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Top Fall Festivals in Philadelphia

Celebrate fall with festivals, food, fashion, music and more

From 2013

Fall in Philadelphia means the air is cool and crisp; seasonal fruits and vegetables transform local cuisine; hues of orange, red and brown dominate the landscape; and tens of thousands of people gather at spots all over the region for awesome autumnal festivals.

Whether revelers don their Harry Potter-style glasses and broomsticks (Harry Potter Weekend), set out to watch ancient Chinese sea vessels race along the Schuylkill River (Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival) or enjoy Grammy Award-winning musical acts (WHYY Connections Festival), there’s something to celebrate all season long in Philadelphia.

Here are 25 not-to-be-missed events this fall:

Fringe Festival

Dates: September 5-22
As the city’s largest annual performing arts festival, the Fringe Festival aims to attract more than 45,000 attendees this year to more than 200 events in venues ranging from the Wilma Theater and the 23rd Street Armory to the Asian Arts Initiative and Eastern State Penitentiary. The 17th annual festival, taking place September 5-22, features international all-stars, including Italian artist Romeo Castellucci, Irish step dancer Colin Dunne and Berlin-based circus arts creator Tobias Wegner.

Go West! Craft Fest

Date: September 7
Location: 40th Street & Woodland Ave.
On September 7, the Go West! Craft Fest returns to The Woodlands in West Philadelphia. While browsing through handmade items from more than 70 vendors, festival-goers enjoy performances by jugglers, hoop dancers and acoustic musicians. Kids engage in free crafts-related activities, and hungry patrons dig into fare from local restaurants and food trucks. Rain date is September 8.

Phoenixville Blues Festival

Date: September 7
Location: 2nd Avenue & Main Street, Phoenixville, PA
Approximately 5,000 attendees groove to the tunes of local and nationally acclaimed blues bands at Reeves Park during the Phoenixville Blues Festival on September 7. From noon to 10 p.m., musical acts entertain the crowd, and food vendors serve up delicious snacks and dishes. While this event is free to the public, funds raised from canned good donations and food sales help support charitable causes, including Give the Gift of Music, the Phoenixville Library and Paint the Town Pink.

WHYY Connections Festival

Dates: September 7-8
Location: Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Boulevard & Walnut Street
A celebration of the arts, the 3rd annual WHYY Connections Festival returns to the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, September 7-8. In addition to visual arts displays and family-friendly activities, the festival features show-stopping musical acts. This year’s headliner is the Grammy Award-winning band They Might Be Giants.

Feria del Barrio

Date: September 8
Location: N. 5th Street between Lehigh Avenue & Cambria Street
The 29th annual Feria del Barrio returns to the El Centro de Oro section of Philadelphia on September 8. A celebration of Latin American heritage, arts and culture, this free event offers a variety of live entertainment, including art demonstrations, music, dancing and children’s games. This year’s main act is the four-time Grammy-nominated Afro-Rican band Plena Libre. The revelry also features cuisine from several Latin American countries.

Mexican Independence Day Festival

Date: September 15
Location: Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Boulevard & Walnut Street
The sights, sounds and tastes of Mexico take over the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing during the Mexican Independence Day Festival on September 15. This free celebration features arts and crafts, Mexican rock bands, face painting, Mexican food, dancing and more.

Street Fare

September 19
Sip, savor and stroll as Mt. Airy’s food-centric evening street festival returns on Thursday, September 19 from 6-10:30 p.m. Enjoy cool beverages and delicious food from the city’s top vendors and local restaurants as you wander along historic Germantown Avenue.

Manayunk StreEAT Food Festival

Date: September 21
Location: Main Street Manayunk
Kicking off Manayunk Restaurant Week, the Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival on September 21 is a foodie’s dream, featuring food trucks, gourmet food vendors and specials at Main Street’s delectable restaurants. Between bites, attendees enjoy live music and sidewalk sales.

Riverfront Ramble

Date: September 21
Location: 2501 Seaport Drive, Chester, PA
Roughly 12,000 people are expected at this year Riverfront Ramble in Chester, making it the largest riverfront festival in Delaware County. On September 21, the Wharf at Rivertown on the Chester Waterfront features an antique car show, live performances, an iron chef competition, fitness instruction, a science fair, food and craft vendors, a petting zoo and spectacular fireworks over the Delaware River.

PHS Fall Garden Festival

Date: September 21
Location: 4747 S. Broad Street
On September 21, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society presents its annual PHS Fall Garden Festival. From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., an assortment of activities take place on the parade grounds of the Navy Yard, including a marketplace selling local produce, plants, home décor and gardening tools; a PHS Kids Zone, where youngsters can participate in games, activities and crafts; a “Garden Giants” demonstration, where growers show off their oversized tomatoes, pumpkins and other gigantic goodies for a panel of judges; and bus tours of the revamped Navy Yard., (215) 988-8800,

Peddler’s Village Scarecrow Festival

Dates: September 21-22
Location: Routes 202 & 263, Lahaska, PA
During the Peddler’s Village Scarecrow Festival, taking place September 21-22, visitors can view more than 100 amazing scarecrow creations and take part in scarecrow-making workshops, pumpkin pie-eating contests, pumpkin painting and live music.

Jenkintown Festival of the Arts

Date: September 22

Local artists, musicians, and vendors will pack the streets of Jenkintown for an afternoon of fun during the Jenkintown Festival of the Arts. In addition to juried art shows, the festival features two stages, an activity area for kids complete with dunk tank and a brew tent for the grown-ups.

Campus Philly College Day

Date: September 28
Location: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Philadelphia will welcome back thousands of college students during its annual Campus Philly College Day, a city-wide day of discounts, giveaways, entertainment and free admission to museums and more on September 28. Continuing a 20-year tradition, museums and attractions along the Parkway, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will be offering free admission to students with college I.D.

Downingtown FallFest

Date: September 29
Location: E. Lancaster Avenue between Wallace Avenue and Green Street, Downingtown, PA
The fourth-annual Downingtown FallFest welcomes more than 5,000 guests on September 29 for a day filled with festive events, including live music, food vendors, craft activities and displays from local businesses. And, of course, since Victory Brewing Company presents this festival, guests can expect a stellar beer garden with delicious brews and bites.

PumpkinFest

Date: October 5
Location: 6th & Race Streets
Franklin Square is all about fall fun during the third annual PumpkinFest on October 5. The event helps raise funds to maintain the park, which is one of Philadelphia’s most picturesque settings. Guests of all ages partake in festivities such as a costume parade, pumpkin painting, pony rides, spooky mini-golf, carnival games, cupcake decorating and more. Plus, admission includes unlimited rides on the historic Philadelphia Park Liberty Carousel.

Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival

Date: October 5
Culture meets athletic ability during the Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival, one of the largest festivals of its kind in North America. Throughout the day (October 5), more than 140 teams—totaling roughly 5,000 paddlers of all ages, abilities and ethnicities—take to the Schuylkill River in boats whose elaborate design originated in ancient China.

RiverCity Festival

Date: October 5
Location: Beach Street & Delaware Avenue
Showcasing the best of Fishtown, the annual RiverCity Festival returns to historic Penn Treaty Park on October 5. Activities like moon bounces and magic shows delight young revelers, while adults partake in grown-up amusement, including the RiverCity Fun Run and the on-site beer garden.

Morris Arboretum Fall Festival

Dates: October 5-6
Location: 100 E. Northwestern Avenue
On October 5-6, Morris Arboretum presents its annual Fall Festival, set amidst 92 acres of exquisite plant life and horticultural displays. This year’s family-friendly activities include scarecrow making, pumpkin painting and apple tasting. Also, from October 5-20, visitors can view 30 designer scarecrows along Scarecrow Walk.

Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival

Date: October 6
Location: Germantown Avenue between Willow Grove & Rex Avenues
Chestnut Hill transforms into an outdoor arts and crafts marketplace during the Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival on October 6. More than 150 talented artists from throughout the country display and sell their creations in media ranging from watercolor paintings to jewelry. Live entertainment, children’s rides and alfresco dining round out the excitement during this free event. Rain date is October 13.

DesignPhiladelphia

*Dates”: October 10-18
From October 10-18, the ninth annual DesignPhiladelphia Festival, a signature program of the Philadelphia Center for Architecture, shines a spotlight on the vibrant creative community across the region. This year’s theme, EXPERIENCEdesign!, focuses on the experiential and emotional aspects of design by engaging festival goers’ five senses. More than 120 events are held in a variety of locales across the city, including boutiques, museums, warehouses and public spaces.

Reading Terminal Market Harvest Festival

*Date”: October 12
Location: 12th & Arch Streets
Reading Terminal Market is undoubtedly one of the best places to savor the fall harvest, and on October 12, visitors are invited to do just that during the Harvest Festival. From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., a portion of Filbert Street is closed to traffic and transformed into an urban farm, complete with hay bales and corn stalks. Kids and adults walk through an on-site pumpkin patch, ride an authentic farm tractor and enjoy freshly prepared donuts, candy apples and other seasonal goodies.

Old City Seaport Festival

Dates: October 12-13
Location: Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Boulevard & Walnut Street
Guests can embrace Philly’s maritime culture at the second annual Old City Seaport Festival, kicking off on October 11 with a majestic sunset Parade of Boats. On October 12-13, visitors head to Penn’s Landing for a crafter’s village, deck tours of the Tall Ships, food trucks, a moon bounce, face painting and an outdoor beer garden. Throughout the weekend, guests can expect fun encounters with roaming, costumed pirates and their live parrots.

Philadelphia Film Festival

Dates: October 17-27
Returning for its 22nd year from October 17-27, the Philadelphia Film Festival, presented by the Philadelphia Film Society, celebrates the art of cinema with more than 100 films from around the world. The festival also includes industry panels, post-screening Q&As and special events with filmmakers at venues across the region.

Harry Potter Weekend in Chestnut Hill

Dates: October 18-19
For two magical days, Chestnut Hill transforms into Hogsmeade, the fictional town made famous in the Harry Potter series for Harry Potter Weekend. On October 18, an opening ceremony and pub crawl kick off the festivities. On October 19, spectators catch the collegiate Quidditch tournament at Chestnut Hill College. Plus, throughout the weekend, restaurants and shops all over town participate in Harry Potter-themed fun.

Family Moonviewing Weekend

Dates: October 18-20
Location: Horticultural & Lansdowne Drives
Celebrate the harvest moon and give thanks for a good harvest during the Family Moonviewing Weekend at the Japanese House at the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden from October 18-20. Events and activities include a moon-viewing tea ceremony, a moon-viewing party, a sweets-making class, a traditional Japanese choral performance and storytelling.

Scrapple Fest at the Reading Terminal Market

Date: November 2
Location: 12th & Arch Streets
Love it or hate it, scrapple is a quintessential part of a traditional Pennsylvania breakfast. During Scrapple Fest, taking place at the Reading Terminal Market on November 2, scrapple brands offer product samples and Reading Terminal Market chefs compete to determine the best scrapple dish in the market.

First Person Arts Festival

Dates: November 6-16
The only festival of its kind in the world, the 12th annual First Person Arts Festival, presented by Penn’s Master of Liberal Arts Program and Harmelin Media, returns November 6-16. The celebration dedicates 10 days to the power of personal stories told through genres such as storytelling, theater, writing, dance and more at venues throughout the city.

GEOfest

Dates: November 13-14
Presented by the Geographical Society of Philadelphia, GEOfest is a two-day festival featuring illustrated talks from renowned explorers and travelers. This year’s events, which take place on November 13-14, include a visit with brat-packer-turned-travel-writer Andrew McCarthy; the city-wide GEObowl, where grade-school students answer questions about global geography and culture; and a talk by professional photographers who will share images of Philadelphia and the world beyond.

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