Get your calendar ready, it's about to fill up. More than 50 festivals are slated to fill weekends and weeknights in September and October, and we're here to provide you with our top festival picks for late-summer and early-fall. (Photo credits, clockwise from top left: D. Tavani, E. Mencher, G. Widman and E. Mencher, all for GPTMC)
Summer may be winding to a close, but there certainly isn’t any shortage of alfresco festivals to fill your calendar.
September and October usher in more than 50 (!!!) festivals to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of fall, and all happenings are set to spotlight the great things that come with the season change — think pumpkin beer, Oktoberfest celebrations and temperate weather.
Over the next two months, Philadelphia and its countryside host lively events of all sort every single weekend.
Spend time with friends and family at everything from interactive performance festivals to art shows to beer festivals to block parties to food truck gatherings.
Below, we’ve organized more than 50 festivals chronologically to serve as your September and October guide.
Read on for the latest on the late-summer and early-fall festival scene.
• Philly Fringe: September 5-22. The popular Philly Live Arts and Philly Fringe 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 and entertains Philadelphia for weeks; from September 5 to 22.
• Philadelphia Honey Festival: September 6-8. The Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild presents the Philadelphia Honey Festival for all lovers of things sweet and local (a.k.a. everyone!). From September 6 through 8, the Wagner Free Institute of Science, Wyck Historic House and Garden and Bartram’s Garden open their doors to the honey connoisseurs of Philadelphia.
• Go West! Craft Fest: September 7. On September 7, the Go West! Craft Fest returns to The Woodlands in West Philadelphia. While browsing through handmade items from more than 70 vendors, festival-goers enjoy performances by jugglers, hoop dancers and acoustic musicians. Kids engage in free crafts-related activities, and hungry patrons dig into fare from local restaurants and food trucks. Rain date is September 8.
• Phoenixville Blues Festival: September 7. Numerous blues artists take the stage at the annual Phoenixville Blues Festival on September 7. The free festival keeps guests grooving all day long. Talented youth performers also steal the limelight for portions of the day. Pair the performances with fresh eats from the numerous vendors and you’re set for some late-summer fun.
• Doylestown Arts Festival: September 7-8. 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.
• WHYY Connections Festival September 7-8. On September 7 and 8, WHYY and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation present the third annual WHYY Connections Festival, a festival of free concerts and family-friendly activities at Penn’s Landing.
• Kennett Square Mushroom Festival: September 7-8. Indulge in some of the land’s freshest mushrooms at the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival on September 7 and 8. Pick up mushroom-centric souvenirs, freshly picked mushrooms and enjoy mushroom soup Masonic Lodge. The mushroom offerings over the weekend are nearly endless, click here for the full event listing.
• Longwood Gardens’ Autumn’s Colors Festival: September 7-November 24. The trees and plants of Longwood Gardens burst with autumnal glory at the annual Autumn’s Colors Festival. All season long, fall-themed family-friendly activities abound, including the garden railway, lantern celebrations and the chance to pose with a jaw-dropping 800-pound pumpkin.
• Feria del Barrio: September 8. The 29th annual Feria del Barrio returns to the El Centro de Oro section of Philadelphia on September 8. A celebration of Latin American heritage, arts and culture, this free event offers a variety of live entertainment, including art demonstrations, music, dancing and children’s games. This year’s main act is the four-time Grammy-nominated Afro-Rican band Plena Libre. The revelry also features cuisine from several Latin American countries.
• Greenfest Philly: September 8. Honor Mother Nature at Greenfest Philly located in Headhouse Square, between Pine and South streets on 2nd street. On September 8, visit booths to learn how to preserve the earth, while enjoying bites from some of Philly’s favorite food trucks — Sum Pig Food Truck and Little Baby’s Ice Cream to name a few.
• Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll: September 12. The super popular Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll returns for 2013 on September 12 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. From 42nd Street to 50th Street on Baltimore Avenue, area vendors provide discounted items from their shops for just one dollar. Can you say Little Baby’s scoops for $1 and $1 seven-ounce glasses of Dock Street brews? We can.
• Feastival: September 12. Feastival, the epic foodie festival, returns for 2013 with more than 75 of the city’s finest chefs — think fare from Morimoto, Pizzeria Vetri, Zahav, Parc and many more, offering up a variety of tasty eats to attendees. The event raises money for the FringrArts and the Fringe Festival.
• Rally for the Rail Park: September 14. Raise money in the best way possible on Saturday, September 14, by noshing, drinking and viewing live art installations at a block party to raise money for Reading Viaduct Rail Park, an upcoming elevated public green space for all to enjoy. The block party raises money for phase one of the project which is set to start in 2014. Stop by between 5 and 7:30 p.m. for a pig roast, fare from some of the city’s favorite food trucks, beer from Yards Brewery and performances curated by FringeArts.
Stroll through the Gayborhood for the annual Outfest, a block party celebration of National Coming Out Day. (Photo by G. Widman for GPTMC)
• Longwood Gardens’ Fireworks and Fountains: September 14. The last Fireworks and Fountains event of the season brings the popular tunes of Elton John to the forefront and a spectacular fireworks show high above the gardens. The show begins at 8:15 p.m., and tickets are available online.
• Shady Brook Farms PumpkinFest: September 14-15; 21-22; daily September 28-October 31. Get in the fall spirit at Shadybrook Farm’s PumpkinFest, more than a month of family-friendly pumpkin picking, hayrides, games, hands-on activities and much more.
• Uhuru Flea Market: September 14. The Uhuru Flea Market brings a variety of home goods, antiques, clothing, jewelry, records, food and arts and crafts to Clark Park for its annual shopping extravaganza. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. stock up on a wide spectrum of goods to benefit the African People’s Education and Defense Fund.
• Mexican Independence Day Festival: September 15. The sights, sounds and tastes of Mexico take over the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing during the Mexican Independence Day Festival on September 15. This free celebration features arts and crafts, Mexican rock bands, face painting, Mexican food, dancing and more.
• Global Philly 2013: September 15-November 12. From September 15 to November 12, Global Philly 2013 aims to shine the light on Greater Philadelphia’s global influences and strengths through a series of more than 55 events held throughout the City of Philadelphia and the surrounding region. Look for internationally themed affairs spanning arts and education to sports and dining.
• The Philadelphia Collection: September 18-25. Fashion-forward Philadelphians, take note. The style-centric Philadelphia Collection returns this year from September 18 to 25 with a number of fashionable events throughout the city. Put on your finest attire and head out for a week full of fashion shows, trunk shows, lectures, panel discussion, movies and more.
More late-summer and early-fall festivals, below.
• Mt. Airy Street Fare: September 19. Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy turns into a hub for mobile fare on September 19 in celebration of its first Street Fare, an evening of more than 40 food vendors, live music, shopping, craft beer and family-fun.
• Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show: September 20-22. From September 20 to 22, more than 100 artists set up shop at Rittenhouse Square for its annual fall Fine Art Show. The historic festival dates back to 1932 when art students displayed their work from trees throughout the park. The festival now features artwork by local art students as well as professional artists.
• Frankford Hall Oktoberfest: September 21. From noon to 10 p.m., the annual Frankford Hall Oktoberfest block party closes Frankford Avenue from Girard Avenue to Shackamaxon street. Stroll the street for multiple beer tents, food trucks, carnival games, kid-friendly activities, live German pop music and a ceremonial keg tapping.
• Brauhaus Schmitz Oktoberfest: September 21. The block of South Street in front of Brauhaus Schmitz shuts down in celebration of its epic Oktoberfest celebration. German beer, a pig roast and live music are the themes of the day. Beyond the block party, Brauhaus Schmitz hosts specials, games and giveaways from September 16 to 26.
• MGK Brew Blast: September 21. Board the Battleship New Jersey for the 3rd annual MGK Brew Blast featuring more than 50 craft beers, tours of the historic ship and live rock music. The festival is presented by the classic rock station WMGK. Tickets are $45 a piece and are available online.
• PHS Fall Garden Festival: September 21. On September 21, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society presents its annual PHS Fall Garden Festival. From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., an assortment of activities take place on the parade grounds of the Navy Yard, including a marketplace selling local produce, plants, home decor and gardening tools; a PHS Kids Zone, where youngsters can participate in games, activities and crafts; a “Garden Giants” demonstration, where growers show off their oversized tomatoes, pumpkins and other gigantic goodies for a panel of judges; and bus tours of the revamped Navy Yard.
• The German Society of Pennsylvania’s Oktoberfest: September 21. The German Society of Pennsylvania presents a day full of traditional German food, drinks and fun at its annual Oktoberfest celebration — think a traditional pig roast, bratwurst, music and lots of German beer. Tickets are available online.
• Newtown BeerFest: September 21. Breweries from all over the country are heading for Newtown this September for its annual BeerFest, a day full of craft beer sampling and live music. From 12:30 to 5:30 p.m., taste and learn about a wide variety of brews.
• Clark Park Music and Arts Festival: September 21. From noon to sundown, the Clark Park Music and Arts festival brings local musicians to the stage for free performances all day long. Children are invited to create crafts at stations throughout the park, and adults are encouraged to browse fine goods from local artists and vendors.
• Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival: September 21. Kicking off Manayunk Restaurant Week, the Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival on September 21 is a foodie’s dream, featuring food trucks, gourmet food vendors and specials at Main Street’s restaurants. Between bites, attendees enjoy live music and sidewalk sales.
• Riverfront Ramble: September 21. Roughly 12,000 people are expected at this year’s Riverfront Ramble in Chester, making it the largest riverfront festival in Delaware County. On September 21, the Wharf at Rivertown on the Chester Waterfront features an antique car show, live performances, an Iron Chef competition, fitness instruction, a science fair, food and craft vendors, a petting zoo and spectacular fireworks over the Delaware River.
• Peddler’s Village Scarecrow Festival: September 21-22. During the Peddler’s Village Scarecrow Festival, taking place September 21 to 22, visitors can view more than 100 amazing scarecrow creations and take part in scarecrow-making workshops, pumpkin pie-eating contests, pumpkin painting and live music.
• Jenkintown Festival of the Arts: September 22. 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.
• Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival: September 27-29. Celebrate the best of independent film and animation at Project Twenty1’s annual Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival. The festival is set to take place largely at International House Philadelphia, but a few other venues are also hosting events. The weekend-long fest spotlights film screenings from all over the world and offers industry-related workshops, after party celebrations and even a red carpet awards show.
• 40th Street Summer Series: September 28. The final evening of the well-loved summer events, the 40th Street Summer Series, falls on Saturday, September 28 and the Millennial Territory Orchestra takes the stage for a roaring performance. The Grammy-nominated Steven Bernstein leads an ensemble of 12 through a performance of hit songs by Sly and The Family Stone.
• FoCA and SOSNA’s 50/50 Block Party: September 28. The South of South Neighbors Association and the Friends of Chester Arthur Elementary School present a Graduate Hospital style block party on Saturday, September 28. From 3 to 7 p.m., head to the 20th block of Catharine Street for tasty pickings from a fleet of food trucks, a variety of homemade baked goods and beer.
• Pour The Core: September 28. The Navy Yard celebrates apple’s prime season with a festival devoted to one of its finest fruits: hard cider. The Pour the Core festival brings together local and international ciders in an afternoon fete on Marine Parade Grounds. Sample more than 30 hard apple (and pear) ciders, dance to live music and listen to discussions led by cider experts. This is a 21 plus and ticketed event. Tickets are available online.
• Slyfox Can Jam: September 28. Can Jam celebrates all things local craft beer, with live music, deliciously crisp canned beer, BBQ and more. The all day event takes place at the Slyfox Brewing Company in Pottstown.
• Campus Philly College Day: September 28. College students flock to the art museum steps for food, live music, free goods and more at Campus Philly’s College Day. Students are encouraged to bring their college i.d.’s for free admission to a number of Philadelphia museums such as Eastern State Penitentiary, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and more.
• Asian Art Initiative’s Pearl Street Block Party: September 28. Celebrate Philly’s culture and art community at the first-ever Pearl Street Block Party presented by the Asian Art Initiative on September 28. Beginning at 2 p.m., live performances and interactive artwork displays from the Mural Arts Program, Asian Arts Initiative, Fleisher Art Memorial and more will fill the space. At 5 p.m., enjoy a community feast at the outdoor block party.
The Kennett Square Mushroom Festival brings a variety of mushroom-centric fun to the countryside town for an epic weekend long celebration. (Photo by G. Widman for GPTMC)
• New Hope Arts & Crafts Festival: September 28-29. The New Hope Arts & Crafts Festival highlights the work of more than 200 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 their works on display in booths lining Union Square. In addition to art, festival fare also satisfies guests.
• Brandywine Valley Harvest Festival: September 28-29, October 5-6. The 11th annual Brandywine Valley Harvest Festival returns for multiple days of live music, wine tastings, food truck bites and games at a number of participating wineries along the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail. The full schedule of events and locations is available here.
• Downingtown FallFest: September 29. The fourth-annual Downingtown FallFest welcomes more than 5,000 guests on September 29 for a day filled with festive events, including live music, food vendors, craft activities and displays from local businesses. And, of course, since Victory Brewing Company presents this festival, guests can expect a stellar beer garden with delicious brews and bites.
• Vendemmia Wine Festival: September 29. The Vendemmia Wine Festival aims to capture the spirit of traditional Italy through a friendly wine competition (of amateurs and professionals) at Girard Park in South Philadelphia. The festival highlights both red and white homemade wine along with live music to contribute to the merriment.
• Chinatown Night Market: October 3. Crowds are drawn to one of the city’s most popular food truck events, the Night Market. Top-of-the-line food vendors make their way to Chinatown for the seasonal event on October 3. Indulge in a variety of eats (everything from Thai to tacos to gourmet cheese curds) and imbibe local brews and cocktails from area distributors.
• Revolutionary Germantown Festival: October 5. 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.
• RiverCity Festival: October 5. Showcasing the best of Fishtown, the annual RiverCity Festival returns to historic Penn Treaty Park on October 5. Activities like moon bounces and magic shows delight young revelers, while adults engage in grown-up amusement, including the RiverCity Fun Run and the on-site beer garden.
• PumpkinFest at Franklin Square: October 5. Franklin Square is all about fall fun during the third annual PumpkinFest on October 5. The event helps raise funds to maintain the park, which is one of Philadelphia’s most picturesque settings. Guests of all ages partake in festivities such as a costume parade, pumpkin painting, pony rides, spooky mini-golf, carnival games, cupcake decorating and more. Plus, admission includes unlimited rides on the historic Philadelphia Park Liberty Carousel.
• Phoenixville Food Festival: October 5. For the first time ever, the Phoenixville Food Festival brings together some of the area’s best food trucks for a day-long festival. From noon to 6 p.m., sample fare from a variety of sweet and savory trucks and shop items from an array of art vendors. The festival comes right before restaurant week in the Chester County town, which runs from October 6 through October 10.
• The Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival: October 5. Culture meets athletic ability during the Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival, one of the largest festivals of its kind in North America. Throughout the day on October 5, more than 140 teams — totaling roughly 5,000 paddlers of all ages, abilities and ethnicities — take to the Schuylkill River in boats whose elaborate design originated in ancient China.
• Morris Arboretum Fall Festival: October 5-6. Morris Arboretum presents its annual Fall Festival, on October 5 and 6, set amidst 92 acres of exquisite plant life and horticultural displays. This year’s family-friendly activities include scarecrow making, pumpkin painting and apple tasting. Also, from October 5-20, visitors can view 30 designer scarecrows along Scarecrow Walk.
• Midtown Village Fall Festival: October 6. The Midtown Village fall festival, the popular eight-block outdoor party is back. Indulge in food samples from Midtown Village restaurants, sidewalk sales, handmade items from artisans and crafters. An assortment of pumpkin brews take the stage at this neighborhood-wide event along with alfresco beer garden tents. Food from some of the most-loved Midtown Village restaurants move outside for some tasty street fare, and shops offer storewide discounts to festival goers.
• Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival: October 6. Chestnut Hill transforms into an outdoor arts and crafts marketplace during the Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival on October 6. More than 150 talented artists from throughout the country display and sell their creations in media ranging from watercolor paintings to jewelry. Live entertainment, children’s rides and alfresco dining round out the excitement during this free event. The rain date is October 13.
• Old City Seaport Festival: October 11-13. Guests can embrace Philly’s maritime culture at the second annual Old City Seaport Festival, kicking off on October 11 with a majestic sunset Parade of Boats. On October 12-13, visitors head to Penn’s Landing for a crafter’s village, deck tours of the Tall Ships, food trucks, a moon bounce, face painting and an outdoor beer garden. Throughout the weekend, guests can expect fun encounters with roaming, costumed pirates and their live parrots.
• Reading Terminal Market Harvest Festival: October 12. Reading Terminal Market is undoubtedly one of the best places to savor the bounty of fall, and on October 12, visitors are invited to do just that during the Harvest Festival. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a portion of Filbert Street is closed to traffic and transformed into an urban farm, complete with hay bales and corn stalks. Kids and adults walk through an on-site pumpkin patch, ride an authentic farm tractor and enjoy freshly prepared donuts, candy apples and other seasonal goodies.
• Hawthornes’ Ales for Tails Block Party: October 12. Rain or shine, Hawthornes’ Ales for Tails block party prevails on Saturday, October 12. Beginning at 2 p.m., the street-closing festival promises guests a solid selection of awesome brews all while raising money for PAWS. Take your pick of 35 beers ringing in at $5 a piece — everything from ciders to lagers to seasonal pumpkin brews. Pair your drinks with a variety of street food at the all-day fest and dance to live music all along the festival. Also, keep in mind, this is a cash only event.
• Before the Bridge Music Festival: October 12. The Before the Bridge music festival spotlights independent artists from all over the country in a full day of live music in Collingswood, NJ.
• OutFest: October 13. All throughout the Gayborhood on October 13, folks gather for Outfest, a National Coming Out Day Festival that brings a GLBT embracing block party to the streets. Guests enjoy contests, games, shopping, live music, bar specials and lots and lots of dancing.
• DesignPhiladelphia Festival: October 10-18. From October 10 to 18, the ninth annual DesignPhiladelphia Festival, a signature program of the Philadelphia Center for Architecture, shines a spotlight on the vibrant creative community across the region. This year’s theme, EXPERIENCEdesign!, focuses on the experiential and emotional aspects of design by engaging festival goers’ five senses. More than 120 events are held in a variety of locales across the city, including boutiques, museums, warehouses and public spaces.
• Philadelphia Film Festival: October 17-27. Returning for its 22nd year from October 17 through 27, the Philadelphia Film Festival, presented by the Philadelphia Film Society, celebrates the art of cinema with more than 100 films from around the world. The festival also includes industry panels, post-screening Q&As and special events with filmmakers at venues across the region.
• Family Moon-viewing Weekend at the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden: October 18-20. Celebrate the harvest moon and give thanks for a good harvest during the Family Moon-viewing Weekend at the Japanese House at the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden from October 18 through 20. Events and activities include a moon-viewing tea ceremony, a moon-viewing party, a sweets-making class, a traditional Japanese choral performance and storytelling.
• Harry Potter Festival: October 18-19. For two magical days, Chestnut Hill transforms into Hogsmeade, the fictional town made famous in the Harry Potter series, for Harry Potter Festival. On October 18, an opening ceremony and pub crawl kick off the festivities. On October 19, spectators can catch the collegiate Quidditch tournament at Chestnut Hill College. Plus, throughout the weekend, restaurants and shops all over town participate in Harry Potter-themed fun.
• Blocktoberfest: October 19. Mark your calendars, Graduate Hospital’s Blocktoberfest fills South Street from Broad to 18th Streets on October 19. Local vendors set up shop with beer, eats and giveaways to entertain the masses. The festival also welcomes a solid lineup of food trucks for the day-long event.