Philadelphia, PA - When Philadelphia honors Hispanic Heritage Month, the city starts early. The national celebration, officially September 15 through October 15, begins a week early in Philly with Penn’s Landing’s Brazilian Day Philadelphia festival.
Next up: Mexican Independence Day Festival, also on Penn’s Landing; then Building Bridges, a citywide restaurant benefit; Centro de Oro’s neighborhood-centric Feria del Barrio and the Puerto Rican Day Parade on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Throughout, the Philadelphia International Unity Cup shows off the city’s other fútbol champions.
Festivals, Food & Fun:
- Brazilian Day Philadelphia – The city celebrates Brazil’s independence on the Delaware Waterfront with traditional foods, merchandise and loads of live dance and music. The free festival’s performances include samba, forró, pagode, capoeira, samba-reggae. September 9. Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Boulevard at Walnut Street, (215) 601-9117, braziliandayphiladelphia.com
- Welcoming Week – The City of Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs partners with more than 30 community organizations for 10 days to honor the city’s global cultures. Aiming to engage immigrant communities like Philly’s Latino neighbors and neighborhoods, the week’s events include book launches, flag raisings, naturalization ceremonies, library visits, museum tours and a bilingual bird walk. September 14-24. Various locations. phila.gov/welcoming-week
- Building Bridges – New this year, a growing number restaurants have organized a day when Le Virtù, all the Pistola’s, Tequila’s, El Compadre, Bing Bing Dim Sum, Saté Kampar, Tria, El Rey, Bistrot La Minette, The Franklin and more donate profits from specialty dishes and drinks to Puentes de Salud, a nonprofit that offers Latino Philadelphians free health, educational and community-building services. September 15. facebook.com/building-bridges
- Mexican Independence Day – Penn’s Landing’s annual, free, family-friendly celebration is an afternoon of traditional food, live rock, indigenous dancing, authentic crafts and fun-for-kids face painting. September 16. Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Boulevard at Walnut Street, (215) 592-0141, delawareriverwaterfront.com
- Feria del Barrio – This huge alfresco celebration of Latino art and culture, now in its 34th year, takes place in the heart of the Centro de Oro. The Feria’s rich scene of music, dance, art and, of course, food, is not to be missed. September 23. N. 5th Street between Lehigh Avenue & Cambria Street, (215) 426-3311, feriadelbarrio.org
- Puerto Rican Festival Parade – The theme Renacer de Puerto Rico (the rebirth of Puerto Rico) acknowledges that, amid the festivity of the city’s largest Latino parade, Puerto Rican hearts are with friends and family affected by Hurricane Maria. More than 1,500 marchers dance, play music and wave from floats and cars for thousands of spectators; the alfresco after party takes place at America Street and Lehigh Avenue. September 30. Benjamin Franklin Parkway from 18th to 26th Street, (215) 627-3100, elconcilio.net
Art, Awards & Sports:
- Philadelphia International Unity Cup – Now in its third year, this World Cup-style tournament shows off the soccer skills of Philadelphia’s immigrant communities over four weekends. Latino teams lined up include Belize (versus Serbia) and Mexico versus El Salvador, both September 8; Brazil (versus Ukraine) and Honduras (versus Jamaica), both September 9—all at Ramp Playground in Northeast Philly. Quarter finals are September 16 at Temple University; semi-finals take place September 22 at LaSalle University, with the championship game October 13 at Talen Energy Stadium. unitycup.phila.gov
- Puerto Rican Festival Awards Gala – Glitter and glamour pepper this celebration of accomplishments of Philly community leaders, social activists and trendsetters during this annual must-attend evening. Live music and dancing are, naturally, included. September 15. El Concilio Banquet Hall, 141 E. Hunting Park Avenue, (215) 627-3100, elconcilio.net
- Roberto Lugo: Boricua, Barrio, Barro – A master potter comes home to put both his work and himself on display in his first solo exhibition, whose name translates to “Puerto Rican, Neighborhood, Clay.” Lugo transforms Taller’s gallery into a welcome and working community space, both throwing pots and interacting with visitors amid his signature porcelain pots and less-known works—prints and ceramic reliefs—that tell of the artist’s experience as a person of color. Reception, October 5; exhibit through October 27. Taller Puertorriqueño, 2600 N. 5th Street, (215) 426-3311, tallerpr.org