Arts & Culture

Philadelphia Summer Festival Guide 2014

July 9, 2014 11:12 AM

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(Credit: William Thomas Cain, Getty Images)

(Credit: William Thomas Cain, Getty Images)

Summer is in full swing, and Philly has festivals galore (and stifling heat!) to prove it. Here’s where to eat, drink, shop, listen to music and revel in the sunshine this season. – Chelsea Karnash

Various venues
July 10 – 21

QFest returns to Philly this July, bringing more than 150 screenings to the City of Brotherly Love. As usual, the focus is on LGBT films, and there are plenty of premieres and parties on the schedule.

(Credit: William Thomas Cain, Getty Images)

(Credit: William Thomas Cain, Getty Images)

Bastille Day
Fairmount neighborhood
July 12

Say viva la France at Fairmount’s annual Bastille Day celebration, featuring The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, a comedic reenactment of the storming of the Bastille and, of course, tons of French-inspired food, drinks and music from local restaurants. Don’t forget to look out for everyone’s favorite part, flying Tastykakes!

Hispanic Fiesta
Penn’s Landing
July 12

It’s a Latin fiesta at Penn’s Landing, complete with delicioso cuisine and tons of salsa, merengue, samba, mariachi and flamenco dancing. The Saturday fest is hosted by the Council of Spanish-speaking Organizations and is one of Penn’s Landing’s most popular summer events.

University City Dining Days
Throughout University City
July 17 – 27

Feast on the cheap during UCity Dining Days, when three course meals at various restaurants are offered at three different price levels ($15, $25 or $35). Participants this year include Han Dynasty, Distrito and Dock Street, plus 25 others.

(HOW 'BOUT A BIG, TOOTHY SMILE?  Visitors watch and photograph big cats as they move through the Philadelphia Zoo's overhead trail enclosures, dubbed "Zoo 360."  Photo by John McDevitt)

(HOW ‘BOUT A BIG, TOOTHY SMILE? Visitors watch and photograph big cats as they move through the Philadelphia Zoo’s overhead trail enclosures, dubbed “Zoo 360.” Photo by John McDevitt)

Philadelphia Zoo’s Summer Ale Fest
Philadelphia Zoo
July 19

Drink with the animals…or at least close to them! This creature-and-craft-brew-filled event allows guests to sample an array of craft beer and cuisine while surrounded by the zoo’s amazing animals.

AC Food & Wine Festival
Various locations in Atlantic City
July 25 – 27

Three days of food and wine descend on Atlantic City during the Food & Wine Fest. In addition to the smorgasbord of food and drinks available for sampling, gastro celebs in attendance include Robert Irvine and the Queen Bee of All Things Domestic herself, Martha Stewart!

XPoNential Music Fest
Susquehanna Bank Arts Center & Wiggins Park in Camden, NJ
July 25 – 27

Numerous musical acts converge on Camden during this weekend-long concert series. In 2014, the 20-plus artist lineup includes The Hold Steady, Ingrid Michaelson and Diego Garcia.

East Passyunk Avenue Car & Street Festival
East Passyunk Avenue between Broad and Dickinson
July 27

Peruse more than 140 antique, muscle and custom cars make an appearance at this annual event, which also offers live music, vendors and even activities for the kids like a moon bounce.

(credit: Kule Mele)

(credit: Kule Mele)

ACANA African Festival
Penn’s Landing
August 3

Another popular cultural fest comes to Penn’s Landing. This time, the focus in on Africa, and the festivities include the various music, dance, food and drinks of the vast continent.

2nd Street Festival
Northern Liberties
August 3

Clear your schedule for this one: The sixth annual 2nd Street Festival features tons of food, crafts, music, art and yes, beer gardens (!!!) in the city’s Northern Liberties section.

(credit: Mike DeNardo)

(credit: Mike DeNardo)

PA Dutch Festival
Reading Terminal Market
August 7 – 9

Partake in Pennsylvania Dutch culture for a weekend at Reading Terminal’s annual event. From traditional food and drinks to buggy rides and a petting zoo, this festival brings all the charm of Pennsylvania Dutch country to Center City, Philadelphia.

Mad Decent Block Party
Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing
August 8

Can’t devote three days to the XPoNential Fest? Hit up the Mad Decent Block Party instead. Featuring artists and DJs like Diplo and Chance the Rapper, this massive block party is yet another example of Philly’s jam-packed live music sched.

Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (Credit: Will Klein)

Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (Credit: Will Klein)

Bug Fest
Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
August 9 – 10

Get up-close-and-personal with all kinds of creepy crawlies and this year’s Bug Fest. In addition to, say, petting a tarantula or watching a live roach race, visitors can also meet a real entomologist or try “treats” like “chocolate chirp cookies.”


Philly Folk Festival
Old Poole Farm near Schwenksville, Pa.
August 15 – 17

With dozens of performers spread over three days, the annual Philly Folk Festival is the perfect end-of-summer event for the hardcore music-lover. Camp out, stay in a hotel or just drop by Old Poole Farm for the day, and your ears will be treated to tons of live music from a variety of musicians.

Caribbean Festival
Penn’s Landing
August 17
Can’t take an actual trip to the Caribbean? Head to this festival at Penn’s Landing, where you’ll get a (literal) taste of island culture a bit closer to home.

2013 Made in America Festival feauring Nine Inch Nails

Made in America Festival
Ben Franklin Parkway
August 30 – 31

Jay-Z and Budweiser’s epic Labor Day weekend music fest returns to the Ben Franklin Parkway for Round 3, featuring Tiesto, Kings of Leon, J. Cole, Bleachers and many more.

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