Parkway 100 “We are Connected” Festival along the Ben Franklin Parkway; 4–10pm; free
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the City of Philadelphia is hosting a year-and-a-half-long itinerary of events that range from public art installations to book readings to the colorful Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies event. It all starts on Friday with a kickoff party that runs from 4 to 10pm. Stroll along the grand thoroughfare to find tons of family-friendly activities on the street and extended hours and free or pay-what-you-wish admission at the museum’s lining the boulevard. Check here for the full schedule of Parkway events happening now through late next year. Find out a little more about the history of the Parkway 100 celebrations here.
Oktoberfest at McGillin’s Olde Ale House; all day from 11am; pay as you go
Philly’s oldest continuously operating tavern is home to one of the city’s longest Oktoberfest celebrations. For more than a month taps are taken over with seasonal beers from Sly Fox, Lancaster Brewing and Stoudt’s along with a slew of pumpkin brews. Also be sure to try the special pour that was made through a collaboration between McGillin’s and Fordham & Dominion Brewing Company.
Independence After Hours at the Museum of the American Revolution; 5:30pm; $50–$85
Mingle with founding fathers at an after-hours soiree! On select nights throughout the year, Historic Philadelphia hosts this walking tour of Old City sites after the lights go down. The tour begins at the Museum of the American Revolution before heading to City Tavern, where you eat a three-course meal served to you by folks dressed in Colonial garb. Then you’re whisked away on the walking tour that comprises eight city blocks within Independence National Historical Park. The apex of the evening is a stop at Independence Hall where you’ll find Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and others in a heated debate about the Declaration of Independence. It’s a surreal step-back-in-time experience that’s uniquely Philly.
…strand… at Grays Ferry Crescent Trail Park; 5:30pm; $35–$75
Brian Sanders JUNK takes its 2017 Fringe Festival offering to Grays Ferry Crescent Trail Park, a serene, disconnected portion of the Schuylkill Trail. The show is actually four shows in one: Attendees choose which experience they want to take: the bare-bones Rugged Primal, which includes more of a walking tour; an apocalyptic-themed excursion called Nuclear Romance; “courly romp” Medieval Revelry; or Future Fancy Ultimate, a more stationary performance that includes a picnic dinner. At the end of each performance, the audience converges in an open field in the center of the park at sunset for a dazzling grand finale that incorporates JUNK’s signature acrobatic moves, song and a lot of rolling around gracefully in the grass.
Art of the Heel at William Way Community Center; 7:30pm; $20
Drag songstress Cookie Diorio returns to the Fringe Festival with a trio of cabaret performances benefiting local LGBTQ-serving nonprofits such as Women in Transition and Valley Youth House. Art of the Heel finds the powerhouse vocalist slipping into a pair of six-and-half-inch sequined platforms for an evening of songs that run the gamut from gospel and opera to pop and protest music. She is joined by a different musical guest at each performance, including blues band Stevie and the Bluescasters and operatic baritone Garrett Obrycki.
Red Velvet at St. Stephen’s Theater; 8pm; $26
Art imitates life in Lantern Theater’s production of Lolita Chakrabarti’s true-to-life play, which enjoys its Philadelphia premiere this fall. Set in London circa 1833, a place and time of heated anti-abolition protests, the story dramatizes the experience of Ira Aldridge, the first African-American actor to play Othello.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at Walnut Street Theatre; 8pm; $20–$97
Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award–winning Best Musical comes to Philadelphia, complete with irreverent comedy, toe-tapping music and a captivating story. It follows Pseudolus, a slave who tries to court a beautiful woman on behalf of his master in order to earn his freedom.
Which Reminds Me at Act II Playhouse; 8pm; $36
Tony Braithwaite, the bespectacled jokester whom City Paper once dubbed “Philadelphia’s funniest man ever,” is back with a new one-man show that combines song, storytelling and stand-up comedy to recount his life and adventures in the theater. He shares it all—from mishaps and triumphs to a few hilarious letters he’s received from fans.
Kink Haüs at the Latvian Society; 9pm; $35
In his latest, choreographer Gunnar Montana takes us into the belly of an underground nightclub in Berlin where “no fucks are given and fierceness is always welcome.” He says the work—characterized by dramatic, gender-bending dance performances, outlandish costumes and maybe a well-toned butt cheek or two—is autobiographical, as it explores his recent commitment to sobriety and tackles what it means to be young and gay today.
Pumpkinland at Linvilla Orchards; 8am; free
Media’s Linvilla Orchards kicks off its annual autumn celebration, Pumpkinland, which has farm activities out the wazoo. There are two mazes—one made of hay bales, the other corn—a barnyard full of animals that kids can pet and feed, and 100 tons of pumpkins on display. For the ultimate country-living experience, hop on an evening hayride around the 300-acre farm; it ends at a campfire with s’mores and apple cider.
Doylestown Arts Festival in Downtown Doylestown; 10am; free
Just a quick trip from the city, this annual festival is two full days of block-party action on the quaint, historic streets of downtown Doylestown. Now in its 26th year, the festival is first and foremost a spotlight on local artists—160 to be exact—and an expansive collection of handmade goods ranging from art and sculpture to figurines and furniture. Live music from five stages provides a soundtrack to shopping time.
Kennett Square Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square; 10am; free
Kennett Square, a.k.a. “The Mushroom Capital of the World,” celebrates all things fungus-related at this two-day festival in the town that produces 65 percent of mushrooms grown in the States. The 32nd annual event takes up a whole mile of street space with parades, culinary events, kids’ entertainment, live music and 250 vendor booths where you can buy, taste and marvel at all the ’shrooms.
With Love: Super Adoption Day at the Piazza; 11:30am; free
Philadelphia’s longest-running pet adoption festival returns for its eighth go-round in Northern Liberties. Pet lovers can swing by to meet with dozens of local animal rescues—and possibly adopt a new four-legged friend—and shop vendor booths manned by pet boutiques such as Natalie’s Pet Designs, Philly Pupcake and more.
Aesop’s Fables at Sedgwick Theater; noon; $40
As part of its new family series, Quintessence Theatre Group dives into Aesop’s fables, sticking to its commitment to revive epic works of classic literature and drama for the modern stage. The ancient Greek tales are riddled with morality lessons, so bring that naughty youngun who may need some brushing up on the rules of right and wrong.
Philly Naked Bike Ride at TBA; 5pm; free
Philadelphia’s least-modest pedalers take it all off once again for this annual nude bike trek around the city. Besides providing a balls-out good time for bikers and ogling spectators, the ride promotes clean-air transportation initiatives, rights for cyclists and body positivity. Strip down and join in. The starting location will be announced 24 hours before the bike ride via Philly Naked Bike Ride’s Twitter page .
Mount Eerie at Union Transfer; 7:30pm; $17
The latest record by Mount Eerie will break your heart. There’s no getting around it. Phil Elverum wrote and recorded A Crow Looked At Me in the room where his wife Genevieve, just a year and a half after giving birth to their only child, died from pancreatic cancer. I say died, not passed away, because Elverum does not seek out metaphors for loss. He discusses it plainly, bluntly, with minimal musical accompaniment. “Death is real / someone’s there and then they’re not / it’s not for making into art…” That’s how it starts, and while things do get more personal, he sounds no less shell-shocked as this amazing, devastating album unspools.
Billy Joel at Citizens Bank Park; 8pm; $54–$1,279
Philly music fans are so thrilled for Billy Joel to perform at Citizens Bank Park for the fourth year in a row that Mayor Jim Kenney declared the show date Billy Joel Day. Fans can expect to hear classics like “Uptown Girl,” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire” at this banner performance.
Greenfest Philly in Queen Village; 10am; free
The largest environmental festival in the Philadelphia region hits Queen Village mid-September with 150-plus exhibitors and vendors showcasing the latest in green everything-you-can-imagine. Learn to live more sustainably as you browse booths of local-made green wares, attend ecocentric demonstrations and chow down on food from some of the area’s most environmentally responsible farms and food and drink purveyors. Live music and a host of family-friendly activities add to the festival atmosphere.
Mexican Independence Day Festival at Penn’s Landing; 2pm; free
Penn’s Landing throws a colorful bash to celebrate Mexican Independence Day, with South of the Border rock bands, vendor booths selling traditional arts and crafts and food stands cranking out Mexican favorites.
To My Unborn Child: A Love Letter from Fred Hampton at the Ethical Society; 4pm; $20
Iron Age Theatre Company’s latest—a world premiere by Rich Bradford—centers around Fred Hampton, a Black Panther and founder of the Rainbow Coalition who was murdered by Chicago police at age 21. A one-man show, the work examines Hampton’s compassionate approach to revolution and how he hoped to tackle issues like racist brutality, childhood hunger and poverty in the African-American community.
Lady Gaga at Wells Fargo Center; 7:30pm; $50–$700
Gaga swings through the City of Monsterly Love on her Joanne World Tour, performing for two consecutive nights at Wells Fargo Center in South Philly. The new album, her fifth studio work, finds the 31-year-old diva veering into soft-rock territory—a pretty sharp turn following her 2013 pop-art manifesto Artpop—with stripped-down tracks like the slow-burning “Million Reasons” and the country-tinged “Sinner’s Prayer.” Her local monsters seem to favor the departure; tickets went so fast in Philly that it was one of a handful of cities in which she had to add an extra date to accommodate her fans.