Our Guide To The Fantastically Funky Trenton Avenue Arts Festival And Kinetic Sculpture Derby Taking Over Kensington This Saturday, May 18

Who’s ready for another weekend jam-packed with festival fun?

The terrific Trenton Avenue Arts Festival and supercool Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby roll into Kensington and Fishtown this Saturday, May 18, noon to 5 p.m..

Lining the historic cobblestone Trenton Avenue, the arts festival spotlights the area’s diverse artist communities, and includes more than 200 local artists, crafters and food vendors.

More than 10,000 attendees are expected to join in the fun, with funds raised going towards neighborhood projects and revitalization.

Complementing the arts festival, the playful Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby takes art and design on parade.

Both a design competition and a fantastical pageant of human-powered vehicle floats, the quirky tournament seeks to award the most creative human-powered vehicles, and entertain crowds with hilarious costumes and float themes.

Plus, be sure to stop by the Visit Philly booth, located on Trenton Avenue between Berges and Norris streets, and take a seat in an artful photo booth. Folks will be able to share creations with friends on Facebook and Twitter right from the tent and get a free print to take home.

And if you’re taking your own photos on Instagram, be sure to use the #TrentonAveArts and #KKSD hashtags!

Read on for our complete guide to the day’s funky festivities. See you there!

The Layout

The Festival spans approximately six total blocks, four along Trenton Avenue — between Norris Street and Frankford Avenue — and another two along Susquehanna, crisscrossing Trenton — from Martha Street to Frankford Avenue. See map below.

The Food

Come hungry to taste-test a veritable smorgasbord of fare from 17 local food trucks and vendors.

The lineup of trucks to be onsite includes The Cheesesteak Guy, The Dapper Dog, Farm Truck Philly, Innovative Catering, KAMI, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Made In the Shade LeMoNaDe, Mucho Bueno, Old City Coffee, Primo Pizza, Surf and Turf Truck, Taco Mondo, Vernalicious, Vittles, Whipped Bake Shop and Yumtown USA.

All of the eats will be conveniently grouped together on Trenton Avenue, surrounding picnic tables near the intersection of Dauphin and Blair streets. (See full food vendor map below.)

The Arts Festival takes over Trenton Avenue from Norris Street to Frankford Avenue. (Photo by R. Kennedy for GPTMC)

The Artisans

The Fishtown and East Kensington neighborhoods contain an incredible mix of local artists. Don’t miss the handmade goods and wares on view and for sale during the festival, nor the tunes by DJ Snakpak (Holly Sue Allen), who will be there spinning vinyl.

Among the more than 200 vendors, look for ceramic and stone mosaic tiles by Laura Lyn Stern; vintage ceramic china, stained glass jewelry and embellished children’s clothing by As The Crow Flies; organic bath, body and home goods by Earthwise Naturals; custom metal furniture and jewelry by Lightfest Design and Build; custom jewelry by Emily Chelsea Jewelry; ceramics by Beidler Pottery; custom photography by Saint in the City and so much more!

The Kinetic Sculpture Derby

Kicking off the whole shebang at noon on Trenton Avenue and Norris Street, a fantastical design competition and derby of human-powered floats moves along Frankford Avenue and Girard Avenue until 4 p.m.

The Kinetic Sculpture Derby parades mobile sculptures along a three-mile urban obstacle course through the Kensington and Fishtown neighborhoods (see the complete route map below), finishing with a chance for both judges and the public to vote on their favorite floats.

The juried derby has seven awards: the Uwishunu.com Judge’s Choice Award, The Momentum Mag Best Engineering Award, The Philadelphia Brewing Co. Best Art Award, The Kathryn Doherty-Chapman (our founder) Best Costume Award, The Philly in Focus People’s Choice Award, The Bob Phillips Best 1 or 2 Person Entry and The Philadelphia Sculpture Gym Best Breakdown Award.

Prizes are announced and awarded to each winner — after they cross the mud pit finish line, naturally — at an awards ceremony slated for 3:30 p.m.

The Post-Festival TAAFterdark

The derby and festival may conclude at 5 p.m., but stick around for the official afterparty of the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival, TAAFterdark.

To celebrate its grand opening, new neighborhood record store RecordLady will serve as the jumping off point for a TAAFterdark art crawl. Stop at RecordLady for live music by Upholstery and Evan Cory Levine & Friends and free beer from Philadelphia Brewing Company from 6 to 9 p.m.

Then, head out to explore the rest of the district and events at Walking Fish Theatre, Atlantis, Kung Fu Necktie, The Barbary and other neighborhood spots.

Getting There

Arriving at the festival is a cinch via public transportation. The festival is just five blocks from the Berks stop on the Market Frankford Line. Also, there is plenty of street parking in the area — look to Trenton Avenue North of Frankford and York Street.

Want to keep exploring? Check out Visit Philly’s Philadelphia Neighborhoods guide for even more on the neighborhood.

The Trenton Avenue Arts Festival and Kinetic Sculpture Derby brings funky arts and dynamic moving sculpture to Fishtown and Kensington this Saturday, May 18. (Photo by M. Kennedy for GPTMC)

For the complete Sculpture Derby route map, see below.

Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby
When: Saturday, May 18, noon
Where: Trenton Avenue and Norris Street
Cost: Free
More info: www.kinetickensington.org

Trenton Avenue Arts Festival
When: Saturday, May 18, noon-5 p.m.
Where: Trenton and E. Susquehanna avenues
Cost: Pay as you go
More info: www.trentonaveartsfest.org

The Food – Here’s a look at where to find the delicious food vendors at Saturday’s festival:


Kinetic Sculpture Derby Route Map:



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