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FunTimes Magazine

The Best Spring Festivals To Check Out In Philly

May 21, 2024 12:06PM ● By Gift Joe

Young contestant showing off her outfit at the Easter Promenade. Image: South Street Headhouse District

"Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!'" - Robin Williams.

It’s that time of the year we’re once again filled with joy and excitement for the arrival of spring. After being cooped up indoors all winter, the time has finally come to trade our puffer jackets for sunglasses, while we enjoy the fresh start that the season brings. Moving from the winter chill to the warmth of spring brings a special energy, as residents and tourists alike are eager to step out for some fun activities. There’s an abundance of festivals in Philadelphia that showcase local traditions and joyous celebrations waiting to be explored.

Spring is in the air, and so are these lively festivals. So, dust your sunglasses, grab your most comfortable walking shoes, and get ready to have some fun while reveling in music, food, flowers, world cultures, and more. Whether you’re a food lover or more of an arts and entertainment person, there’s something to fit every mood. Are you ready to dive into the best spring festivals that Philadelphia has to offer? We’ve rounded up some of the best for you.

Cultural Celebrations

Several festivals in Philly celebrate the city's diverse communities and heritage. They include:

Fairmount Park with cherry blossoms in bloom. Photo by C. Smyth, Visit Philadelphia

Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival: Philadelphia undergoes a vibrant transformation every spring, as the cherry blossoms burst into full bloom. The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival is a spectacular celebration of this natural wonder. It’s an annual spring celebration of Japanese arts and culture organized by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP). The festival features live music, cultural performances, food vendors, and family-friendly activities. From taiko drumming to martial arts to fashion, as well as a Japanese vendor fair, kimono dressing, ikebana workshops, tea ceremonies, and origami, there is so much in store for you.

Head to Fairmount Park to celebrate Japanese culture and the beauty of spring while strolling beneath the canopies of blooming cherry trees. Don’t forget to take some photos for your Instagram page.

Maifest Spring Festival on South Street: Have you ever celebrated the season German style? Maifest brings the sweet taste of Germany to the South Street spring festival. Maifest, or May Day, is a beloved German tradition celebrating the arrival of spring. Held every first Saturday of May, the one-day block-buster festival draws over 10,000 people that fill South Street and inside Brauhaus Schmitz. You get to enjoy German-centric food and an array of delicious pay-as-you-go beer by some of the top German Breweries. The festival also features live music and performances from traditional German dancers. Spend time outdoors with a beer in hand as you enjoy the warm weather.

Grease Pole Climbing at the Italian Market Festival Image: Instagram | @italianmarketphilly

Italian Market Festival: Mangia, Mangia! The Italian Market Festival is one of Philadelphia’s most popular events. The festival takes over the South Philadelphia neighborhood, attracting visitors from all over the city and beyond. Held in May in the historic Italian Market, it’s a celebration of culture, gastronomy, art, and music. Over 100 area vendors showcase a range of cuisine and beverages. You will also be treated to live music, crafts, and the fest's signature greased pole climbing- a must-see spectacle of athleticism and sheer determination. Teams compete in climbing to the top of a greased pole to reach prizes of meats, cheeses, gifts, and money. So, if you want to get in the spirit, you and some friends can try your best to conquer the 30-foot pole greased with lard.

Spring Festivals in Philly for the Foodies

Food plays a central role in Philadelphia's cultural identity, and spring festivals offer the perfect opportunity to indulge. While you soak up the sunshine, you have an opportunity to eat your way through your neighborhood at these festivals.

Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival.

Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival: Calling all foodies! Get ready to eat your heart out at one of the largest food truck festivals and one of the most anticipated springtime traditions in Philadelphia. The Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival is a must-attend event for those who love to savor delicious cuisine from around the world. More than 70 food trucks and food vendors from across the region take over Main Street in Manayunk, offering a wide variety of dishes, from savory to sweet. It’s not just food, there are other side attractions for festival goers of all ages. You can enjoy live music, and browse through local crafts while indulging your taste buds. Get dressed and come to StrEAT for an iconic and gigantic food party. Bon appétit!

Flavors on the Avenue: A springtime favorite, East Passyunk’s Flavors on the Avenue is one of the city’s largest and longest-running food festivals. East Passyunk brings the neighborhood’s top restaurants with five blocks of pay-as-you-go food, cocktails,  craft beer, live music, sidewalk sales, and free family fun. Residents and tourists can spend time eating and drinking their way through the South Philadelphia neighborhood. While the festival focuses on the variety of food and drink options, there’s plenty more to do between bites, as there are live bands and entertainment, including kids’ activity zones up and down the street.

Arts & Entertainment Festivals

Spring offers a perfect time to celebrate artistic inspiration. These arts and entertainment spring festivals are guaranteed to awaken your senses and inspire your artistic spirit.

Everyday Futures Fest Block Party: Enjoy an afternoon of fun for all ages! The festival takes over the 700 block of Catharine Street in South Philly, featuring temporary installations, music, dance,  storytelling performances, sustainable vendors, interactive workshops, and more! From exhibits to workshops and interactive experiences focusing on sustainability and the arts, there’s something for everyone at The Block Party!

Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival: One of Philly's largest block parties, it showcases samples of the neighborhood’s culture, from food to fashion to music. Head to Walnut Street and Rittenhouse Square to enjoy live music, an artistic showcase, fashion shows, sidewalk cafes, kids’ activities, and giveaways.

Kensington Derby contestant. Image: Instagram | @kensingtonkineticarts

Kensington Derby & Arts Festival: It’s a spring tradition that draws families, foodies, artists, and inventors to Philadelphia. It’s a celebration of the East Kensington neighborhood, featuring art, food, music, drinks, and a parade of homemade human-powered sculptures crafted from recycled bicycles and other materials Teams drive their human-powered vehicles through a three-mile obstacle course and prizes are awarded for categories like Best Costume and Best Engineering. The festival highlights the area’s creative spirit and community pride. Do you want to see all of the neighborhood’s wacky, weird, and wondrous creative genius? Don’t miss this festival!

Roxborough Spring Fest: This Spring Fest street festival features something for all music and art lovers, foodies, and craft beer aficionados. It’s also a perfect outing opportunity for families as there’s a dedicated Kid’s Zone, ensuring that attendees of all ages find something to enjoy. The event is packed with music, art, delicious food, and engaging activities for the entire family. Other entertainment includes balloon artists, mini golf, pottery demonstrations, face painting, and a garden walking tour. So, get ready for a full day of live entertainment, music, performances, and unforgettable fun.


Spring Festivals for the Family

Parents are not left out as there are fun activities for those looking to enjoy springtime festivities with their children.

Pets in costume. Image: Instagram | Philadelphia Brewing

Furry Friends of Frankford Pet Festival: It is a day dedicated to celebrating all things pets in the Frankford neighborhood of Philadelphia. Whether you want to spoil your pets or want to find your fur-ever friend, this is the festival for you. It’s a fun day for the whole family to play, shop, and socialize. The festival features pet-themed games, pet vendors, a pet parade through the neighborhood, and adoptable pets. Come enjoy activities designed for fun for both you and your pet.

Young contestant showing off her outfit at the Easter Promenade. Image: South Street Headhouse District

South Street Headhouse District Easter Promenade: Ever dream of costumes made entirely of stuffed bunnies, eggs, and peeps? This vibrant family-friendly festival is the perfect event for you. Celebrating the spirit of Easter, the festival focuses on fashion, community, and fun. People of all ages and their pets can show off their costumes celebrating the holiday. Participants showcase their most creative and stylish Easter outfits as they strut their stuff down South Street where judging will be held for categories such as Best Dressed Family, Best Bonnet, and Best South Street Razzle Dazzle. What a fun way to soak in the warmth of spring.

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