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June 20, 2024

Chinese Lantern Festival and Kidchella: Your weekend guide to things to do

The Manayunk Arts Festival also returns, and Philadelphia has started to open its public pools.

Weekend Things To Do
Weekend guide Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

The Chinese Lantern Festival is known for colorful displays of dragons, pandas, birds and other traditional emblems. It's open through Aug. 18.

It's been a stressful, sweaty week of trying to keep pets, electronics and ourselves from overheating in the boiling temperatures. And while the heat wave isn't over yet, there are at least weekend diversions on the horizon to distract us from our damp backs.

First, for those brave enough to venture outdoors, two summer staples return to Philadelphia. Following its mid-week launch, the Chinese Lantern Festival enters its first weekend at Franklin Square. Further north, the Manayunk Arts Festival will line Main Street, and in East Fairmount Park, families can bop along to musical acts at Smith Memorial Playground's "Kidchella."

For those craving activities with AC, consider a festival of short films at Underground Arts or a queer goth market at Tattooed Mom. Alternatively, cool down in the chlorinated waters of Philadelphia's reopening public pools.

Hang with dragons at the Chinese Lantern Festival

Starting Thursday, the lit-up animals and mythical creatures at the Chinese Lantern Festival will be open for another summer. The annual Franklin Square event celebrates Chinese culture with illuminated "lanterns," and this year, it's going heavy on fire-breathing monsters for the Year of the Dragon. (Don't worry, they're friendlier than the ones on "House of the Dragon.") Food vendors and a cocktail garden will also be on site every night from 6-11 p.m. Ticket prices range from $16-$28, and the event goes through Aug. 18.

Paint a flower or visit a garden with tons of art

Visitors to the Manayunk Arts Festival can, as always, expect tons of paintings, sculptures and ceramics along Main Street. But new to the event this year is a mural of 10,000 flowers, which anyone can help fill in. The organizers have also partnered with the PHS Pop Up Gardens to display works from 25 emerging artists at the Jamestown Avenue location, in another festival first.

Cannonball into a newly opened pool

Beat the relentless heat at one of Philadelphia's freshly opened (or opening) public pools. Since Monday, city pools have been opening in Fishtown, Fox Chase and Point Breeze. By Sunday, the tally will rise to 25, or nearly half of the 60 locations expected to open this summer. 

Watch short films on social justice at a returning festival

Underground Arts will screen a dozen short films on Sunday at a festival focused on social justice issues. The United We Heal festival, now in its third year, will feature work from Philly-area filmmakers as well as New York, California and Florida directors. A panel discussion will follow, along with awards — some of which the audience decides. The event, which costs $25 to attend, kicks off at 4 p.m.

Take the kids to their own Coachella

Every year, Coachella lures trendy twentysomethings out to the desert for live music. Concerts are part of an upcoming "Kidchella," too, but don't expect a Beyoncé performance at this one. On Friday, Smith Memorial Playground will host a kiddie music showcase, featuring headliners Alex & the Kaleidoscope, Johnny Shortcake, Ill Doots and City Love. The free festival, which runs from 4-9 p.m., will also include food trucks and art stations.

Shop a goth market at Tattooed Mom

Queer artists with a dark streak will sell their wares Sunday at a Goth Shop and Social event at Tattooed Mom. The market is open from noon-4 p.m. and includes a raffle benefitting trans youth, which anyone can enter for $1. If oddities aren't your scene, try the Pride Makers Market at the Hyatt Centric Philadelphia on Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

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