“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’”~ Robin Williams

Spring has sprung, and there are a number of festivals in the Philadelphia area where you can celebrate longer days, warmer weather and flowers blooming around the region with your family and friends. – Melony Roy

(Credit: sakura.japanphilly.org)

The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival

Japanese Tea House and Garden
March 23rd – April 21st

The centuries-old tradition of Sakura Matsuri, known as the Cherry Blossom Festival, takes place throughout Philadelphia from March 23rd through April 21st. Highlights from this year’s festival include Japanese Culture Week, back-to-back theatre nights, the Cherry Blossom 5K, performances from comedic troop Kyogen, and the first-ever Kabuki performance at the Kimmel Center. The centerpiece event, Sakura Sunday, takes place on April 15th and is an action-packed celebration of Japanese arts and culture in Fairmount Park.

The cherry blossom is Japan’s national flower, and they are sometimes offered as a symbol of friendship to other nations. They also have significance in Japanese culture and are a traditional motif in art, literature, and cuisine. The Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festival continues the legacy established in 1962, when the Japanese government donated cherry trees to Philadelphia in honor 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.

2012 First Philadelphia Flamenco Festival

Christ Church Neighborhood House
20 N. American Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
March 19-April 1, 2012

Philadelphia’s all-female flamenco dance company, Pasión y Arte, will host the First Philadelphia Flamenco Festival. The festival features film screenings, master classes, post- performance discussions, receptions and the work of Rosario Toledo, an internationally renowned Spanish dancer/choreographer.
Flamenco Movie Night features a short cut of the work-in-progress documentary Inheritors of a Burden, by Carolina Loyola-Garcia, plus Lise Raven’s El Proceso, a short documentary on PyA’s residency and collaboration with Toledo.

Philadelphia CineFest

March 22-April 1, 2012
(267) 765-9800

This 11-day film festival showcases more than 135 of the best works in the independent and foreign cinema in theaters throughout Philadelphia. For a complete list of screenings and events, please visit the website.

(Credit: phillyfarmfest.org)

Philly Farm & Food Fest

PA Convention Center
12th & Arch Sts
April 1

The first-ever Philly Farm & Food Fest spotlights local farmers and food artisans in the Philadelphia area. Events include a healthy food scavenger hunt for kids, workshops and of course, tons of local (and delicious!) food for sampling and for sale. The event is presented by Fair Food and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA).

The 2nd Annual Philadelphia Science Festival

Various places around the city
April 20th-29th

The Philadelphia Science Festival is a 10-day celebration of science that features lectures, debates, hands-on activities, special exhibitions and a variety of informal science education experiences for all ages.

On Saturday, April 21st from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Logan Circle will become a science wonderland during the Philadelphia Science Festival’s Science Carnival. Over 80 exhibitors will offer family-friendly experiments, activities, games, and live entertainment on two stages.

Scientists, engineers, and other experts will appear in local libraries and community centers on the afternoons of April 25th and April 26th and provide over 50 fun and free programs afterschool and into the evenings.

On April 27th from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m., stargazing sites will be set up in Philadelphia at community centers, parks, charter schools, and even at a burial ground. A group of local astronomers will bring both their equipment and vast knowledge of the night sky to each location.

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

(Credit: Philadelphia Book Festival Street Fair)

The Philadelphia Book Festival

April 16-21, 2012
Parkway Central Library
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Celebrate reading and literacy on the Parkway at the sixth annual Philadelphia Book Festival.

Enjoy evening author events featuring world-renowned writers like Philip Levine, Nikki Finney, Sonia Sanchez, and Robert Polito. Also on tap is Friday’s First Person StorySlam, where competing storytellers will expose their best mistaken-identity stories.

On Saturday, April 21, in conjunction with the Philadelphia Science Festival, enjoy an afternoon of talks from celebrated authors, such as bestselling science writer Dava Sobel, D. Graham Burnett, and Jonathan Haidt.

Flavors of the Avenue

April 28th
Noon- 4pm
East Passyunk Avenue, between Dickinson and Morris

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 signature dishes and drinks. Outside of the Flavors tent will be a street festival with live music and a craft market. Last year’s participating restaurants included 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.

Philadelphia International Children’s Festival

The Annenburg Center for Performing Arts
May 3rd – May 5th

Enjoy family-friendly music, theatre and dance performances at the 28th annual Philadelphia International Children’s Festival. In addition to a host of fun and interactive activities in the FUN ZONE, the Outdoor Plaza will have crafts, face-painting, jugglers and more. Tickets are $10-$15 and include access to the Children’s Festival FUN ZONE. The FUN ZONE opens at 10 a.m. daily and is free for all ticket holders.

Strawberry Festival

Peddler’s Village,
Routes 202 & 263
Lahaska, Bucks County, PA
May 5 & May 6, 2012
10am- 6pm (Rain or Shine)

Peddler’s Village has been celebrating strawberries at the annual Strawberry Festival for 43 years. Strawberries are served up in a variety of forms–dipped in chocolate; in assorted pastries, shortcake, jams and fritters; and fresh. Everyone takes home a few pints of fresh berries and jars of preserves to enjoy, too. Plus, the country fair features live music, stilt-walkers, children’s craft areas, and a strawberry pie eating contest. Admission and parking for this event is free.

(credit: Rittenhouse Row)

Rittenhouse Row Festival

May 19th
Noon- 5pm
Walnut Street (between Broad & 19th)

One of Philadelphia’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 19th & 20th
10am- 5pm (Rain or Shine)

The South 9th Street Italian Market Street Festival takes place in the nation’s oldest outdoor market. The annual neighborhood party features Italian, Mexican and Vietnamese delicacies prepared by the market’s merchants. The streets will be lined with vendors and food and there will be a procession of the saints as well.