Eats, arts, balloons and bugs (yes, bugs) sweep summer in officially

Memorial Day brought the preliminaries. With the solstice, it’s time to sample the true season’s main events.

Listen 3:14
Kids and aerialists play side by side in the Woodlands cemetery. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)

Kids and aerialists play side by side in the Woodlands cemetery. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)

Friday is June 21, the official first day of summer. That’s just another reason to celebrate, and this weekend brings a fresh season’s worth of food and arts festivals.

Old City Eats Block Party
Second Street between Market and Chestnut
Thursday, June 20; 5–9 p.m.
Food and drink for purchase

The annual block party kicks off Old City’s discounted dining summer initiative Old City Eats, which runs Thursdays through Aug. 28. Every Thursday until then, diners can save on meals from 40 participating restaurants from 6-8 p.m. For the block party, more than 20 of those restaurants will join in, with food and drinks for purchase and a dance performance and music, including a dueling piano sing-a-long courtesy of Nauti Mermaid Crab House and Piano Bar.

Night Market: Overbrook
63rd Street and Lancaster Avenue
Thursday, June 20; 6-10 p.m.
Food and drink for purchase

The Food Trust has hosted Night Market events since 2010, based on the concept of popular night markets in Asia. The roving marketplace serves up food and drink along with community in designated stops around the city. Food Trust claims over 625,000 participants in the 30-plus Night Markets it’s organized. The latest stop, Overbrook, is the neighborhood tucked between West Philadelphia and the Main Line. It boasts Overbrook High School, where both Will Smith and Wilt Chamberlain spent their formative years. Food, drink and health vendors will be featured, and live music will be provided by acts including Bitchfork and the Musicopia drumline; DJ Dommis is the featured deejay. Parking is limited; transportation via SEPTA’s bus or train lines or regional rail is recommended.

30th Annual Manayunk Arts Festival
Main Street Manayunk
Saturday June 22; 11 a.m.–7 p.m., Sunday, June 23, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Food, drink and art for purchase

The 30th annual Manayunk Arts Festival brings over 400 vendors in multiple creative disciplines, including photography, mixed media, fiber, jewelry, and wood and sculpture to Main Street. The outdoor juried arts festival bills itself as the largest of its kind in the tri-state region. There are no food vendors per se, but Manayunk’s restaurants will participate, offering places to eat and dine al fresco. The festival is accessible via public transportation, but shuttle buses will also run to and from 555 City Ave. in Bala Cynwyd and the Ivy Ridge Train Station at 4910 Umbria St. The $4 adult, $2 children round-trip donation benefits North Light Community Center.

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Peddler’s Village Art and Wine Festival
Routes 202 & 263,
Lahaska, Bucks County
Saturday, June 22, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., and Sunday, June 23, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Food and drink for purchase; some ticketed events

It’s wine time in Peddler’s Village this weekend. Tasting events include two hosted by Village Imports and Orin Swift Cellars/Breakthru Beverage Group. There’s also a free walk and talk with artist Frank Hyder, the man behind the Janis Project, a highlight of the public art on display in the village. Kids are welcome, with activities including face painting and bounce houses. Festival packages include guaranteed parking, preferential restaurant seating, and some themed swag.

All-American Cookout at Dilworth Park
1 S. 15th St.
Through June 23; Thursday and Friday, 5–9 p.m.; Saturday, noon–8 p.m.; Sunday noon–6 p.m.
Food and drink for purchase

Dilworth Park was once just the space you walked through to get to City Hall. Now, it’s a vibrant public square that has food, music and multiple year-round events. This weekend, it’s the venue for the All-American Cookout, which features all the food you’d imagine can be cooked on a hot grill. A live deejay, a pop-up beer garden, games, and other activities complete the backyard-like environment. All ages are welcome, though not all ages are welcome to drink — just 21 and over.

Forrest Theater
1114 Walnut St.
Through June 30

You can still catch “Cats” in the latest run of the musical theater sensation that won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, after its 1982 Broadway debut. The story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and their annual ball to determine which will be chosen for rebirth has experienced a reboot. While Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score and John Napier’s set and costume designs remains intact, new lighting, sound and choreography have been added to modernize the production.

Bernstein’s Candide
Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center
300 S. Broad St.
Thursday, June 20–Saturday, June 22; Thursday 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.
$45 – $195

Wondering where to find Bradley Cooper this weekend – especially now that he’s reportedly single again? The hometown guy (he was born in Philly and raised in the suburbs) will be at the Kimmel Center Thursday through Saturday. British actress Carey Mulligan, who like Cooper is a past Oscar nominee, will join him to co-narrate an updated version of Leonard Bernstein’s operetta Candide. Musical director Yannick Nezet-Sèguin will oversee the proceedings, the final Kimmel Center celebration of what would have been Bernstein’s 100th birthday on Aug. 25.

Nature Nights: Firefly Nights
The Woodlands
40th Street and Woodland Avenue
Friday, June 21; 6-9 p.m.

Fireflies are part of the joy of summer, especially for kids. The Woodlands, a historic home and cemetery in West Philadelphia, is hosting an event with the glowing insects in mind. On Friday, Ballet X will perform a pop-up ballet, Tangle Movement Arts mounts an aerial performance inspired by the flight paths of fireflies, and Lil Pop Shop will provide sweet snacks for purchase. You’ll want to bring a flashlight and some picnic food and gear. On-street parking can be found, but SEPTA’s 40th Street portal, where several trolleys converge, is your best bet if you’re not on foot.

13th Annual Chester County Balloon Festival
New Garden Flying Field
1235 Newark Rd.
Toughkenamon, Chester County
Friday, June 21–Sunday, June 23; see schedule for times
$20; $10 kids 7-12; under 12, free

Balloons anyone? If you were captivated by Jules Verne’s adventure novels (and the movies) and hot-air balloons intrigue you, you can indulge that fantasy in real life. The festival includes rides both tethered and untethered, with more than 20 balloon takeoffs scheduled daily. If you’d prefer to keep your feet on the ground, there also will be more than 100 vendors, activities for children, musical performances, Saturday fireworks, and a beer garden, as well as monster truck rides, a motorcycle riding class, and more. No pets or outside alcohol on festival grounds; lawn chairs and comfortable shoes are recommended. Parking is free.

6th Annual Caribbean Day
Reading Terminal
51 N. 12th St.
Saturday, June 22; 10 a.m –2 p.m.

Food is the reason why Reading Terminal is both a culinary favorite for the city’s professional and amateur chefs and one of Philly’s leading — and oldest — tourist attractions. Caribbean food has been one of the omissions until now, as Careda’s Caribbean Cuisine becomes the first such eatery in the market. Local figures of Caribbean heritage will come out to commemorate the event and celebrate Caribbean Day with face painting, food and fitness demos, and a performance by Raices Boricuas.

CultureFEST!: Summer Solstice Saturday
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Saturday, June 22; 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Free with museum admission, after 5 p.m., $15

As part of its summer special-events calendar, the Penn Museum hosts a series of cultural events under the CultureFEST! banner. This weekend’s incarnation includes options for both children and adults, with outdoor yoga, drum circles, and instruction for creating flower crowns. After 5, the event turns into the Summer Nights Music Series with live performances, food and drink for purchase, and a healing bazaar, among other activities.

Sip Into Summer Wine Festival
Gloucester County Fairgrounds
277 Bridgeton Pike
Mullica Hill, NJ
June 22-23; noon–5 p.m.
Under 21 free; $15-$20 for 21 and up

Need to ‘wine’ down from a tough week? The Sip Into Summer Wine Festival has changed locations to the Gloucester County Fairgrounds. Fourteen New Jersey wineries will showcase over 300 wines available for tasting and purchase. Food trucks offering a wide variety of cuisines will be on hand, and activities for kids include the ubiquitous bounce house, arts and crafts, and lawn games. Jewelry, food and art vendors will have wares available for sale, and live bands Stealing Savanah and Mario and The Slyders will be onstage.

36th Annual Blueberry Festival
Whitesbog Historic Village
799 Lakehurst Rd.
Browns Mills, NJ
Saturday, June 22-Sunday June 23, 10 a.m-4 p.m.

Whitesbog Historic Village holds the distinction of being one of the first places in the United States to grow both cranberries and blueberries. To honor that heritage, the village has been hosting the Blueberry Festival for the last 35 years. Pick, eat and savor all the possible incarnations of the blueberry – in muffins, pies, cakes, jams and more. And of course, there will be a pie-eating contest. The family-friendly event includes activities for kids, arts and crafts vendors, and live music.

Serafin Summer Music Festival
The Music School Of Delaware
4101 N. Washington St.
June 20-30; various times

The Music School of Delaware presents eight classical music performances by 18 artists. Mozart, Dvorak, Schubert, Brahms, Beethoven and more are all represented in the myriad presentations by the Serafin Ensemble. The group of internationally renowned musicians, committed to chamber-music performances for up to eight players, evolved out of the Serafin String Quartet, formed almost two decades ago.

Juneteenth Parade and Festival
52nd and Jefferson streets to Malcolm X Park
Saturday, June 22; noon–7 p.m.

The legal end of slavery is celebrated by its descendants on Juneteenth, a holiday that began in Texas and spread to other cities around the country. The annual festivities in Philadelphia start with an “Honor Our Ancestors” breakfast. The parade follows, beginning at 52nd and Jefferson streets and ending at Malcolm X Park at 52nd and Pine — a new route this year. Not only will celebrities be in attendance, the parade will be televised, and a ceremony will rename 52nd Street Muhammad Ali Way in tribute to the late boxing and humanitarian icon.

Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Saturday, June 22; 8:30 p.m.

Many U.S. music fans first encountered British singer/songwriter Dido Armstrong via the sample on Eminem’s hit song “Stan,” about fan obsession. (Funny enough, she named her son Stan.) Her song “Thank You” became a hit on its own, and Dido would ultimately sell enough records to become one of the most successful British artists of all time. Two of her albums are among the best-selling ever in Britain, and her debut “No Angel” remains the top-selling debut album by a female British musician. Despite that success, and selling more than 40 million records, Dido paused her recording and touring career to raise a family. Fifteen years after her last tour, Dido is back on the road in support of her latest release “Still On My Mind,” which came out earlier this year.

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