When Philadelphia and food are mentioned in the same sentence, usually cheesesteaks, soft pretzels and water ice follow. But Philly cuisine is much more than hoagies and snack foods. The City of Brotherly Love’s sizable immigrant population coupled with a region rich in agricultural products has contributed to an expansive mixture of dishes that are celebrated via festivals and fairs. Don’t miss out on these top 2014 summer festivals, where amazing food takes center stage.
St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral Greek Festival
256 S. 8th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Date: May 30–June 2, 2014
Usher in the summer by experiencing the sounds and tastes of Greece right in downtown Philadelphia during Memorial Day weekend. Come with an empty stomach to delight in all of your favorite Greek dishes that are homemade on the spot. Gyros, souvlaki and baklava stands please the crowds as kids create arts and crafts and adults tour the flea market to the background sound of Greek music. In the evening, Greek bands and dancers perform festive music and scrumptious buffet dinners may be enjoyed under the lights.
Islamic Heritage Festival
The Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing
101 Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Date: June 14, 2014
The 22nd Annual Islamic Heritage Festival returns to Penn’s Landing on June 14th from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. This is one of the biggest Islamic festivals in the United States. Traditionally, it begins with drill teams and marching bands lighting up Old City’s streets with a Unity in Diversity Parade. Following the parade, free health screenings, lectures by prominent scholars, live entertainment, games, puppet shows and arts and crafts for the kids are showcased. An open market bazaar is the real star of the event, featuring 75 vendors representing books, crafts, clothing, jewelry and cuisine from Muslim cultures around the globe.
Brandywine Food & Wine Festival
Myrick Conservation Center
1760 Unionville-Wawaset Road
West Chester, PA 19380
Date: June 14, 2014
All of the best from the vineyards of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail come together for an indescribably delicious food fest at the Myrick Conservation Center on June 14th from noon to 6 p.m. Big Band Package and the Deb Callahan band will rock the day away as free classes, including a honey bee demonstration, a barista class by Pike Creek Coffee Roasters and a two-course cooking demonstration by Chef Amann of Amani’s BYOB, keep participants glued to the food. Craft vendors will be on hand to show off such wares as pottery, candles, handbags and jewelry, while food vendors tempt the hungry. Jimmy’s BBQ, Sherri’s Crab Cakes, Lavinia’s Cookies and Farm Fromage are just a few of almost 20 businesses that will be cooking something up at the event.
Related: Philadelphia Summer Festival Guide
Bluegrass and Blueberries Festival
Routes 202 & 263
Lahaska, PA 18931
Date: July 12–13, 2014
In celebration of National Blueberry Month, Peddler’s Village will host a Bluegrass and Blueberries Festival on July 12th and 13th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Don’t worry about admission and parking because both are free at this everything-blue event. Melt those blues away and come hungry for fresh, juicy, locally grown blueberries and live entertainment. Country music and bluegrass performers are sure to get your blue suede shoes tapping while you sample some of the best homemade blueberry jams, smoothies and baked goods in the area.
Kennett Square Mushroom Festival
110 S. Union St.
Kennett Square, PA 19348
Date: Sept. 5–7, 2014
Say farewell to summer during the 29th Annual Kennett Square Mushroom Festival. The fungi fun kicks off on September 5th with an old-fashioned carnival and community parade down State Street, featuring marching bands and street-side dining provided by Kennett Square eateries. An antique car show, 5K run, children’s entertainment, culinary events and growers’ exhibits are scheduled for the weekend, and you won’t want to miss the mushroom appetizer cook-off, the painted mushroom silent auction and the national Fried Mushroom Eating Contest. Of course, most of the action takes place along the mile-long street market, where you’ll find more mushroom-inspired foods and paraphernalia than you ever dreamed possible.
Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.