Summer Guide 2013: Philly offers a host of fun festivals this season

By Lindsay Kenney
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jun. 5, 2013

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The Philly Naked Bike Ride returns for the fifth year running. Pedaling. Whatever, we were distracted.

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Phair: Philadelphia Open Air Market
Wander around a breezy open-air marketplace while catching those summertime rays and discover some of the most unique and talented artisans in the Philadelphia area. Open every Saturday through November, Phair offers an exciting assortment of art, food, jewelry, furniture and basically anything a curious heart desires. Through Nov. 23. Free. 23rd and Arch St.

40th Street Summer Series
Once again, the Greenspace at 40th and Walnut streets will be transformed into an outdoor, family-friendly concert venue complete with face painting, balloon art and even fire artists for your extra amusement. The concert series, occurring once a month through September, has invited a wide variety of brilliant musicians to perform, including Grammy nominated trumpet-composer Steven Bernstein, a 12-piece ukulele orchestra, and Spaceship Aloha, a new project from Man Man drummer/producer Sean Powell. June 29, July 27, Aug. 31. Free. 40th and Walnut sts.

104.5 Summer Block Party
For the last few years, warm weather months also mean free concerts at the Piazza in Northern Liberties. If you’re aching for a cold beer or scrumptious eats, you can pop into one of the many bars/restaurants in the neighborhood to purchase your indulgence, but the entertainment remains free and can be enjoyed while lounging in the outdoor areas the Piazza has to offer. Concerts this summer include performances by Metric, Royal Teeth, and the Cold War Kids. June 8, July 13, Aug. 3. The Piazza at Schmidts. N. Second St. and Germantown Ave.

Hidden City Festival
Some of the most remarkable spaces in Philadelphia will be open to the public for the first time in this six-week, city-wide festival celebrating previously hidden man-made beauties. Nine sites across the city have been transformed and animated by artist projects inviting onlookers to not only gaze, but interact with these interesting spaces the old walls of the city have been hiding. Featured activities include drinking tea at a café inside an abandoned swimming pool and knitting a sweater inside a 100-year-old storefront synagogue. Through June 30. 7pm. $15-$70. Various locations.

Rittenhouse Square Fine Arts Show
In June 1932, a group of art students with hopes of gaining more public exposure, showcased their artwork on clotheslines hung between the trees of Rittenhouse Square. Now, more than 80 years later, the Rittenhouse Fine Arts Festival has become the oldest continuously run outdoor art show of original artwork in the entire country. Come “Circle the Square” and peruse the impeccable talent the Philadelphia area has to offer. June 7-9, 11am. Free. Rittenhouse Square.

The 1968 Exhibit
The National Constitution Center will be celebrating the “Summer of Love” with an exhibit bringing one of America’s most colorful, chaotic and culture-shifting years to life. Highlights of the 12 exciting exhibitions areas that encourage “playful” interaction include artifacts such as an actual Bell “Huey” helicopter used by the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and a vibrant Music Trip Lounge with rock-star memorabilia, giving museum-goers a chance to design their own album covers. June 14-Sept. 2. National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St.

What combines a 5-mile fun-run with mud-filled mazes, gigantic steel obstacles, beer, great food and music, all the while raising money for a good cause? MuckFest, of course! This day of filthy festivities allows you to have “loads of dirty fun and feel good about it in the morning,” since 100 percent of the fund-raising dollars will be contributed to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. June 8 and 9. $55-$100. Ellis Preserve / Liseter, 3805 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square.

Philly PrideDay Parade and Festival
Come out and take part in the biggest networking event for the LGBT community of Philadelphia as they celebrate the 25th anniversary of PrideDay. Begin your day of festivities at noon cheering on the Pride parade culminating at 13th and Locust streets. Around 1:30, the parade will reach the festival site at Penn’s Landing which will be up and ready to amuse crowds for a day dedicated to rejoicing acceptance and being proud of who you are. June 9, noon. $10. Various locations.

Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll
Can you think back to those days when a dollar bill could buy you more than a large can of Arizona Ice Tea? Thanks to the lovely people behind The Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll, one lone dollar means deals, dining and much, much more, making that big bag of change look a lot less like garbage and a lot more like my lunch. Try to come out early, though, as the popularity of this event drew out thousands of people last year, all looking to make better use of those single dollar bills. June 13, 5:30pm. Baltimore Ave., 42nd and 50th sts.

The Awesome Fest
Summer months don’t just mean beach houses, beer gardens and music festivals. In Philadelphia, it also means a 10-week city-wide celebration of the radical era we call the ‘80s. The creators of the Awesome Fest have worked tirelessly to throw this mainly free affair featuring over 50 events, ranging from outdoor movie screenings to a full-blown ‘80’s style prom, where some lucky festival-goers will be crowned King and Queen. June 14-Aug. 17. Various times and locations.

Summer Solstice Salsa Party
Morris Arboretum is throwing a Latin-style fiesta in their Azalea meadow for a celebration honoring the longest day of the year. Learn to salsa dance early in the day so you can groove to the sizzling hot music later provided by the Café Con Pan Band. And, if you work up an appetite, enjoy samples of the all-natural salsas provided by the Easton Salsa Company for this true Summer-Solstice-salsa extravaganza. June 20, 6pm. $20-$30. Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, 100 E. Northwestern Ave. 215.247.5777.

FireFly Music Festival
Just because you couldn’t afford to fly to California for Coachella and aren’t willing to drive the 13 hours to get to Bonnaroo doesn’t mean you have to miss out on having a festival experience this summer. FireFly is probably the most diverse and worthwhile music festival the Northeast has to offer, making the hour and a half drive to Delaware definitely worth the trip to catch acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kendrick Lamar, the Lumineers and Calvin Harris. June 21-23. $98 per day. Dover, Delaware.

Manayunk Arts Festival
One of the best things about Manayunk is that it gives you the feeling of escaping the city, while also providing the many perks of hanging out in an urban area: good food, wide-ranging shopping and a neighborhood thriving on the arts. For its 24th year, Manayunk will be hosting the tri-state’s largest outdoor, juried arts festival where nearly 200,000 collectors, buyers and designers will come to showcase some of the finest arts and crafts from across the country. June 22 and 23, 11am. Main St., Mayayunk.

6th Annual Philadelphia Independent Film Festival
Just because you’re aching to see Fast & Furious 6 doesn’t mean you’re a movie-buff sellout; it just means you need to also get your independent film fix this summer before anyone notices. Luckily, Philadelphia will be hosting its sixth annual Independent Film Festival in June, allowing you to support and discover the cinematic talent out there unrestrained by the predictable boundaries set by powerhouse studios. June 26-30. Various locations.

Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival
Does someone really need to twist your arm to attend the largest ice cream party the city has to offer? Seven bucks allows you entry into a large tent filled with various stations to enjoy as much ice cream your stomach can handle. Feeling guilty about indulging in frozen treats all day? Don’t! All of the proceeds go toward fighting pediatric leukemia at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, so eat up! June 30 and July 1, noon. $7. Penn’s Landing, Columbus Blvd. and Chestnut St.

Wawa Welcome America
This weeklong celebration of our country’s birth is definitely a reason to avoid shore traffic and party in the city for the holiday weekend. In addition to movie screenings, Wawa hoagie day and a three-day food sampling event, take in the fourth of July fireworks while enjoying a concert by a collection of artists including The Roots, Ne-Yo, John Mayer, and Demi Lovato. July 1-7. Free. Various locations.

Bastille Day Festival at Eastern State Penitentiary
Picture this: A woman resembling Marie Antoinette is standing atop the world’s first true penitentiary while objects being tossed over the massive stone walls, you realize, are actually Tastykakes soaring over your head. This amazing Bastille Day re-enactment will also give you the opportunity to check out the quaint Fairmount neighborhood where numerous bars and restaurants will be offering French-style specials and outdoor dining. July 24, 4:30pm. Free. Eastern State Penitentiary, 2124 Fairmount Ave.

Hispanic Fiesta
After all the Fourth of July festivities have come to a close, Penn’s Landing Great Plaza will be converted into a carnival area showcasing all that Latino culture has to offer. Take in the harmonious rhythms and melodies of salsa, meringue, samba, and mariachi while enjoying ethnic foods and artisan crafts from Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries. This is one of the most popular and best-attended events at Penn’s Landing this summer, so join the thousands of people that are expected to take in all the revelry over the course of the weekend. June 13 and 14. Free. Penn’s Landing Great Plaza, Columbus Blvd. and Chestnut St.

Summer Ale Festival at the Philadelphia Zoo
What could be better than an evening dedicated to sampling crisp regional craft beers and devouring delectable local cuisine? Doing it all the while gazing upon exotically colored birds and powerfully majestic big cats, of course! This one-of-a-kind beer tasting event is a must, and although ticket prices range from $35-$95, it includes a souvenir tasting cup, on-site parking, and shuttle service to and from 30th Street Station. July 20, 6:30pm. $35-$95. Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Ave.

XpoNential Music Festival
An all-access pass gives you admittance to this three-day festival of musical fusion, allowing you entry to the Lumineers/Dr. Dog show on Saturday, and to the AmericanA Music Festival featuring Bob Dylan, Wilco, and My Morning Jacket on Sunday. An additional perk: buy the XPN Membership Pledge Gift Festival Fan Package, and get two three-day festival passes, a meet-and-greet with musical artists and all the benefits of being an XPN member for a mere $24 a month. July 26-28. 1 Harbour Blvd, Camden, N.J.

Car Show and Street Festival
Come check out the neighborhood around East Passyunk Avenue for the eighth annual car show and street festival, where five blocks of city space will be lined with over 130 antique, vintage, classic, muscle, custom cars, trucks and motorcycles. Not only will the day be filled with glorious eye candy, but the festival has also included live music, DJs, vendors and, of course, plenty of food. July 28, noon. Free. East Passyunk Ave., Broad and Dickinson sts.

2nd Street Festival and Block Party
North Second Street will be closed off in order to fill the entire area with workshops, art, food, beer gardens and other eclectic merchandise vendors. The neighborhood block party is in its fifth year, and it will be going all out, with four music and event stages providing free entertainment as means to support the growing, changing Northern Liberties community that encourages a safer, greener and happier environment for the city to appreciate. Aug. 4, noon. Free. N. Second Street, Germantown and Green.

Philadelphia Caribbean Festival
Pulsating steel drum rhythms and island-style jerk aromas will entertain your senses at this all-day Caribbean Festival celebrating the many wonderful reasons we travel far and wide to get a taste of that sweet island culture. This rich celebration will feature musical performances, workshops, a wide variety of tasty island cuisine and an exotic marketplace full of Caribbean commodities as a way to create awareness of the contributions people from this section of the globe have made in the world—and the Philadelphia community. Aug. 18, noon. Free. Penn’s Landing. Columbus Blvd. and Spring Garden.

5th Annual Philly Naked Bike Ride
Yes, you read that correctly. This August, the City of Brotherly Love will host its fifth annual Philly Naked Bike Ride. Although this “bare what you dare” event may sound a little crazy, and possibly illegal, it’s a phenomenon that has spread to numerous cities around the world due to its dedication to encouraging cycling advocacy, raising awareness about fuel consumption and promoting positive body image. Aug. 25. Time & location information given with registration.

Budweiser’s Made In America Festival
Jay-Z’s contribution to our art and culture-loving city will be back for its second year over Labor Day Weekend. After its successful first year, bringing tons of people into our city’s limits and hosting the massive urban music festival with no disruptions, the Made in America Festival returns and has invited a new and exciting group of artists for our ears’ delight. The artist lineup includes Beyoncé, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Nine Inch Nails, Deadmau5 and Phoenix. Aug. 31-Sept. 1. $99.50-$499. Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

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