What to expect at Old City Fest in 2023

Old City Fest 2023
Kyle Ober

Next weekend marks the return of one of the city’s annual fan favorites—Old City Fest. Kicking off on Sunday, Oct. 8, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the annual activation will feature live music, artists, pop-up street performances, and a wide array of food and beverage options, plus craft and retail shopping with over 100 local vendors participating in 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 2023
Kyle Ober

Itzkowitz continued: “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.”

All the fun can be found along N. 3rd Street (from Market to Race) and Arch Street (from 2nd to 4th) with a Family Fun Zone presented by WSFS Bank and Main Stage presented by City Winery holding most of the performances scheduled—including magician/entertainer Doug Wonder, plus an activation by the Philadelphia Union.

While there, Philadelphians can also enjoy tours, like the”Meet the Women of 18th Century Philadelphia” program, or check out story time at the Once Upon A Nation bench at the Betsy Ross House. The event will also highlight performances by the Give & Take Jugglers and Philadelphia Dance Academy.

Food and drink wise, there is also a lot to see at Old City Fest — over a dozen local vendors to be exact — with fare from spots like Buddakan (think tuna tartare spring rolls, pork belly bao buns and more), Las Bugambilias (offering up pork tamales, Mexican street corn, churros and more), and Tartes (serving up treats like tartes, cookies, bars, small cakes and pastries.)

Old City Fest 2023
Wandering Lens Photography

Other highlights include fare from spots like Fork, which is serving up single-patty burgers with raclette and caramelized onions on a High Street sesame bun, plus, some libations like a Bacardi Rum Apple Cooler and drafts like Hale & True, Bee Sting, Honey Ginger Cider, Love City Unity IPA and Vault Brewing Sweet Potato Ale.

Khyber Pass Pub on the other hand will include onion dip with Zapps chips (vegan) or a pork loin sandwich, plus, spiked lemonade with Grey Goose, Two Robbers seltzer, Anxo cans, Liquid Death water and lagers. Old City Fest will also host Cafe Tolia, Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, City Cruises, ICI Macaroons, Kick Axe Throwing Philadelphia, Oishii and Sassafrass with options for Philadelphians to try.

The activation also has a new partner this year with Street Dept Walls.

According to a release, Streets Dept has an ongoing project partnering with organizations around the city of Philadelphia to celebrate the work of Philly-based artists who create in our public space. Curated by StreetsDept.com founder, Conrad Benner, Streets Dept has invited two local artists to live-create two 4′ x 8′ mini-murals throughout the festival. After the festival, these murals will have a temporary home in Old City at a site to be announced.

In addition to restaurants, shops, fashion, family fun, music, artists, and makers, visitors can also look for booths by local businesses, non-profits, sponsors, and other vendors spanning different Old City retailers like Anima Natural Pet Supplies, Benjamin Lovell Shoes, Blokes Barbershop & Gentleman’s Emporium, Casa Vida, American Vegan Society, Arch Street Meeting House, Arden Theatre Company and many more.

Old City Fest 2023
Visitors browse custom jewelry at vendors along Cherry StProvided

A full list and schedule of what to expect this year can be found online.

To learn more information about Old City Fest, visit oldcitydistrict.org