PIFA arts festival culminates with street fair in Center City

Several thousand visitors flocked to a six-block stretch of South Broad Street Saturday for the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts Street Fair. In the third installment of the festival, Broad Street was transformed into a carnival-like scene with a ferris wheel and other rides, a three story artificial waterfall in front of the Academy of Music, and a field of grass with small ponds between Spruce and Pine Streets.

Cutting through the noise of the massive crowd, the sounds of chopsticks and a man singing “Hey Jude,” could be heard just north of the Kimmel Center, where a few dozen old pianos had been set up on an artificial beach.

Further south, Eric Knight of the Wheelmen bicycle group rode his penny-farthing down Broad while spectators snapped pictures on their phones. Elsewhere, performers on stilts and covered in plants played “Living Vines,” walking through the crowd and towering over visitors.

What began as a rainy and unpleasant morning turned into a picturesque April afternoon as the two-week arts festival featuring more than 60 events across genres and art forms culminated in Saturday’s street fair.

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As the weather cleared three young men in matching red shirts with the Flippen Out performance group bounced from a trampoline three stories into the air, doing flips and acrobatic feats with City Hall as the back drop while festival goers cheered them on.

More than 30 vendors provided food from funnel cakes, fried cheese curds and tacos from EL Vez and a mini beer garden area near the Kimmel Center.

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