December 20, 2017

Annual Events In Philadelphia In 2018

Philly's Yearly Lineup of Festivals, Shows, Holidays & More Shine In 2018

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One of the liveliest streets in Philadelphia gets even more animated during the South Street Headhouse District Spring Festival. Photo by M. Edlow for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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On or around each July 14, Eastern State Penitentiary puts on a campy reenactment of the storming of the Bastille, for Bastille Day. Photo by R. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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New Year's Day brings the Mummers to Broad Street in an all-day parade that's uniquely Philadelphia. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Everything is merry and bright at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival Featuring the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Held every autumn, the Midtown Village Fall Festival features eight hours of tasty food, drinks, live entertainment, shopping and more. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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The nation’s first Thanksgiving Day Parade wows crowds with fancy floats, giant balloons and talented marching bands. M. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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The Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Arts Festival features art, racing sculpture, live music and great food. J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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The Philadelphia Auto Show displays pre-production, hot-production, classic and exotic vehicles from just about every maker. Photo by R. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Year after year, Philadelphia’s roster of annual events provides irresistible reasons for visitors to come to—and to fall in love with—Philadelphia. That a city so rich in history continues to both celebrate and improve on its legacy is a testament to Philly pride and invention. The 2018 calendar starts with the 121st Mummers Parade and continues with the world’s largest indoor Flower Show, the jam- (and food-) packed South 9th Street Italian Market Festival, the idiosyncratic Kensington Sculpture Derby, the epic Philly Beer Week, a 10-day Fourth of July celebration (Wawa Welcome America) and the nation’s oldest Thanksgiving Day Parade, to name a few.

Here’s a look at what’s goes on each year, and better than ever in the Philadelphia region in 2018:

January:

  • The lineup for 121st Mummers Parade includes 10,000 colorfully costumed people of all ages strutting down one of the city’s main streets. The troupes in the String Band division entertain crowds with live music and choreographed dances; the Fancy Brigades stage two elaborate indoor performances at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. January 1. phillymummers.com

February:

  • Every winter, the Pennsylvania Convention Center transforms into a car lover’s dream. The Philadelphia Auto Show displays 700 pre-production, hot-production, classic and exotic vehicles from just about every maker. January 27-February 4. phillyautoshow.com
  • The 26th annual African American Children’s Book Fair at the Community College of Philadelphia features nationally known bestselling authors and illustrators, representatives from the multicultural literary community, enriching children’s books and activities that promote the power and joy of reading. February 3. theafricanamericanchildrensbookproject.org/

March:

  • Forbes Traveler called the Philly Craft Beer Festival “one of the top 10 beer festivals in America.” Held in tents at the Navy Yard, the event features 75 national and international breweries, food trucks and a VIP session that presents some very rare brews. March 3. (631) 940-7290, phillycraftbeerfest.com
  • The 2018 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, Wonders of Water, will celebrate the beauty and life-sustaining interplay of horticulture and water in the world’s largest indoor flower show, held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. March 3-11. (215) 988-8800, theflowershow.com
  • The ever-expanding Philly Wine Week now features 200-plus events in 60-some restaurants and bars across the city, from a.bar to Zavino. March 22-29. phillywineweek.org
  • The annual African American History & Cultural Showcase at the Pennsylvania Convention Center includes private exhibits that have never been shown in museums, documentary films, historical reenactments, panel discussions, lectures, workshops, visual artists and crafters, poetry readings, theatrical performances and historical musical concerts. March 31-April 1. blackhistoryshowcase.org
  • Dogwood, wisteria, azaleas and 240,000 tulips announce spring’s arrival at Longwood Gardens. The horticultural haven’s Spring Blooms invites people to take in the sights and smells of the season. March 31-May 6. (610) 388-1000, longwoodgardens.org

April:

  • The nationally acclaimed Philadelphia Furniture Show exhibits home furnishings, ranging from innovative contemporary designs to adaptations of classical styles, at the 23rd Street Armory. April 13-15. (215) 387-8590, philadelphiafurnitureshow.com
  • The Navy Yard hosts the Philadelphia Antiques & Art Show, one of the country’s most prestigious such exhibitions. Furniture, fine and decorative arts, jewelry and folk art from nearly 60 exhibitors span Colonial through mid-century time periods, while contemporary works of art expand the show’s focus. April 20-22. philadelphiaantiquesandartshow.com
  • With hands-on events for kids, sophisticated activities for adults and a carnival, the citywide Philadelphia Science Festival demonstrates the role science plays in everyday life. April 21-28. (215) 448-1200, philasciencefestival.org
  • May through September, Parks on Tap, Philly’s roving beer garden, sets up in great outdoor spaces for five-day stretches. Each time, two popular trucks (one serves food; the other, craft beer and other adult beverages) link up with live music and outdoor games. April 25-September 30. (215) 422-3011, parksontap.com
  • High school, college and professional track stars compete at Franklin Field during the Penn Relays Carnival, the oldest and largest collegiate meet in the nation. With an average of one race every five minutes, it’s the most action-packed too. April 26-28. (215) 898-6151, thepennrelays.com
  • Always coinciding with the Penn Relays, Philadelphia Black Pride is a pioneering multi-day gathering of people of different races, ethnicities and sexual orientations. With a diverse array of events, the celebration is known to bring together thousands of members of the African-American and LGBT communities. April 26-29. phillyblackpride.org
  • Throughout Philly Tech Week, more than 25,000 business leaders, tech geeks and even the technically challenged participate in more than 100 events, including a variety of programs, interactive activities and workshops that celebrate and highlight emerging trends, advances and innovating uses of technology. April 27-May 5. phillytechweek.com
  • Dozens of bars, restaurants and shops in Philadelphia’s Fairmount neighborhood turn into galleries for the Fairmount Avenue Arts Crawl. Live music, dancing, kids’ activities and live demonstrations round out the festive day. April 28. Rain date: April 29. (215) 232-4766, fairmountcdc.org
  • South Philadelphia’s vibrant pre-Cinco de Mayo procession El Carnaval de Puebla showcases folk traditions from the Mexican state, the home of many Philadelphians, through a colorful parade and street fair featuring dancers in ornate costumes and oversized masks representing historic figures and folk dramas. April 29. carnavaldepuebla.com

May:

  • Nationally acclaimed journalists, writers, singers and performance artists head to Philadelphia each year for the Celebration of Black Arts. The event, which includes a gallery exhibition, conference, multi-genre performing and literary arts showcases and awards, is one of the oldest African-American literary events in the nation. May 1-31. (215) 232-4485, artsanctuary.org
  • Thousands of revelers take part in alfresco family fun at the South Street Spring Festival. At Headhouse Square and along South Street, the annual event includes a giant Maypole, a few dozen concerts, eating contests, a kids’ zone and nearly 200 vendors. It also includes Maifest, Brauhaus Schmitz’s German beer and dancing extravaganza. May 5. South Street Spring Festival, southstreet.com; Maifest, (267) 909-8814, brauhausschmitz.com
  • The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, America’s first fine arts school and museum, previews the works by graduating students of the BFA, Certificate and MFA programs during the 118th Annual Student Exhibition. It’s a perfect opportunity to acquire works from artists before they make it big. May 11. (215) 972-7600, pafa.org
  • The 10-mile, 40,000-runner Broad Street run spans the Logan neighborhood to South Philly—a raucous yet serious 39-year-old tradition. May 6. (215) 683-3594, broadstreetrun.com
  • The Schuylkill River’s Dad Vail Regatta, the largest collegiate regatta in the world, attracts more than 3,000 competitors from 125 colleges across the country and Canada. May 11-12. (610) 246-5902, dadvail.org
  • New Hope Celebrates’ Annual Pride Fest begins with an Equality Flag ceremony on May 13 and continues with a weeklong celebration. Saturday’s Pride Parade and Fair crosses the bridge from Lambertville, New Jersey to New Hope, the site of outdoor performances and events. May 13-20. newhopecelebrates.com
  • Musicians, dancers, actors, jugglers and storytellers from around the globe delight young audiences at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts during the Philadelphia International Children’s Festival. May 17-19. (215) 898-3900, annenbergcenter.org
  • People fill the streets of Kensington and Fishtown for the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Arts Festival, enjoying not only racing sculpture and art, but also live music and great food. The derby portion of the day celebrates human-powered transit as fanciful mobile sculptures parade along a three-mile urban obstacle course. May 19. kensingtonkineticarts.org
  • The Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival transforms the Rittenhouse neighborhood into a come-one, come-all street fest. Residents and visitors enjoy a day of music, outdoor shopping, fashion events, international entertainment and food from some of the city’s most renowned restaurants. May 19. (215) 972-0101, rittenhouserow.org
  • Everyone’s Italian at the South 9th Street Italian Market Festival, featuring live entertainment and activities, a bounty of international foods that includes homemade sausages, cannoli, imported meats and cheeses, fresh pastas and specialty cookware. Two must-see events: the Procession of Saints and the greased pole-climbing contest. May 19-20. (215) 278-2903, italianmarketfestival.com
  • Strawberry treats galore, live entertainment and pie-eating contests make for a fruity and fun time during the Strawberry Festival at Bucks County’s Peddler’s Village. May 19-20.  (215) 794-4000, peddlersvillage.com
  • The 122-year-old Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, the country’s oldest and largest event of its kind, features equestrian disciplines, exhibitions and an old-fashioned country fair at the Devon Show Grounds. May 24-June 3. (610) 964-0550, devonhorseshow.net
  • Outstanding furniture, glass, metalware, ceramics, folk art, quilts and other fine antiques from across the nation take the spotlight at the 47th annual Brandywine River Museum of Art Antiques Show. May 26-29. (610) 388-2700, brandywinemuseum.org
  • Morris Arboretum’s Garden Railway display features a quarter-mile track with seven loops and tunnels, 12 different rail lines, two cable cars and nine bridges, including a trestle bridge that visitors can walk under. May 26-September 3, daily; weekends through October 8; November 24-December 31 (closed December 24 and 25). (215) 247-5777, morrisarboretum.org

June:

  • One weekend features films by established and emerging Latino and Latin American filmmakers at the Latino Film Festival. The lineup includes feature films, shorts, youth films, animations and documentaries, in English or Spanish with subtitles, along with workshops and discussions. June 1-3. phlaff.org
  • Philly Beer Week, the 11th annual celebration of Philadelphia’s vibrant beer culture, takes over the city and region for 10 days. Events range from tastings to lectures to beer-pairing dinners. June 1-10. phillylovesbeer.org
  • Philly’s own The Roots bring together artists from various genres for the 10th annual Roots Picnic at the Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing. June 2. rootspicnic.com/philly
  • The PECO Multicultural Series on the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing celebrates the diverse cultures that make Philadelphia a distinct city. The free festival series includes the Hispanic Fiesta, Islamic Heritage Festival, Irish Festival and Brazilian Day Philadelphia, among others. June 3-September 16. (215) 922-2FUN, delawareriverwaterfront.com
  • The 43rd annual ODUNDE Festival holds the designation of the largest African-American street festival on the East Coast. After a week of events leading up to the festival, the day begins with a spiritual procession to the Schuylkill River to ring in the Yoruba New Year, followed by music, dance and vendors along South Street. June 10. (215) 732-8510, odundefestival.org
  • The 29th annual PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival takes place during International Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and features live music, DJs, food, drinks and a festive parade that runs from the Gayborhood to Penn’s Landing. June 10. (215) 875-9288, phillygaypride.org
  • James Joyce fans mark Bloomsday, the day on which Ulysses hero Leopold Bloom made his odyssey through Dublin, with a daylong reading from the novel outside the historic Rosenbach library, which holds a first edition of the manuscript. A week of related programming—aimed at first-time readers and longtime devotees—surrounds the event. June 16. (215) 732-1600, rosenbach.org
  • Each year for Juneteenth, Historic Germantown honors the ratification of the 13th Amendment with a parade along the Avenue, and a day of historical reenactments, tours, children’s activities and food and drink at the Johnson House Historic Site. June 19. Germantown Avenue, (215) 844-1683, freedomsbackyard.com
  • The Philadelphia Zoo’s Summer Ale Festival is all about craft beers and food truck fare among the birds, great apes, big cats and more wildlife. June 23. (215) 243-1100, philadelphiazoo.org
  • More than 300 artists from around the nation set up shop for the two-day Manayunk Arts Festival, the region’s largest outdoor juried arts festival. June 23-24. (215) 482-9565, manayunk.com
  • Wawa Welcome America! celebrates the nation’s birthday for the 26th year in a row with a multi-day party of free events for all ages throughout the city, including outdoor concerts, museum days, a patriotic parade, block parties and fantastic fireworks. June 28-July 4. welcomeamerica.com

July:

  • Phoenixville, Chester County, where parts of the campy 1950s horror/sci-fi flick The Blob were filmed, hosts the wacky Blobfest. The three-day extravaganza includes screenings, themed competitions, a street fair and the recreation of a pivotal scene, during which hundreds of frightened townspeople flee the still extant Colonial Theatre. July 13-15. (610) 917-1228, thecolonialtheatre.com
  • Eastern State Penitentiary’s Bastille Day consists of re-enactors and audience members playfully recreating the storming of the Bastille. Emceed by “Edith Piaf,” Philly’s version of this historic event includes experimental cabaret performances, dancing baguettes and Marie Antoinette tossing 3,000 or so Tastykakes to the crowd. July 14. (215) 236-3300, easternstate.org
  • Presented by WXPN and AfroTaino Productions, Nuevofest, the free alt-Latin music festival, a production of WXPN’s Latin Roots Live series, at World Cafe Live features acts from New York to San Antonio to Spain. July 15. (215) 413-9006, latinroots.org
  • WXPN, the public radio station of the University of Pennsylvania, brings together musical legends and new performers—this year’s lineup includes The War On Drugs, Preservation Hall Band, Sturgill Simpson—along the Camden Waterfront for the XPoNential Music Festival. July 27-29. (215) 898-6677, xpnfest.org

August:

  • Hailed by Ebony magazine as “the black Sundance,” the BlackStar Film Festival screens artistically excellent independent films about the global black experience and films by people of color. August 2-5. blackstarfest.org
  • Where better to celebrate craft beer than in the neighborhood that helped launch the craze? All afternoon and evening, Northern Liberties vendors close down North 2nd Street for the family-friendly 2nd Street Festival, complete with beer gardens, food, workshops, art, street performances and two stages’ worth of bands. August 5. 2ndstfestival.org
  • The 57th annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, Philly’s answer to Woodstock, attracts musicians, storytellers and craftspeople for a weekend of song and merriment at Old Pool Farm in Schwenksville. August 16-19. (800) 556-FOLK (3655), folkfest.org

September:

  • For two weeks of artistic pleasure, avant-garde performance meets street theater throughout the city during the Fringe Festival. September 6-22. (215) 413-1318, fringearts.com
  • Kennett Square’s 33rd annual Mushroom Festival puts the fun in fungi during a weekend of music, food, contests, exhibits and activities in the “Mushroom Capital of the World. September 8-9. (610) 925-3373, mushroomfestival.org
  • The six-week Scarecrow Competition and Display features 150 larger-than-life scarecrow creations on view throughout Peddler’s Village. Scarecrow Festival weekend includes scarecrow-making workshops, pumpkin painting, live entertainment and pumpkin pie-eating contests. September 10-October 28. (215) 794-4000, peddlersvillage.com
  • Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off each year with the Feria Del Bario, continues with the Puerto Rican Day Parade, Mexican Restaurant Week and festivals throughout the region. September 15-October 15. phila.gov
  • Thrill-seekers celebrate the Halloween season by testing their nerves at Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind the Walls, one of the country’s most popular haunted houses, inside an abandoned prison. September 21-November 9. (215) 236-3300, easternstate.org
  • The proud-to-be-Chester County Victory Brewing Company presents the Downingtown Fall Fest. Neighbors and visitors enjoy live music, a variety of food and craft vendors and the Victory Beer Garden, all along blocked-off Green Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. September 30. (610) 269-1523, downingtownfallfest.com

October:

  • During the 19th annual Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST), art connoisseurs and neophytes visit local artists of all mediums in their studios in neighborhoods throughout the city. October 1-6. (215) 546-7775, philaopenstudios.org
  • The entire city celebrates DesignPhiladelphia, the nation’s oldest festival of its kind, with over 85 events that highlight local to global designers. The Center for Architecture and Design hosts exhibits, lectures, workshops and demonstrations focused on architecture, interior design, industrial design, multimedia and urban design at venues all around town. October 4-13. designphiladelphia.org
  • For the Chrysanthemum Festival, the horticultural experts at Longwood Gardens shape 16,000 chrysanthemums into clouds, spheres, spirals, columns, pagodas and more. One highlight: the Thousand Bloom Mum, featuring more than 1,500 perfect flowers on one plant. October 5-November 18. (610) 388-1000, longwoodgardens.org
  • With music, food, sidewalk sales and other festivities, the Midtown Village Fall Festival takes the neighborhood block party to an ultra-fun level. October 6. (215) 670-4323, midtownvillagephilly.org
  • More than 160 teams race fiberglass dragon boats, complete with heads and tails, on a 500-meter course on the Schuylkill River during the Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival. The fall event draws thousands of participants and spectators. October 6. (610) 642-2333, philadragonboatfestival.com
  • Artists, makers, designers, entertainers, restaurateurs and historians all come out to celebrate the neighborhood’s creative spirit during the Old City Festival. Throughout several blocks along North 3rd Street and Arch Street, activities, exhibits and programs appeal to families, as well as the over-21 crowd. October 7. (215) 592-7929, oldcitydistrict.org
  • OutFest, part of the National Coming Out Day Festival, is the largest event of its kind in the world. The 10-block Gayborhood party packs in the fun with drag shows, games, bar crawls, music, shopping and a main stage featuring live entertainment—including a high-heeled race. October 7. (215) 875-9288, phillygaypride.org
  • The 27th Philadelphia Film Festival showcases the best in independent and foreign cinema in theaters and venues around Philadelphia. Attendees take in short films, feature-length films, animated movies and special guest appearances. October 18-October 28. (267) 239-2941, filmadelphia.org
  • Rowers and landlubbers look forward to the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, one of the nation’s largest and most festive rowing events featuring athletes of all ages and skill levels, from beginners to Olympic-level racers. October 27-28. (215) 280-0483, hosr.org
  • Several neighborhood organizations partner with local businesses to produce Bloktoberfest, an all-ages celebration of beer, food and music that stretches across the afternoon and along four blocks of South Street. Date to be announced. bloktoberfest.com
  • HarvestFest, the annual Southwest community event at Bartram’s Garden, features hayrides, cider press, face painting, cooking and canning workshops and more fun fall-related activities. Date to be announced. (215) 729-5281, bartramsgarden.org
  • The National Constitution Center awards its Liberty Medal to individuals who strive to secure liberty for people all over the world. Past recipients include John Lewis, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Malala Yousafzai and, in 2017, Senator John McCain. Date to be announced. (215) 409-6700, constitutioncenter.org

November:

  • Museum quality handmade jewelry, textiles, and mixed media are on display and for sale during the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. November 2-4. (215) 684-7930, pmacraftshow.org
  • The Apple Festival at Peddler’s Village honors the classic fruit. Visitors indulge in old-fashioned country apple butter, apple cider, apple dumplings, apple fritters, caramel-dipped apples and pie-eating contests. November 3-4. (215) 794-4000, peddlersvillage.com
  • During A Longwood Gardens Christmas, thousands of poinsettias, towering Christmas trees and fragrant flowers transform the indoor gardens, where concerts take place daily. Outside, 500,000 lights glitter in the trees, and fountains dance to seasonal music. November 16-December 31. (610) 388-1000, longwoodgardens.org
  • With a fast course that winds through the city’s historic downtown, past the stunning Philadelphia Museum of Art and along scenic Boathouse Row, the Philadelphia Marathon is one of the country’s premier—and most scenic—running events. The weekend also includes the Rothman Institute 8K race, a half-marathon, a Kids Fun Run and the two-day Health & Fitness Expo. November 17-18. (215) 683-2122, philadelphiamarathon.com
  • The nation’s first Thanksgiving Day Parade keeps the tradition going every year. The parade, produced by 6ABC and sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts, wows the crowds with fancy floats, giant balloons, talented marching bands and other festive entertainment along the JFK Boulevard and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. November 22. 6abc.com
  • Taking place at venues throughout the city, the First Person Arts Festival is the only event in the world dedicated exclusively to art based on personal experiences. The multidisciplinary festival features storytelling shows, memoir readings, film screenings, performances, experiential tours and workshops. Dates to be announced. (267) 402-2055, firstpersonarts.org
  • Everything is merry and bright at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival Featuring the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show. With a nightly show of 50,000 lights choreographed to holiday music, carousel, winter beer garden, fire pits and Philly-themed mini golf, the park transforms into a magical wonderland. November 15-December 31. 6th & Race Streets, (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org

December:

  • Pennsylvania Ballet presents its annual production of the classic George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® at the Academy of Music. For more than 40 years, this show has been a holiday favorite for locals and visitors; at least one performance of the ballet will be sensory-friendly. December 7-31. (215) 893-1999, paballet.org
  • General George Washington leads a surprise attack on the British during the 66th annual reenactment of Washington Crossing the Delaware River. More than 200 re-enactors don Colonial army uniforms to recreate the daring trek at Washington Crossing Historic Park. History buffs of all ages join in Colonial-era games, demonstrations and activities during the two reenactments. December 25. (215) 493-4076, washingtoncrossingpark.org
  • The SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront says farewell to the old year and rings in the new with two pyrotechnic extravaganzas over the Delaware River–one at 6 p.m. and a second at midnight. December 31. (215) 922-2FUN, delawareriverwaterfront.com

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

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