After a three-year hiatus, Old City Fest is back this weekend. And if that break did anything, it made the planning just a little bit bigger, and a little more festive.
Taking over the historic part of the city from N. 3rd Street (from Market to Race) and Arch Street (from 2nd to 4th) this Sunday, Oct. 9, activities will span an array of happenings, food and drink offerings, creative pop-ups and much more with over 100 vendors participating. The festivities kick off at noon and will run until 6 p.m., with all Philadelphians of every age invited out to join the fun.
“Old City Fest highlights our region’s premier arts and design district, showcasing local designers, creative firms, restaurants, retailers, galleries, theater, culture, history and architecture,” said Old City District’s Executive Director, Job Itzkowitz in a statement. “Old City Fest was designed to be different. The city has many amazing neighborhood-based festivals with food, drink and music. We wanted to take that one step further and celebrate all that makes America’s most historic square mile unique. We curated the event to give Old City’s merchants, artists, makers and creative community a platform to shine for the region.”
Trying to keep things one-of-a-kind, while at Old City Fest, there will be a few highlights offered from some of the area’s top organizations. Adventure Aquarium for one will be setting up its Family Fun Zone along Arch Street, while other spots such as Fork (who is celebrating its 25th anniversary) and Campo’s Philly Cheesesteaks (also celebrating an anniversary, but its 75th) will be in attendance.
Other Old City venues participating include Buddakan, Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, The Franklin Fountain, Istanbul Café, Kick Axe Throwing Philadelphia, Las Bugambilias, Malooga, Oishii, and Riverwards Produce. Additionally, City Winery will also be offering signature sips, snacks and live music at Cherry Street Pier.
Another unique facet comes from The Bourse Food Hall, who will be hosting dueling pianos out on the street for audience sing-a-longs, while some of the venue’s vendors—including Freebyrd Chicken, Grubhouse, Scoop De Ville, Rebel Taco, and more—will align 4th and Arch streets offering their treats.
Speaking of food and drinks, there will be plenty to try while at Old City Fest, including the popular edamame dumplings from Buddakan, chicken empanadas from Cuba Libre, mini bratwurst and cocktails from Fork (along with a giant birthday cake outside,) Turkish coffee and pastries from Istanbul Café, apple churros from Las Bugambilias, Korean meatballs and Thai tea from Oishii, homemade everything pretzels and Sailors Punch from Sassafras—and much, much more. Each of the area’s establishments are going all out to offer up just what makes their spot special.
On top of the normal festivities, Philadelphians will also be able to walk down Wedding Row, featuring new Old City businesses Damari, Hitched and SuitShop, while simultaneously enjoying live dance performances and lessons throughout the day by Fred Astaire Dance Studio.
Additionally, there’s going to be the opportunity to check out some of the area’s fresher spots that perhaps you haven’t heard of yet—according to a release, more than 50 businesses and organizations have opened in Old City since January 2021. And while at the Festival this Sunday, visitors can meet new Old City businesses and organizations including the American Vegan Center, Anima Natural Pet Products, Citizens, City Fitness, Claudia Mills Studio, Museum of Illusions, Philadelphia Film Society, PingPod, Unique Photo, Wax & Wine, and more while at Old City Fest.
The area is also a hub for all things to do with art and design as well, and while at the celebration this weekend, guests can also check out 30 art galleries and home décor showrooms—including Grossman Furniture, More Than Old, Old City Jewish Arts Center, Petit Jardin en Ville and others.
Additional spots in the area will also be taking part in the fun on Oct. 9 include the American Philosophical Society, Level 1 Fitness, the Museum of the American Revolution, Veterans Multiservice Center, plus other retailers such as the Blokes Barbershop & Gentleman’s Emporium and Philadelphia Independents.
And, as always, there will also be come impressive acrobatic and circus feats to check out while strolling along the extravaganza.
The Seventh Annual Old City Fest will take place on Sunday, Oct. 9, from noon to 6 p.m. Admission is free, with food and drink pay-as-you-go. For more information, visit oldcitydistrict.org or call 215-592-7929.