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So many festivals are happening in Philadelphia this week

By Amy Gordon
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Devotees of festivals in Philadelphia will find themselves with an embarrassment of riches on their hands this weekend, when a whopping 12 massive spring festivals and block parties are happening around—and, in some cases, just outside—the city. These include major and much-loved annual hooplas like the two-day South 9th Street Italian Market Festival, the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival and the quirky Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby in Northern Liberties.

Then there are some film and arts fests to throw in the mix, such as the blush-worthy Hump! Film Festival for naughty cinephiles and outdoor art bonanza Art in the Open. Check out our full guide to all the festivals happening this weekend below. If you play your cards wisely—and take advantage of Uber—you can probably hit everything on the list that interests you. Happy festival-ing!

Thursday, May 17

Philadelphia Children’s Festival at the Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts; various times, $8–$20
Kicking off this festive weekend is this theater festival, which welcomes family-friendly theatrical performances of all kinds—from magic shows to circus arts to dance. Outside the Annenberg Center, at PlazaMania, kids and parents can partake in fun-filled activities like face-painting and balloon-animal workshops, munch on food-truck fare and even enjoy a special appearance from the city’s beloved baseball mascot, the Phillie Phanatic. May 17–19

Night Market in Burholme; 6pm; pay as you go
This popular summer-long food-truck festival brings the tradition of Asian night markets to Northeast Philly, shutting down the area around Cottman and Rising Sun Avenues to vehicular traffic to make room for dozens of food trucks, craft beverage vendors, outdoor art demos and live music. Look out for a performance by hip-hop star Freeway and food and drink from joints such as Tu's Tea & Banh Mi, House of Cupcakes and Royal Zarasa.

Friday, May 18

Art in the Open along the Schuylkill Banks; 8am; free

Art in the Open

Photograph: Courtesy Brad Jamula

Forty artists and their teams set up camp along the Schuylkill River Trail—from Fairmount Water Works all the way to the South Street entrance—to create live works of art from sunup to sundown. The event was created to give folks the opportunity to connect with Philadelphia’s green spaces, rivers and natural surroundings through the process of art-making, inviting them to watch as local creatives paint, sculpt, photograph and create unique works inspired by the surroundings. Toting the kids along? Swing by the Azalea Garden from 10am to 1pm on May 19 for Art in the Open Family Day, where little ones can make some art of their own. May 19–20

Hump! Film Festival at FringeArts; 7, 9pm; $25
Get ready to blush at this 13th-annual film festival helmed by sex columnist Dan Savage. The two-day lineup features a slew of succinct porn flicks—all shorter than five minutes—from everyday folks who, as the event’s log line says, “aren’t porn stars but want to be one for a weekend.” May 19, 20

Saturday, May 19

South 9th Street Italian Market Festival at the Italian Market; 11am; free

Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly/M. Fischetti

Celebrate at the oldest outdoor market in the country during this two-day extravaganza of food, fun and family. Each year, revelers of all ages enjoy crafts, games, multiple stages with live entertainment, local artisan vendors and the ever-popular Procession of Saints, which includes the Blessing of the Market. Of course, no event in this neighborhood would be complete without loads of tasty bites. Get your fill of cheesesteaks, cannolis, gourmet coffee, all kinds of cheeses and those fruit-on-sticks things everyone’s mad about. May 19, 20

Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival; noon; free
This is the only day of the year when Walnut Street—from the Avenue of the Arts to 19th Street—closes to vehicular traffic, making room for more than 50,000 attendees who come to enjoy the best of Philly’s tony Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. The event showcases a variety of restaurants and bars in the area, plus several cultural elements. Look out for art and fashion exhibitions, cocktail and culinary demonstrations, live music and street performances. This year, upwards of 1,000 vendors will showcase and sell their products.

Philadelphia Federal Credit Union Kensington Derby and Arts Festival at Trenton Avenue and Norris Street; noon; free

Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby

Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly/Courtney Smyth

This oh-so-quirky neighborhood festival takes place on the streets of Kensington and Fishtown, exciting everyone from engineering fanatics to foodies. Artists set up shop throughout the area, and local food trucks and restaurants are on hand to feed hungry guests. The centerpiece of the day is undoubtedly the derby, where entrants race mobile sculptures of their own creation throughout the city streets, navigating terrain like sand and cobblestone and ending in a mud pit. Think of it as a huge, even messier Double Dare competition.

The All-Star Craft Beer, Wine, and Cocktail Festival at Citizens Bank Park; 3pm; $19.95–$69.95
Spend your Saturday at the home of the Phillies tasting your way through 300-plus craft beers and wines. The event also gives you the chance to get down on the field to run bases and snap some selfies in the dugout.

40th Street Summer Series at 40th and Walnut Streets; 6pm; free

Photograph: Courtesy University City District/Ben Tran

This summer-long concert series brings free monthly concerts to Penn’s campus from May through September. This year’s festivities kick off with a double headlining show from the West Philadelphia Orchestra and Dan Blackberg’s Hot Klezmers. Performers scheduled for the rest of summer include New Sound Brass, Las Cafeteras and Thee Phantom & the Illharmonic Orchestra.

Sunday, May 20

Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Festival on Germantown Avenue; 11am; free

Photograph: Darryl W. Moran

This is the place to be for the latest and greatest in home and garden goods. More than 150 vendors line historic Germantown Avenue during this one-day event, with everything from outdoor supplies for projects like lawn and tree care, garden displays, terrariums and bee-keeping to quilts, jewelry, art and clothing. The festival also includes live music on two stages, food from local eateries, amusement park rides, a rock-climbing wall and more.

Festivals happening near Philadelphia

Strawberry Festival at Peddler’s Village; 10am; free

Photograph: Anthony Sinagoga

Head to Bucks County for the 40th annual Strawberry Festival, where Peddler’s Village celebrates everything and anything strawberry-related. Onsite eateries flood the venue’s menus with berry-licious dishes and desserts all weekend, kids participate in strawberry-centric crafts, the crowd jams out to live music and many of the area’s stores stay open late for after-hours shopping. Don’t miss the daily strawberry pie-eating contests, a perennial highlight of the festival. May 19, 20

New Hope Pride Parade and Festival; May 19 at 11:30am; free

Photograph: Stephen Harris

If you’re itching to get your Pride celebrations on a little early, head to the Bucks County borough for its annual parade, which draws more than 15,000 people from along the East Coast. The day includes an energetic parade on May 19, complete with floats, marching bands and the 100-foot-long Rainbow Equality Flag. But that’s just the beginning: PrideFest spans the entire weekend, with special events like a fair for LGBTQ-owned and -operated businesses, Sunday tea dances and more.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to spring and summer festivals in Philadelphia

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