Six Food and Drink Festivals to Get You Ready For the Start of Summer

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The human-powered Kenzinger Truck at the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby Photo: Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby

Forget about Memorial Day. Philly’s summer starts this weekend. The forecast calls for sun and temps in the seventies, which is perfect weather for the wondrous array of outdoor festivals taking place throughout the city and its surrounding suburbs over the next few days. The weekend planner holds everything from artsy beardos piloting homemade, human-powered vehicles through the streets of East Kensington to the ritzy Rittenhouse crowd partying down on Walnut Street. And best of all, each of these festive affairs will have plenty of food and drink on order. All you have to do is show, eat, drink and have good time. Keep reading to see what’s happening.

The Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Trenton Avenue Arts Festival:
The Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Trenton Avenue Arts Festival returns Saturday, bringing with it a procession of enormous and often completely absurd people-powered vehicle floats, and a varied mix of artists and musicians to the wide, cobblestoned streets in and around East Kensington’s Trenton Avenue. Along with the derby, and tremendous assemblage of arts and artists, more than a dozen food trucks and vendors of all things edible will be on hand to quell the crowds’ collective hunger. Look for everything from Dapper Dogs and Little Baby’s Ice Cream to the Surf and Turf Truck and Taco Mondo.

Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival:
For a more well-mannered affair, consider the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival, which on Saturday will have Walnut Street lined with tables and tents that will feature food from Sbraga, Dandelion, Lacroix, Pub & Kitchen, Oyster House, Underdogs, Shake Shack and more. Multiple tasting stations set up by the PLCB will also flank the streets and offer tastes of Chairman’s Selection wines, as well as an assortment of seasonally appropriate cocktails. Other boozy attractions include a Whisper Outdoor Lounge, where drinks and snacks from Whisper, Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company, and Corner Foodery will be available. Starr Restaurants are bringing their own Culinary Demonstration Stage to 19th Street, and demoing all sorts of dishes served at their many restaurants. They will also be accepting non-perishable food items and monetary donations for Philabundance, and unloading a slew of old china, glasses and other tabletop accessories. Proceeds from sales will also benefit Philabundance.

Phair:
Not necessarily a festival, but rather a new weekly happening, Phair, an open air market that’s going to be a regular weekend fixture at 23rd and Arch streets this spring and summer, kicks off on Saturday. Artisans, craft-folk, and creative types of every stripe and and shade will have their wares on display. Each weekend going forward will also find several mobile munch operators and food vendors. For the debut Rival Bros., Poi Dog Snack Shop, Made in the Shade Beverage Co., and Sweetbox Cupcakes are all lined up.

Italian Market Festival:
What’s billed as “Philadelphia’s Largest Block Party,” takes over on the South Philly stretch of Ninth Street both Saturday and Sunday. Curbside vendors will have some of the market’s finest edible offerings, from cheeses and meats to fun, festival foods on offer. Keep your eyes peeled for old school homemade wine and hair-straightening DIY limoncello. There’s also going to be arts and crafts, music and the must-experience Procession of Saints.

South Philadelphia Taproom Eighth Annual Wheat Beer Festival:
A little further south, the venerable South Philadelphia Taproom will spill out on to Hicks Street with more than 30 different styles of wheat beers from breweries near and far. Chef Scott Schroeder and his crew will have some barbecue action available, while the West Philadelphia Orchestra, Adam and Dave's Bloodline, Arrah and the Ferns, and other live music acts perform.

Brandywine Valley Craft Brewers’ Festival:
Out in the western burbs, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant’s Media outpost hosts its 13th Annual Brandywine Valley Craft Brewers’ Festival on Saturday. More than 25 regional breweries — Flying Fish Brewing Company, Lancaster Brewing Company, Old Forge Brewing Company, Stoudt's Brewing Company, Tired Hands Brewing Company, Triumph Brewing Company, Troegs Brewery, Victory Brewing Company are just a few that will be on hand — will have their latests and greatest beers available. And food will be provided by Iron Hill and available for purchase on a pay-as-you-go basis. The beers are covered in the $50 per person admission.