zoo, the festival grounds include three parks where visitors are encouraged to kick back. Compass Park at Pine Street and Clock Park at Locust Street feature plenty of grass and landscaping, while a green space at Sansom Street includes bleachers so crowds can spot the Living Fountain, a breathing, water-spurting Greek statue.
To witness art-making in action, don’t miss the time machine welding area. Zo Prod, a group of French performance artists, will set up an impromptu metal-working shop at Spruce Street for a presentation of Konstructors, a site-specific and improvisational public art installation.
Plus, keep an eye out for additional attractions like a circus ring, a time travel-themed Delorean, knights and horses.
• The Music And Performances: Live musical performances are scheduled throughout the day on the PIFA amphitheater stage at Walnut Street and at the two pop-up parks. Starting at 11 a.m. with Native Nations, see groups perform on the hour at the PIFA amphitheater. Show up around 1 p.m. or 5 p.m. to catch the Jabali African acrobats, or see booty-shaking Brazilian band Philly Bloco at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Other performers to play throughout the day include the Blackbird Society Orchestra, Coral Creek String Band and barbershop quartet Faces 4 Radio.
Head inside the Wells Fargo Museum to see one of four performances from the Marian Anderson Young Artist Study Program. The group will pay tribute to Philadelphia-born singer Marian Anderson with 15-minute concerts at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Beyond the music, spot interactive roving performers including the nine-foot-tall Rock It Robot and Cirikli Stilt Birds, who are primed for awesome photo-ops.
Traveling to the festival via public transportation is highly encouraged, as roads will be closed around the festival all day. SEPTA’s trip planner offers helpful hints on getting around the city.
Check out the PIFA Street Fair Facebook page to join the event and spread the word about what’s sure to be a super Saturday.
PIFA Street Fair
When: Saturday, April 27, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Where: Broad Street from Chestnut to South streets
More info: www.pifa.org
See the complete festival map below.