Our Guide To The Awesomely Funky Trenton Avenue Arts Festival And Kinetic Sculpture Derby Taking Over Kensington This Saturday, May 17

Saturday, May 17, the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival and Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby return to Fishtown with one-of-a-kind shopping, human-powered vehicle floats and tons of family-friendly programming to boot. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

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 17.

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

From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival raises a hat to the maker community in East Kensington with a blowout fair filled with one-of-a-kind items and a variety of street eats from food trucks and area 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 from noon to 5 p.m. 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.

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.

The Food

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

The lineup of trucks to be onsite includes The Cheesesteak Guy, Chewy’s, Foo Truck, Jeremiah’s Jersey Corn Roast, Just Jackie’s Food Truck, KAMI, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Mucho Bueno, Prime Stache, Primo Pizza, The Real Latin Flavor, Smokin Tacos Food Truck, Sum Pig Food Truck, Surf and Turf Truck, Sweet Box Cupcakes, and Taco Mondo.

Plus, look for fresh produce from Greensgrow Farms and local craft brews from Philadelphia Brewing Co.

For the complete menu of what each of these awesome 16 vendors will be dishing up, check here.

All of the eats will be conveniently grouped together on Trenton Avenue, surrounding picnic tables near the intersection of Dauphin and Blair streets.

The Trenton Avenue Arts Festival and Kensington Kenetic Sculpture Derby rolls into town this Saturday, May 17 with a day chock-full of arts, games, food and so much more. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

For more on the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival and Kensington Kenetic Sculpture Derby, see below.

The Artisans & Music

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 a half dozen local acts.

Among the more than 200 vendors, look for vintage decor, handmade jewelry, children’s clothing, organic bath, body and home goods, ceramics, custom photography, screen-printed t-shirts 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 5 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 mud pit — and a chance for both judges and the public to vote on their favorite floats.

The juried derby has seven awards: Judge’s Choice Award, Best Engineering Award, Best Art Award, Best Costume Award, People’s Choice Award, Best 1 or 2 Person Entry and 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 4:30 p.m.

The Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby embraces friendly competition with a human-powered vehicle race along throughout the North Philly neighborhood. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

The Post-Festival Bottle Bar After Party

The derby and festival may conclude at 6 p.m., but stick around for the official after party of the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival at Bottle Bar East from 7 to 11 p.m..

A percentage of bar and food sales will benefit Rock to the Future, and folks will keep rocking to live music from Leaf Prints, The Cats and DJ TRPRKPR.

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.

For the complete Sculpture Derby route map, see below.

Trenton Avenue Arts Festival
When: Saturday, May 17, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Trenton Avenue and E. Susquehanna Avenue
Cost: Free
More info: www.trentonaveartsfest.org

Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby
When: Saturday, May 17, noon-5 p.m.
Where: Trenton Avenue and Norris Street
Cost: Free
More info: www.kinetickensington.org

The Trenton Avenue Arts Festival and Kinetic Sculpture Derby brings funky arts and dynamic moving sculpture to Fishtown and Kensington this Saturday, May 17. (Photo by M. Kennedy for GPTMC)

Kinetic Sculpture Derby Route Map:


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