April 3, 2013
The birds are chirping, winter coats are nearly packed away and the sun is shining late into the day. Spring is here, Philadelphia, and we couldn’t be more excited.
The spring season is full of daylong, weekend long and month long festivals that are sure to get you outside to enjoy the mild temperatures. Philadelphia’s spring festivals range from an international children’s festival to the oldest track meet in the country to an event meant for all the beer lovers out there.
Check out our chronological list of spring festivals all around the city below, and check back for updates as the season develops.
**Update: As of May 2013, we’ve published an updated spring festival guide, which you can check out right here.
• Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts: The biannual Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts is a sprawling, month-long extravaganza from March 28 to April 27. The festival brings together music, dance, theater, art and lectures, culminating in an enormous fair on Avenue of the Arts on April 27. This year’s theme, If You Had a Time Machine…, sends attendees back to past and far into the future.
• Raga Samay Music Festival: 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. The festival helps to kick off the season on April 6 and 7.
• Philadelphia Book Festival: For the first time ever, the Philadelphia Book Festival will take place at every Free Library of Philadelphia location. From April 14 to 20, events keep bookworms entertained with notable author presentations at all 54 branches.
• Philadelphia Science Festival: For the third year running, the Philadelphia Science Festival will unleash 11 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. The festival runs from April 18 to 28.
• Go West! Craft Fest: In addition to selling locally made crafts and goods, the Go West! Craft Fest on Saturday, April 20, sponsored by local shop Vix Emporium and held outdoors at the Woodlands, hosts performances by local bands and Tangle Movement Arts’ tinycircus performance series.
• Penn Relays: Impressive sprinting and running comes to University City from April 25 to 27 at the annual weekend celebration. The Penn Relays, a weekend of Olympic-caliber racing, also incorporate food and vendors. The event holds the title of the oldest track meet in the country.
• Flavors of the Avenue: 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 on Saturday, April 27, visitors can sample food and drink from its myriad restaurants, bakeries and pubs, and even its new limoncello distributor.
• Fairmount Arts Crawl: Collectors, enthusiasts and artists alike gather for the Fairmount Arts Crawl when Fairmount Avenue businesses become temporary galleries with more than 70 installations on Sunday, April 28. Live arts and kids activities entertain along the way.
• Philadelphia International Children’s Festival: The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts plays host to a festival for the kids. The Philadelphia International Children’s Festival, which is now in its 29th year, offers a week of family-friendly performances, crafts and interactive events. The event is set for April 30 to May 4.
• Equality Forum: 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 from May 2 to 5.
• Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Festival: Head out to Chestnut Hill on Sunday, May 5 for a day of spring blooms, handmade home accessories, live music and lots of festival fare at the annual Home and Garden Festival. Get your home and garden ready for the summer months by shopping the special collection of items presented by a number of vendors along Germantown Avenue.
• South Street Spring Festival: 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. This year’s event on May 4 marks the first event.
• Spring Arts Star Craft Bazaar: 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 on May 11 and 12 at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing is punctuated with live music, food and art demonstrations.
• Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival: Along with the blooming rhododendrons of spring comes the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival on Saturday, May 18. The event is Walnut Street’s annual fete with food, fashion, music and art, plus a slew of activities for kids.
• Trenton Avenue Arts Festival: 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 along with food and art galore. This year’s festival is on Saturday, May 18.
• Clemente Fest: 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. The event is set for Saturday, May 18.
• Italian Market Festival: On May 18 and 19, 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 restaurants and shops, along with the Annual Procession of Saints and plenty of activities for kids.
• Philly Beer Week: The local obsession with all-things fizzy and fermented comes to all new heights during Philly Beer Week, a regional bacchanal with special dinners, tastings, pub crawls and brewery tours from May 31 to June 9. Venues across the city open their doors for tons of events during this festive week.
• Craft Beer Day: During Philly Beer Week, East Passyunk plays up its roots with a daylong Italian Festival and Craft Beer Day. The event encompasses a pub crawl with a distinctly red sauce flavor, offering samples, brewer meet-and-greets and plenty of special deals on Sunday, June 2.
• Odunde Festival: Based on Yoruba traditions, the Odunde Festival on June 9 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.
• Bloomsday: 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 on June 16.
• Manayunk Arts Festival: Billed as the largest outdoor juried art show in the region, the Manayunk Arts Festival welcomes nearly 200,000 collectors, buyers and designers to peruse fine art and handmade goods along charming Main Street on June 22 and 23.