Philadelphia’s phenomenal festival season reaches its first big crescendo this Saturday, May 2 with more than a dozen huge festivals and events taking place in and around the City of Brotherly Love.
One of the three blockbuster festivals taking place this Saturday, the South Street Spring Festival returns for its third year to celebrate the neighborhood’s awesome array of attractions, dining, shopping and so much more.
More than 150 vendors (!!!) will set up shop alfresco for the day, while live music from 40 bands plays throughout the event and fine food and drink flows liberally, with more than 30 Philly eateries dishing festival-appropriate fare.
Check out our guide to the South Street Spring Festival, below.
From 11 a.m. until 8 p.m., the South Street Headhouse District will overflow with festivities on South Street between Front and 8th streets, and continue on the 2nd Street Plaza between South and Lombard streets, including the historic Headhouse Shambles.
An enormous street party, South Street will be closed to vehicular traffic all day, giving festivalgoers the opportunity to stroll the streets and sidewalks and check out the numerous local businesses on and just off of South Street, including vendors from Queen Village and Bella Vista.
The festival is bookended with awesome parties at either end of the footprint: At 8th Street, the Brauhaus Schmitz Maifest puts on a German-style beer garden party — complete with a soaring maypole! — and at Front Street a huge lawn concert and kids’ zone rules.
Along with 40 acts on three stages and seven other performance locations, more than 150 vendors will be set up for all of your food, arts, crafts and family-friendly fun. Plus, more than two dozen artists will be on hand to entertain and amaze. Whoa.
Plus, folks should look for the South Street Salutes vendors, participants that pay tribute to military, police, firefighters and non-profits, as well as the 4-D interactive experience Insidious: Chapter 3, an immersive preview of the coming-soon scary movie.
Tens of thousands of attendees are expected at this fest, just in its third year, so be prepared for crowds.
For the complete festival map, see below. For the complete lineup of vendors and entertainment, check right here.
For food and drink options, entertainment and more, see below.
The Food & Drink
Of course, fine food and drink will flow liberally, with some of the area’s top establishments dishing festive fare along South Street.
More than 30 restaurants, bars and cafes will be on hand to serve up a taste of the wide variety of food, brews and cocktails available in the neighborhood. All food is available on a pay-as-you-go basis.
South Street staples like Bridget Foy’s, Bistro Romano, Las Bugambilias, Copabanana and Woolly Mammoth are in the lineup, right alongside eateries like Supper and The Twisted Tail.
Plus, food-and-drink lovers should look for new additions to the 2015 festival like Tuk Tuk Real, Circles, Lil’ Pop Shop, Mom-Mom’s Polish Food Cart and Rita’s Water Ice.
The fest will include everything from free samples to grab-and-go street food, and pricing on food and drink will vary by vendor.
Plus, don’t miss the outdoor grilling action at Brauhaus Schmitz for its German-style Maifest. The always-ample spread of food will include roast pork and sausage sandwiches, hickory-smoked bauernwurst, and roast pork and sausage platters.
We recommend bringing cash for easy transactions. Oh, and come hungry!
Brauhaus Schmitz Maifest
For a festival within a festival, head to Brauhaus Schmitz Maifest on the 700 block of South Street.
Complementing the South Street Spring Festival, Brauhaus Schmitz hosts its third-annual Maifest, a full day of drinking, eating, dancing around a towering maypole and additional German-themed merriment like stein-holding and traditional dancing.
All of the alfresco Maifest fun is open to the general public, but a select number of VIP tickets are available online for $100. VIP tickets include complimentary appetizers, beer tickets, a commemorative beer stein, access to private bathrooms, a VIP room and more.
The Music & Entertainment
With nearly a dozen spots to catch live entertainment within the fest from 11 a.m. all the way until 8 p.m., South Street will be filled with tunes and cheers all day.
Three main stages and seven other performance areas will offer up a wide variety of music — from jazz and soul to bluegrass and indie rock, as well as traditional German tunes.
At 5th and South and 2nd and South the festival stages will feature a full day of music showcasing popular local acts. An additional stage in the 700 block of South Street at Brauhaus’ Maifest hosts German-themed tunes, and seven addition pop-up performance areas throughout the festival ensure attendees will always stroll to the beat of live music.
Plus, ART/GAGE by Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens will be at the fest with various hands-on art experiences scattered throughout the eight block area. Since 2007, the ART/GAGE initiative has offered interactive experiences outside of the museum and classroom, and these arts experiences provide cool and artsy moments amid the street vendors and live music.
Beyond the food, music and performing arts, there will be more than 100 artists, crafters, local boutiques and businesses to supply arts and retail therapy.
Neighborhood merchants from South Street, Headhouse, Fabric Row and more will offer day-of specials and other promotions, so be on the look out. Plus, dozens of local artists and makers will be on hand with handmade jewelry, works on paper and so much more. Seriously, be prepared to shop.
Additional entertainment will take place in the Kids Zone in the 200 block of South Street, near the Lawn Concert area. Family-friendly activities will include chalk art, kids’ music, magic and programming from the likes of Metro Kid’s Club, Nest Philly, Philadelphia Police Bike Safety Program, Rios Investments, School of Rock and South Street Magic.
Throughout the fest, other family-friendly entertainment will be available, too, including giveaways and character appearances in conjunction with Free Comic Book Day.
Getting There & Staying Over
There are more than a dozen big events occurring on Saturday, May 2 — so while driving is an option (there are parking lots or garages at 516 South Street, 419 Bainbridge Street and more) — we highly recommend that festivalgoers arrive on foot, by bike (try Indego!) or by public transportation via SEPTA.
Or, you could just make a weekend out of the festival and stay overnight in Philadelphia. Check out Visitphilly.com for deals on hotel stays and the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package.
See you on South Street!