Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Festivals: Let's Do 5

Science, South St., suds, and more: What a day for delight.

The incredible gigantic invading brain? No, a cool walk-through inflatable passed by Bennett Duffin, 3, on the shoulders of his dad, Bryan, of Upper Darby, at the Philadelphia Science Festival carnival on the Parkway.
The incredible gigantic invading brain? No, a cool walk-through inflatable passed by Bennett Duffin, 3, on the shoulders of his dad, Bryan, of Upper Darby, at the Philadelphia Science Festival carnival on the Parkway.Read moreTOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

Jaime Lee admitted to doing a little dance to the ethnic beat pulsating from the Sister Cities Park International Festival as she walked by on Saturday. And the food stands operated by some of the city's finest restaurants at the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival on Walnut Street did seem mighty tempting.

But it was a Temple University physics exhibit at the Philadelphia Science Festival's carnival that had the Burlington Township biology teacher and her 5-year-old daughter, Katie, at dough.


With helpful Temple students leading the way, Katie and her mother learned how a non-Newtonian fluid - water and cornstarch in this case - turns into a doughy solid when you play with it, and magically back into a fluid when you stop.

"This is wonderful," Lee said. "It's great to get kids excited about STEM," science, technology, engineering, and math, "especially girls. A festival like this gets kids excited. You need kids excited about science."

There was plenty to get excited about in Philly on Saturday. Under a vibrant blue sky, Center City partied away with five festivals.

There was something for everyone.

The International Festival in Logan Square celebrated the cultures of Philadelphia's 10 sister cities. Rittenhouse Row's festival had nods to fashion and beauty, as well as wine-tasting and all those yummy upscale food vendors. Plus free cotton candy from Capital One.

The South Street Spring Festival was also Saturday, reveling in its unique vibe. Imbibers and noshers had plenty of eclectic choices. A Limoncello Vodka Lemonade? That would have been Bistro Romano's stand. Traditional tasty tacos? Try Lucky's Mexican Spot.

The Legendary Dobbs had live music all day, Art Sanctuary was giving hip-hop dance lessons, dog lovers had lots of choices, the Soap Box was selling handmade soaps, and Atomic City Comics was giving comics away, with cosplay (costume play) artists like Rowan Starr, 20, and Lexi Attiani, 24, lending a hand.

In a quintessential South Street turn, at Body Graphics and No Ka Oi Tiki Tattoo's stand, much-tattooed employee Kate Robertson, 22, who goes by Shrapnel, cheerfully painted butterflies on little girls' faces.

Danielle Gadson, 35, of University City, with husband Ian, 40, stumbled on the festival having taken daughter Bryce, 4, to her gymnastics class nearby.

"It's just amazing to me, these people, all colors, shapes, and sizes just hanging out," said Gadson, a federal court worker. "I wish every day was like this."

History of sorts was also attempting to be made Saturday in the form of the Crawl, an endeavor to break the Guinness World Record for the largest bar crawl. Event organizer Ray Sheehan said Kansas City, Mo., held that honor, and he thought Philly should own it.

So organizers lined up more than 100 saloons across 10 neighborhoods, with the proceeds of entrance fees slated to go to Young Variety, a children's charity, and to the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5.

Event staff scanned wrist bands at the bars. Each participant was supposed to visit 10 pubs and drink a beverage, including water, to qualify.

Cyber school teacher Billy Jackson, 25, was taking it easy Saturday afternoon at the Bards on Walnut Street, his third pub on the crawl.

Why do it?

"Just for fun, and to break the world's record, just to say you did it," he said.

Over on the Parkway, the science-minded and the simply curious were having a fine time at more than 175 exhibits that ranged from the science of skateboarding to student-made robots to one very chill owl and that crazy white dough.

Jordan Nieman, 20, a Temple science and teaching major, was one of the students manning the dough.

"I'm so glad so many people are stopping by and interested in science," Nieman said. "It's very encouraging."

Gabe, Jules, and Max Baier, 13-year-old triplets from Haddonfield, trekked through the innards of an inflated walk-through brain that was part of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine's exhibit.


To view images from Philadelphia's day of fun and sun, go to