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The First Fall Hurrah: PHS Fall Festival Leads Philly into Sweater Weather

03 - PHS Fall Festival_i#EA

Just as summer in Philadelphia is bookended with relaxed moments at the Shore on Labor Day, autumn’s beginning is marked by the tented landscape of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s annual Fall Festival – a must-go destination (it’s free, folks) for kids, gardeners, beer-lovers and, this year, vintage shoppers.

Though it’s been holding the festival for years by the river view of the Navy Yard grounds, this year’s shindig marks the first time Franklin Flea has jumped a-ship to spruce up the shopping selection. For those of you who’ve missed out on the fun this summer, PHS has built a sterling reputation for cream-of-the-crop pop-up amenities (see: the menagerie of uber-successful beer gardens); Philly’s one-day pop-up of “Curation Heaven” sticks to that trend, offering up vintage goods, gourmet foods and handmade (local!) pieces that run the gamut of jewels/crafts that are thoroughly vetted for quality.

Plant enthusiasts, meanwhile, have an impressive slew of perusal options:

  • Get your botanical groove on at the Plant Dividend, where free plants will be offered to PHS members. (To boot: Members get free tickets to the 2015 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, “Lights, Camera, Bloom.”)
  • Ripe for a good time: Scurry on over to the Fall Festival Marketplace to get a gander of the feature plants, tools, garden accessories, home décor, craft items and keepsakes straight from the Flower Show.
  • Fresh produce – derived from local gardens, of course – can be found at the PHS City Harvest Market.
  • Not to shun the ‘burbs, PHS Store has collected top-notch plants and wares shipped from PHS Meadowbrook Farm in Abington Township – flowers, veggies, plants and more. If you’re a regular Meadowbrook shopper, save yourself the extra trip outside the city.
  • Gardeners get a chance to “wow” the crowd in the Garden Giants contest, a showcase of the kinds of tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, and other colorful offspring of nature that would feel at home on a veggie runway. Connoisseurs of arrangements can try their luck in the Garden Bounty contest, testing their skills as they gussy up seasonal flowers, veggies, fruits and herbs. (Contact: Betty Greene at bgreene@pennhort.org for more info on entering both contests.)

Naturally, you can feel comfortable dropping off the kiddies at the PHS Kids Zone (home to: pumpkin painting, veggie races and every craft activity in the autumnal spectrum) – particularly if you feel like guzzling a pumpkin ale or two at the Yards Brewing Company beer garden, which is open for the duration of the event.

… And did we mention admission’s free?

Saturday, Sept. 20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Free, The Navy Yard Parade Grounds, 4747 S. Broad St.