Summer in the Philly area means a lot of things from a food perspective: barbecues, time “down the shore,” backyard parties, baseball and picnics. It also means a slew of food-related events to tempt our palates with a diverse array of offerings and festivals.
As the local food scene has exploded over the past decade, we have become a culinary destination year-round. But summer offers a special menu of events with the weather providing a sultry outdoor backdrop for Philly phoodies.
In chronological order, here is a taste of some of what the region has to offer for a delicious summer:
June 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Philadelphia’s celebration of vegan and whole-food plant-based lifestyles will be hosted by the South Street Headhouse District at Bainbridge Green, which spans the 300 and 400 blocks of Bainbridge Street. This free event, which welcomes vegans and non-vegans alike, will showcase food, art, culture, music and cooking demonstrations throughout the day.
Night Market in the Gayborhood
June 21, 7-11 p.m., 13th and Locust streets | thefoodtrust.org/night-market
In 2010, The Food Trust created Night Market Philadelphia to bring communities together and celebrate the joy of food. Modeled after similar markets in Asia, it was planned as a lively gathering with delicious food, local craft beverages, outdoor seating and live music.
The program has grown from a busy night for food truck vendors to a regular opportunity for local entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and cultivate lasting customer bases. In keeping with the Food Trust’s overarching mission to create a local healthy food economy in the region, the Night Market program also attracts visitors from throughout the area, provides residents with a unique venue and experience to enjoy fresh food, supports local food entrepreneurs, and showcases the quality and diversity of food in Philadelphia.
“The Food Trust is beyond excited to bring Night Market Philadelphia to the very heart of Center City. Featuring over 70 street food vendors, live music, and other local arts and culture, this event will proudly highlight one of the city’s most vibrant communities, which also happens to be home to many of Philadelphia’s top restaurants,” Night Market Coordinator Ian Moran said. “In addition to the usual festivities, Night Market Gayborhood will also work to support local residents and LGBT families by providing a venue for the neighborhood’s many service providers to engage with attendees about the programs they offer.”
Old City Eats
Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. through Aug. 31 | oldcitydistrict.org/special-events/old-city-eats
Now in its third summer, Old City Eats is Old City District’s season-long celebration of its thriving dining scene. Every Thursday, participating restaurants and bars will offer drink specials and at least one half-price small plate. The selections are designed to appeal to neighborhood locals, business people looking to relax with colleagues after work and visiting tourists.
Passeggiata on East Passyunk Ave.
Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m. through November | visiteastpassyunk.com/events/passeggiata-on-east-passyunk-ave.php
Passeggiata is South Philly’s homage to the tradition in Italy of the same name. Throughout the warm months in Italia, residents of small towns enjoy after-work strolls during the evening hours, visiting friends and neighbors, stopping by favorite restaurants and cafes, and patronizing local shops. East Passyunk has recreated this practice in conjunction with the Fountain Farmers Market; participating restaurants offer happy hour promotions, off-menu specials, al fresco dining, live music, extended boutique hours and other festive amenities.
Center City Sips
Wednesdays from 5-7 p.m. through Aug. 29 | centercityphila.org/explore-center-city/ccdsips
All summer long, participating restaurants will offer special prices on cocktails, wine and beer, and half-price appetizers.
Caribbean Day at Reading Terminal Market
June 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This event will celebrate the diverse cultures and cuisines of the Caribbean with chef demonstrations, specialty food tastings and traditional music and entertainment.
“Every day, Reading Terminal Market’s diverse merchant mix and cuisines set the table for customers from varied backgrounds to come together around a shared experience and the common denominator of food,” Director of Marketing Sarah Levitsky said. “With that in mind, throughout the year, we partner with cultural organizations from across the city to host events that act as cultural exchanges to bridge understanding through art, food, music and more.”
The Philly Ice Cream Scoop
June 30 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Reading Terminal Market
The largest ice cream festival in the country, this event features 14 of the city’s top ice cream producers and dozens of ice cream specialties from the Reading Terminal Market’s own merchants.
Merchants will showcase their signature items integrated with ice cream.
In the past, offerings have included Iovine Produce shaved ice with fresh-pressed juices; Pennsylvania General Store’s locally made root beer floats and shrubs; Hershel’s East Side Deli’s homemade Jewish apple cake topped with ice cream, candied caramel popcorn, caramel sauce and whipped cream. Treats like these and many other ice cream-centric specialties will be available.
Food Truck Frenzy
July 21, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Linvilla Orchards, 137 W. Knowlton Road, Media
Truckloads of food will be coming to Linvilla Orchards for a summer extravaganza. A variety of food trucks will be on hand to provide an array of tasty offerings, including: Dos Gringos; The Plum Pit; The Cow and the Curd; Gotta Lotta Gelata; Big Bad Wolf BBQ; Roasty Toasty; and Deerhead Hot Dogs. Harvest Ridge Winery will provide wine pairings, and there will be live music, pony rides, face painting, train rides, fishing, barnyard activities and pick-your-own in-season fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
National Farmers Market Week
Farmers markets throughout the Philadelphia area will celebrate their special week with fun events, promotions, contests, entertainment and activities. Farmers Market Week is designed to boost market attendance and visibility, while providing festive and enjoyable amenities to shoppers.
In honor of the celebration, The Food Trust’s 20-plus farmers markets acr
oss the city of Philadelphia will be abuzz with activity, including cooking demonstrations and taste tests at 11 markets, hosted by Food Trust nutrition educators, where shoppers can learn how to cook healthy on a budget. The following markets will offer special programming during the week-long celebration:
- 4th & Lehigh Farmers Market (Aug. 7, noon to 4 p.m.)
- 22nd & Tasker Farmers Market (Aug. 8, 2-6 p.m.)
- 26th & Allegheny Farmers Market (Aug. 8, noon to 4 p.m.)
- 52nd & Haverford Farmers Market (Aug. 8, noon to 4 p.m.)
- 58th & Chester Farmers Market (Aug. 8, 2-6 p.m.)
- Broad & Snyder Farmers Market (Aug. 7, 2-6 p.m.)
- Clark Park Farmers Market (Aug. 9, 3-7 p.m.)
- Frankford Transportation Center Farmers Market (Aug. 7, 2-6 p.m.)
- Germantown Farmers Market (Aug. 9, 3-7 p.m.)
- Hunting Park Farmers Market (Aug. 11, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
- Oxford Circle Farmers Market (Aug. 8, 2-6 p.m.)
“We’re excited to be celebrating National Farmers Market Week at The Food Trust’s markets,” said Lisa Kelly, the farmers market program manager for The Food Trust. “Stop by your neighborhood market this week for the best in freshly picked local fruits and veggies, visit a farmers market cooking demo to learn a new recipe (and earn some Philly Food Bucks!), or sign up to volunteer at one of our markets.”
Night Market Kensington
Aug. 9, 6-10 p.m., Frankford and York avenues | thefoodtrust.org/night-market
Hava NaGrilla Charity BBQ Festival
Aug. 26 from noon to 5 p.m. at Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El, 1001 Remington Road, Wynnewood | phillykosherbbq.com
Hava NaGrilla is billed as the largest kosher charity barbecue festival in the U.S. It is sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society, and 2018 marks its second year. The festival features sumptuous barbecue, grilled meats, Israeli food and vegetarian dishes, as well as live music, entertainment for all ages, a pickle-eating contest, craft artisans, face painting, magicians, mechanical bull rides, a craft beer garden, and premium scotch and bourbon tastings.
Entrants can compete as individuals or teams, and must prepare brisket, short ribs, chicken thighs and a whole turkey.