The month-long Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) come to a triumphant close today with a “tres grande”celebration on Broad Street today, Saturday, April 30, 2011, with an all-day free French-themed Street Fair.  PIFA will transform Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts into a Parisian boulevard complete with local restaurants and merchants selling unique tastes and wares, outdoor café tables and chairs, a grassy park with activities including a walk-through maze for children, AND a giant Ferris Wheel!   Some of the stars of the festival – the region's circus arts organizations – will be on hand to wrap up a month of sold out successes!  

The event will run from 11am until 8:30pm, with opportunities to enjoy and participate in countless fun, cultural and some once-in-a-lifetime activities with no gate charge. Two stages – at Pine Street and Sansom Street — will offer non-stop music throughout the day, featuring virtually every genre of global sound. Headlined by the spectacular and electrifying Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, whose multi-ethnic beat will hit the Pine Street Stage at 6pm, the musical feast also includes Watcha Clan, whose spiritual sound melds African, Berber, and Arabic Gnawatrance music to hip-hop, Balkan brass and Sephardic folk, on the Sansom Street Stage at 4:45pm,Nicole Atkins, a North Jersey-bred singer/ songwriter who is quickly becoming an indie music darling on the Pine Street Stage at 4:15pm, and niche musical talent ranging from AfricanSoukous wonder Diblo Dibala toDrummers with Attitude (DWA) – a diverse group of student drummers and dancers from Bristol Township middle and high schools.

Philadelphia School of Circus Arts (PSCA) will be on hand with a display in the University of the Arts parking lot.  PSCA and Fly School Circus Arts will run "Fly City" flying trapeze lessons five times during the festival - although all lessons are now sold out!  PSCA is also proud to announce that some of the street performers are PSCA's very own teachers and performers! Give and Take Jugglers – which include PSCA performers and teachers – will be on hand to wow the crowds. 


(Photo Courtesy of Fly School Circus Arts)


The event culminates with a breathtakingly spectacular performance by world-renowned French “Celestial Art” troupe La CompagnieTranse Express. Making their East Coast debut, these extraordinary aerial artists will perform their signature routine, never before seen in the region, as they are lifted 150 feet in the air by a giant crane, accompanied by lights and pyrotechnics just as the sun is setting.

PhillyBloco | 12pm – 1pm

Modeled after the blocos of Rio de Janeiro, with their large percussion sections and harmonic/vocal accompaniment, PhillyBloco is comprised of twelve drummers, electric guitar, bass guitar, vocals, horn section, accordion and Brazilian dancers, who perform a raucous mash-up of SAMBA, FUNK, REGGAE and more made popular by both Brazilian and non-Brazilian artists including: Olodum, Timbalada, Monobloco, Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder.

The Thermals | 2:45pm – 3:45pm

An indie/alternative/post-pop-punk rock band from Portland, Oregon, The Thermals, over the course of seven years and four LP's have tackled a variety of life subjects from religion and politics to death with no small amount of passion and fervor, irreverently running roughshod over such issues with a level of moxie and gusto the likes of which the post/punk/pop/power community had never before seen. Now, for their fifth LP, The Thermals have battled (and perhaps even conquered!) the deepest and darkest of all popular art themes- love.

*In front of the Sansom Stage the UArts Bucket Drummers will perform at 11am to get crowds energized!

 Hot Club of Philadelphia featuring Denise King | 11:30am – 12:15pm

Established at the end of 2001 by guitarist Barry Wahrhaftig, and violinist Mark Campiglia, Hot Club of Philadelphia is an acoustic jazz quartet, dedicated to playing and preserving the music ofDjango Reinhardt, while adding their own style to the process. Performing with them is Philadelphia jazz vocalist Denise King who has recently been splitting her time between Philadelphia and Paris, France.


 Flippin Out | 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM; 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM; 4:00 PM – 4:30 PM

This amazing new show features top athletes from North America, including Olympic Medalists, performing against the transparent wall –running up, flipping and twisting off a clear wall and platform, as well as traditional snowboards, skis, triple flips, and twists and heights of 25 feet or higher.


Goowins Balloowins | 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM, 4:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Enjoy a truly unique performance by madcap balloon artist Allynn Gooen, who fills the stage with his extraordinary balloon creations while leading the stories of Snow White and the Eight DwarfsThe Wizard Of

Oz, The Story Of Purim, and others, in which children from the audience become the stars. Traditionally, clowns and magicians twist balloons into creatures for kids, but Gooen uses balloons to turn the kids into creatures, capturing the imagination of children and adults alike. In addition to his own television show, Gooen has appeared on NickelodeonShining Time StationFred Penner'sPlace, and at countless theatres and festivals around the world, creating an unforgettable show with a bang, a twist, and a POP!

Give and Take Juggling | 1:30 PM– 2:10 PM, 5:30 PM – 6:10 PM

Both highly interactive and captivating for all ages, The Spirit of Chautauqua, The Variety of Vaudeville: The Give & Take Show will surprise and please with its impressive juggling, comedy, and lots of audience participation. Using an antique calliope, traditions from vaudeville, circus arts, theater, and live music, they create a lively and wholesome show that feels fresh and contemporary.


 The Living Fountain | Special Appearances from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

A statue of a beautiful woman transforms herself with magical elegance into a living fountain. Delicate jets of water appear from her fingertips as a shimmering halo cascades from the crown of her head in this beautifully choreographed display. Indoors or outdoors The Fountain makes for a truly enchanting experience.  

The full slate of PIFA programming can be accessed on and at theKimmel Center Box Office.


About Philly Loves Fun

A blog about Philadelphia's fun and unique adventures, arts, events, food and opportunities.

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