Summer may be weeks behind us, but festival and block party season still rages on. This week alone, there are eight major festivals happening in and around Philly—most of which are free to attend. The major must-dos include the Midtown Village Fall Festival on Saturday, and Old City Fest and Outfest happen simultaneously on Sunday. Plus, the Night Market on Thursday night gives you an excuse to kick off your Columbus Day-weekend shenanigans a little early. Check out the full guide below to pick and choose your fest routine.
Thursday, October 5
Night Market at Italian Market; 6–10pm; pay as you go
The Food Trust’s wildly popular roving street-food festival returns to the Italian Market for its last romp of the season. Thousands are expected to show up for an array of delicious street-food fare from around the Italian Market, including nibbles from spots like Roast Cebu Lechòn, Isgro Pastries , Papermill Fresh Asian Kitchen, Babalouie BBQ and Cardenas Oil & Vinegar Taproom.
Friday, October 6
Armory Oktoberfest at 23rd Street Armory; 7pm; $35–$85
The folks from Brauhaus Schmitz are taking over the 23rd Street Armory for three days of stein-swinging, lederhosen-wearing, oompah-listening fun. The ticketed event runs in afternoon and evening sessions, and this year they’re expecting to go through a whopping 300 kegs and 2,000 pounds of sausage.
DesignPhiladelphia; various times and various prices
The largest and oldest event of its kind, Design Philadelphia celebrates innovations in design—whether it be architecture, fashion, multimedia or urban planning. More than 120 events are planned throughout the two-week run, where you’ll have a chance to mingle and learn from 400 local and nationally recognized designers. The activity roster runs the gamut from lectures and workshops to cocktail gatherings. Find the full schedule here.
Saturday, October 7
Philadelphia Dragon Boat Festival along the Schuylkill Banks; 8:30am–5:30pm; free
Experience a Chinese tradition with origins dating back more than 2,000 years. Crews of up to 20 people paddle their way along the Schuylkill River in handmade boats, cheered on by spectators who line the shore to see the action up close.
Midtown Village Fall Festival; noon–8pm; free
The city shuts down 13th Street from Market to Locust for this fall block party that celebrates the sights, sounds and flavors of Midtown Village. Businesses along the thoroughfare bring their goods onto the street, so expect food and drink offerings from folks like Jamonera, Opa, Jake’s Sandwich Board and more. Five entertainment stages welcome local musical acts throughout the day and evening.
King of Prussia Beerfest Royale at King of Prussia Mall; noon; $15–$50
Mall parking lots aren’t usually all that much fun but once a year KOP tents up a portion of its lot for a raucous day of local and imported brews. This year they’re upping the ante and adding local wineries and distilleries to the lengthy list of participants. Polka bands and local artists provide entertainment for the walkaround tasting.
Sunday, October 8
Old City Fest; 11am–6pm; free
More than 20,000 people are expected to hit historic Old City for this fourth annual festival, which features 130 vendors and restaurants on top of an itinerary of circus performers, live music and a dedicated family fun zone for the little ones. Besides all the fun and games, Old City Fest doubles as an arty showcase of local culture. Keep your eyes peeled for an exhibition area featuring works from designers and art galleries and street performances by neighborhood theater troupes.
Outfest in the Gayborhood; noon–6pm; free
The largest National Coming Out Day event happens in the heart of Philadelphia, covering 12 city blocks in the Gayborhood and beyond. The 27th annual festival features drag shows, bar crawls, carnival-style games and dancing in the streets outside bars like Woody’s and Tabu Lounge and Sports Bar. Think of it as Pride, Part 2.