Spring has sprung and Philadelphia is getting festive. Celebrate food, fruit, films, and fun around the region with family and friends. Here’s a list of festivals planned in Philly for 2011:

The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival
Japanese Tea House and Garden
March 4 – April 10

Century’s old tradition of Sakura Matsuri, known as the Cherry Blossom Festival, takes place throughout Philadelphia and includes traditional tea ceremonies, sushi, music, films, origami, children’s activities and Japanese theater performances. Most events are free and offer something for all ages to enjoy.

Cherry blossoms are Japan’s national flower and are sometimes offered as a symbol of friendship to other nations. They have deep significance in Japanese culture and are a traditional motif in art, literature, and cuisine. The festival continues a legacy established in 1962 when the Japanese government donated cherry trees to Philadelphia in honor of the Sesquicentennial of American Independence.

Some of the best places to see cherry blossoms are in Fairmount Park along Kelly Drive and near the Japanese House and Garden.

Philadelphia International Children’s Festival
The Annenburg Center for Performing Arts
April 7-9

Enjoy dancers, actors, musicians, jugglers, acrobats, and puppeteers, as well as a host of fun and interactive activities in the FUN ZONE at the 27th annual Philadelphia Children’s Festival. Tickets are $10-$15 and include access to the Children’s Festival FUN ZONE. This year’s FUN ZONE performances include the Give and Take Jugglers, Hoop-La! by Funtown Productions, Joe Tayoun and his Middle Eastern percussion ensemble, Alex and the Kaleidoscope Band, Funtown Productions, Steve Pullara and His Cool Beans Band and more! The FUN ZONE opens at 10 AM daily and is free for all ticket holders.

The Philadelphia International Festival of Arts (PIFA)
April 7 – May 1

The first ever Philadelphia International Festival of Arts is a 25-day cultural extravaganza celebrating music, dance, theater, circus acts, fashion, culinary arts and many other forms of art. PIFA 2011 will pay homage to the artistic energy of Paris 1910-1920 by celebrating works from that era and new creations inspired by the brashly innovative spirit of the period.

It all culminates Saturday, April 30th from 11am-7pm with a free outdoor street fair on South Broad Street featuring a giant Ferris wheel, live entertainment, and high flying aerialists performing more than 200 feet in the air.

For a complete list of events, visit www.pifa.org.

April 7 – 14

After a year hiatus, CineFest returns with over 60 feature films for the 8-day festival running Thursday, April 7 to Thursday, April 14. CineFest will feature the very best of Sundance, SXSW, and the Cannes Film Festival. This year’s venues will include the Ritz East One and Two, the Painted Bride, and the Trocadero.

The first ever CineFest Street Fair will take place Saturday, April 9, in front of The Ritz Five. This free event will include filmmaker interviews, musicians, special guest MC’s, comedians, food, vendors and more.

On Sunday April 10, The Piazza at Schmidt’s will host an all-day martial arts mini fest celebrating Tony Jaa, screening all 3 of his ONG BAK films and martial arts demonstrations all day.

The Philadelphia Cinema Alliance is a non-profit organization founded in 2009 to produce Philadelphia’s two existing world class film festivals, CineFest and QFest.

For a complete list of screenings and events please visit www.phillycinema.org.

The Philadelphia Book Festival
Parkway Central Library
April 11 – 16

The Philadelphia Book Festival is an annual celebration of books, music, people and ideas hosted by the Free Library of Philadelphia at the Parkway Central Library. Over 25,000 book-lovers from across the mid-Atlantic region will attend the weeklong fest, and this year’s celebration features headline appearances by writer and actor Tina Fey, raconteur Garrison Keillor, and two-time U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan.

On Saturday, April 16th, the festival closes with the area’s largest free, open air street fair from 10am-5pm on Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Special events and activities throughout the day include author appearances, book signings, live music, and a variety of food vendors.

Philadelphia Science Festival
April 15-28

For two weeks the Philadelphia Science Festival takes to the streets, bars, museums, and classrooms of the city to showcase how vital science and technology are to everyday life. Organized by the Franklin Institute, the Festival is part of a national movement to make science hands-on and accessible with dozens of free events.

The Festival brings together more than 100 organizations in a Philadelphia wide event fueled by the best scientific and educational resources the region has to offer. It will include a series of Science Cafés and food – science events with partners like Yards Brewery, Philadelphia City Food Tours, and the Kite & Key. Sophisticated activities for adults, hands-on events for children, and a carnival will take place along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The complete calendar of events is available on the festival website.

Flavors of the Avenue
East Passyunk Avenue, between Dickinson and Morris
April 30 noon- 5pm

Enjoy a true taste of more than 20 of the most popular restaurants and bars of East Passyunk Avenue. Under a big top tent sample the signature dishes and drinks of this year’s participating restaurants: Birra, Cantina Los Caballitos, Chhaya, Chiarella’s, El Zarape, Fond, Fuel, Green Eggs Cafe, Izumi, Le Virtu, Lucky 13, Mamma Maria, Mondial Cafe, Paradiso, Plenty, Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar, Salt and Pepper, Stateside, Stogie Joe’s and Tre Scalini.

Outside of the Flavors tent, Crafty Balboa at the Fountain will host street festival with live music and a craft market. After Flavors, boutiques and salons will be holding a Flavors Fashion Crawl, with trunk shows, sales, demonstrations, refreshments and other special events. The Bottle Shop will host a Beer Tasting block party. Both events are from 5-8pm and are free!

Strawberry Festival
Peddler’s Village, Lahaska PA
April 30- May 1
10am- 6pm (Rain or Shine)

For 42 years Peddler’s Village has been celebrating strawberries with its annual Strawberry Festival. This two day old-fashioned country fair features live music, stilt walkers, children’s craft areas, and a strawberry pie eating contest.

Festive foods include freshly dipped chocolate strawberries, smoothies, freshly bakes pastries, strawberry shortcake, fritters, and pies. Everyone takes home a few pints of fresh berries and jars of preserves to enjoy at home.

Admission and parking for this event are free.

Chestnut Hill Home & Garden Festival
Germantown Avenue
May 1st
11am- 5pm

The 14th Annual Home and Garden festival will feature over 150 home and garden vendors, live music, amusement rides, games, face painting, and al fresco dining from Chestnut Hill restaurants.

The colorful outdoor market will also include local green businesses offering sustainable products from organic plants to electrical bikes in “Eco Alley,” as well as, homemade furniture, jewelry, art and collectables.

The festival is free and $5 all-day parking is available in several of Chestnut Hill’s lots.

Rittenhouse Row Festival
Walnut Street (between Broad & 19th)
May 21st
Noon- 6pm

One of Philly’s most popular festivals is the Rittenhouse Row Festival. Each May, this one day festival shuts down Walnut Street, between Broad and 19th, for international entertainment, outdoor shopping, fashion events, children’s activities, and food and drinks from the city’s most popular restaurants.

South 9th Street Italian Market Festival
May 14-15
10am- 5pm (Rain or Shine)

The nation’s oldest outdoor market hosts its annual neighborhood wide party, the South 9th Street Italian Market Street Festival, May 21st and 22nd. The festival features Italian, Mexican, and Vietnamese delicacies prepared by the market’s merchants.

The streets will be lined with vendors, a procession of the saints, stages with live entertainment, and a first ever Half Ball Tournament to benefit the Mummers Fancy Brigades.

Multicultural Festivals
Penn’s Landing
May 22- September 24

Celebrate heritage all summer long during Penn’s Landing series of Multicultural Festivals. Each weekend a different nation’s food, music, culture and entertainment will be featured on the RiverStage on the Great Plaza. All events produced by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation are free to the public. For details please visit www.delawareriverwaterevents.com.

Edited by Melony Roy

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