Photo Credit: Matt Stanley for The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation.
Concerts, cultural festivals, beer gardens, free yoga, art exhibitions and more create a summer of fun for residents and visitors alike along the Delaware River Waterfront
PHILADELPHIA — The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) is excited to present Philadelphia’s most iconic summer attractions for another fun-filled season. On Friday, May 10, Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, Spruce Street Harbor Park Sustained by Univest Financial Corporation, the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, and Cherry Street Pier re-open to the public and kick off the 2019 summer season of programming on the Delaware River Waterfront.
Opening weekend features a variety of events and activities, including the ArtStar Craft Bazaar at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing; the Dream Philly Children’s Festival at Cherry Street Pier; a roller skating party with Real Philly Collective at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest; competitions, prizes, live music, DJs and more. The fun continues the following weekend (May 17th – May 19th) before the parks open seven-days a week on May 24th.
This summer, the Waterfront also hosts three interactive events of the Whitman 200 Celebration of the birth of celebrated American writer, Walt Whitman, who frequently traveled between the Camden and Philadelphia waterfronts via ferry. On May 25th, a multimedia, sensory experience debuts aboard the RiverLink Ferry; the Bearded Ladies host Contradict This!, a festive celebration at Cherry Street Pier on May 31st, June 1st, and June 2nd; and on June 4th and 5th, installation artists present a multifaceted interpretation of Whitman’s famous “Song of the Open Road” on a floating barge on the Delaware River.
“Programming on the waterfront is central to DRWC’s mission,” says Joseph Forkin, President of DRWC. “When we activate these public spaces, we add value to the lives of residents of Philadelphia and visitors who enjoy hundreds of events each summer, most of them free. And we’re proud to contribute to the economic vitality of this area, the city, and region.”
The Midway at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest features the city’s only outdoor skating rink, a Ferris wheel, carousel, miniature golf, carnival games, and Philly’s own boardwalk for the whole family to enjoy. Entrance to Summerfest is free and open to the public. Roller-skating, mini-golf, rides and concessions are pay-as-you-go.
“Few things say summer in Philadelphia quite like the Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest. From mini-golf under the sun to roller skating beneath the lights of the Ben Franklin Bridge, Summerfest truly brings people together for Fearless Fit activities,” said Paula Sunshine, Independence Blue Cross Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Executive. “That’s why Independence Blue Cross is once again proud to sponsor this annual event and offer free skating admission for all Independence member and employees throughout the season.”
Spruce Street Harbor Park (SSHP) Sustained by Univest offers something for everyone, with colorful hammocks, floating gardens, local craft beers, and delicious food from some of Philadelphia’s most popular restaurants, including Chickie’s & Pete’s, Franklin Fountain, Garces, and HipCityVeg. Whether you want to chill with friends under the illuminated trees or enjoy a concert in the park, SSHP has it all. “We are proud to serve as the sustaining sponsor of Spruce Street Harbor Park for our fifth consecutive season,” said Jeff Schweitzer, President and CEO of Univest Financial Corporation.
“We started our partnership with the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation when we expanded Univest’s presence into Philadelphia in 2015. Today, Univest has six financial centers across Philadelphia as well as a loan production office in Center City. As we continue to expand in this great city, we are focused on partnering with organizations that are making a difference. Univest is committed to getting involved in the communities we serve and this sponsorship of Spruce Street Harbor Park allows us to do just that. We are excited to once again join in the fun and enjoy the impressive schedule of events at one of Philadelphia’s favorite summer destinations.”
Every Thursday, starting June 6th through September, SSHP’s popular event series, Waterfront Sessions, returns with free musical performances by a variety of acclaimed local talent, including hip hop artists, glam rockers, indie bands, and other surprise guests. Additionally, the Boardwalk at SSHP offers traditional boardwalk games in unconventional shipping containers that have been converted into an arcade, with skeeball, air hockey, claw crane games, Ms. Pacman, Basket Fever, and more. Univestival returns for Memorial Day Weekend (May 25th, 26th, 27th) for three days of performances, make-and-take activities, fireworks, and opportunities to win special prizes each day.
Summer 2019 offers a long and diverse list of free events. Highlights include:
- The PECO Multicultural Series – Throughout the summer on the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. The PECO Multicultural Series are annual events that have celebrated Philadelphia’s diverse culture for over 20 years. The series kicks off with the Philadelphia Irish Festival on Sunday, June 2nd and wraps up the season with the Mexican Independence Day Festival on Sunday, September 15th. “For twenty-five years, we have supported the distinct cultural communities in Philadelphia through the Multicultural Series at Penn’s Landing,” says, Ramona Riscoe Benson, Director of Corporate and Community Relations. “We’re looking forward to another summer of festive, educational, enlightening events on the waterfront.” The series consists of:
- Philadelphia Irish Festival: Sunday, June 2nd, 12pm-7 pm
- Juneteenth Festival: Saturday, June 15, 2pm-9pm
- Concilio’s Hispanic Fiesta: Saturday, July 6th – Sunday, July 7th, 2pm-8 pm (both days)
- Islamic Heritage Festival: Saturday, July 13th, 2pm-8pm
- ACANA African Festival: Saturday, August 4th, 2pm-8pm
- Festival of India: Saturday, August 17th, 12pm-7pm
- Caribbean Festival: Sunday, August 18th, 12pm-8pm
- Blue Corn Organic and Green Festival: Sunday, September 1st, 12pm-5pm
- Brazilian Day Philadelphia: Sunday, September 8th, 1pm-8pm
- Mexican Independence Day: Sunday, September 15th, 2-8pm
- Art Star Craft Bazaar – Saturday, May 11th and Sunday, May 12th, from 11am-6pm on the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. This outdoor retail/art craft show is organized by Philadelphia’s premier indie craft shop and gallery, Art Star. Over 125 local and national artists have been chosen to set up shop and sell their wares right along the Delaware River.
- Philadelphia Orchestra Free Neighborhood Concert – Friday, June 28, 8pm-9:30pm. The world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra returns for its 10th season to present another free neighborhood concert presented by Wells Fargo, set against one of the city’s most dramatic backdrops.
- The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own” Concert and Fireworks – Saturday, June 29th; concert at 8PM, fireworks at 9:30PM. Get into the Independence Day spirit early with a patriotic, all-star concert and spectacular fireworks. Part of Wawa Welcome America! celebration.
- Latin Night at the Lodge – Thursday, June 6th from 9pm – 1am. Dance, drink, and listen to live bands and DJs at the late night monthly Latin Night at The Lodge Series. Dance Republic and Telemundo62 present three evenings of dance lessons, performances, and a chance to spend the night dancing with some of the city’s most skilled performers. All ages.
- Screenings Under the Stars – Thursdays in July and August beginning July 11th on the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. Blockbuster hits include Captain Marvel, Creed 2, Clueless, and Aquaman, among others.
- Sundays with PopUpPlay—Sundays, May 12th through September 29th at Spruce Street Harbor Park. Sunday mornings are the best time to bring children to SSHP for free play—and-learn events. Enjoy interactive activities through art, music, science and physical movement that revolve around themes like water science, civic engagement, building, and more.
The newest public space along the waterfront, Cherry Street Pier, will host its first summer of programming with exciting events, including:
- Phila Flea Market
Saturday, May 18th and Sunday, July 14th
- Whitman at 200: Contradict This! A Birthday Funeral for Heroes by the Bearded Ladies
Friday, June 31, Saturday, June 1, Sunday, June 2
- Who Got the Jazz: Visit Philly
Wednesday, June 5th
- Cherry Street Pier Artist & Artisans Market
Sunday, May 26th, Sunday, June 30th, Sunday, July 26th, Sunday, August 25th
- I Love My Rowhouse Exhibition
Friday, June 7th – Sunday, June 30th
- Movie Mondays (weekly)
Starting Monday, June 17th
- Kids Sip n Paint (monthly)
Starting Sunday, July 7th
One of Philadelphia’s favorite summer activities is Free Yoga on the Race Street Pier Presented by Independence Blue Cross.
With the most exquisite views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and Delaware River, there’s no better place to ‘get your Om on’. Seven days a week from Friday, April 19th through Tuesday, November 12th, fitness lovers and newbies alike can enjoy one–and sometimes even two–free yoga classes per day, including special sessions like Twilight Yoga.
Director of Marketing & Communications
Delaware River Waterfront Corporation