Philadelphia Calendar of Events

Winter

January 1

Mummers Parade. One of Philadelphia’s most unique traditions, the annual New Year’s Day celebration is a bacchanal of music, dance, and ridiculous costumes with roots in 17th-century European folk celebrations. The parade begins at City Hall and proceeds south down Broad Street. “String bands” feature instruments; “comics” put on humorous themed skits; “fancies” place the focus on attire. Mummer “brigades” earn prizes; onlookers are traditionally high-spirited, and possibly still drunk from the night before. There's even an official Mummers Museum in South Philly. www.phillymummers.com

Spring

Early March

Philadelphia Flower Show. One of the city’s most high-profile happenings, Philly’s Flower Show is the oldest continuously running indoor floral exhibition in the world. Attracting more than a quarter-million viewers, the show features rare and ornate displays, a judged competition, hands-on instruction, and live entertainment. It’s hosted every March at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. theflowershow.com

April

Cherry Blossom Festival. The Japan Society of Greater Philadelphia organizes the city’s take on the elaborate welcome-to-spring celebrations held in Japan and beyond, with events throughout the city and its suburbs. The occasion culminates with “Sakura Sunday,” a vibrant celebration at the Horticulture Center of Fairmount Park. subarucherryblossom.org

Late April

Penn Relays. Established in 1895 by the University of Pennsylvania, the Penn Relays are among America’s oldest athletic traditions, now an international affair that attracts teams from around the globe to race over a three-day period. Held at Penn’s historic Franklin Field, it regularly draws six-figure crowds. www.thepennrelays.com

Early May

Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival. This annual festival, which takes place along the main vein of Walnut Street, highlights all the neighborhood’s offerings and is a bit more democratic in its invite policy than some of the more exclusive goings-on in the area. Food, drink, live music and entertainment, and even fashion segments make up the programming at the fest, traditionally held in early May. rittenhouserow.org

Summer

Late May

Roots Picnic. Even though they’re now the big-time house band for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Philly’s own The Roots still show a heavy amount of love for their hometown. Their annual one-day music festival has attracted A-List talent to Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing since 2008. Past acts have included everyone from Erykah Badu and Snoop Dogg to Nas and Vampire Weekend. The Roots, of course, make their way onstage, too. rootspicnic.com

Late May–Early June

Philly Beer Week. Conceived as a way to bring together regional craft breweries and their out-of-town cohorts, Philly Beer Week has blossomed into one of the nation's largest and most ambitious brew-centric events. The schedule comprises hundreds of events (tastings, dinners, rare releases, meet the brewer, etc.) hosted at an equally dizzying array of area bars, restaurants, and venues. A steadily growing tourism draw, Beer Week stretches across a 10-day span from late May to early June. phillybeerweek.org

July 4

Wawa Welcome America! Wawa, the region’s best-loved convenience store chain, sponsors this ambitious celebration on Independence Day with a multitude of patriotic happenings, from a massive block party on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to free museum access and historical tours. It all culminates with a concert and fireworks extravaganza held on the Parkway that is attended by thousands. www.welcomeamerica.com

Early September

Made in America. Held over the long Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer, Made in America is a multi-day musical festival founded by the brewery Budweiser and Jay-Z. The event, which takes over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, typically features world-renowned acts; past installments have seen Beyoncé, Pearl Jam, Drake, Calvin Harris, and Run-DMC grace the stage. a.madeinamericafest.com

Fall

Mid-September

FringeArts and FEASTIVAL. Taking place every autumn, FringeArts is a celebration of cutting-edge and avant garde theater and performance art. Inspired by the comparable approach taken by Fringe Festival organizers in cities like Edinburgh, Philly’s Fringe has grown into a formidable cultural and artistic force, attracting talent from around the world to stage shows in Philly over a 17-day stretch each September. The artistic community links up with the culinary at FEASTIVAL, FringeArts’ annual fund-raising soiree, featuring top restaurants commingling with performers and patrons. FringeArts’ headquarters, also the home of FEASTIVAL, is located at Columbus Boulevard and Race Street. fringearts.com, www.phillyfeastival.com

Late October

Philadelphia International Film Festival. Organized by the Philadelphia Film Society, the city’s annual film fest screens titles both high-profile and under-the-radar every fall. First established in 1991, the fest brings together a diverse slate of entries, with categories such as "World Narratives" (for global cinema), "Documentary," "Graveyard Shift" (horror and sci-fi), and "Filmadelphia" (films shot locally, and/or with a local connection). Screenings are held at theaters throughout the city. filmadelphia.org

November–February

The Rothman Institute Ice Rink. This picturesque ice rink, sponsored by the local medical orthopedic center, is centrally located in Dilworth Park, on the northwest side of City Hall. A seasonal attraction running from November to February, it offers affordable admission as well as skate rentals ($9). www.ccdparks.org/dilworth-park/rothmanicerink

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