Kensington Derby & Arts Festival
More About Business & Arts
Making a spectacle of local business
East Kensington sports a spring tradition that draws families, foodies, artists and inventors to Philadelphia for one of the city’s wackiest celebrations of local flavor.
On Trenton Avenue, music pulses down a cobblestone street filled with vendor tents and food trucks, while a procession of homespun human-powered vehicles winds through the neighborhood, dodging obstacles set out by local businesses.
This is the Kensington Derby & Arts Festival. East Kensington Neighbors Association (EKNA) started the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival in 2006, and NKCDC began hosting the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby the following year. Both events were designed to spark economic development and promote local artists, neighborhood businesses, and the area’s commercial corridors. The groups joined forces for a combined festival beginning in 2015, when Philadelphia Federal Credit Union came on as the title sponsor.
Passing the torch
The event grew into an annual fundraiser for EKNA, and supports their ongoing mini-grant program, which gives back to local nonprofits and businesses in the East Kensington neighborhood.
After a dozen successful derbies and a two-year hiatus during the Covid pandemic, NKCDC passed organizing responsibilities to Fishtown District in 2022.
“With the flourishing of small businesses and the vibrant arts scene across East Kensington and Fishtown, and the creation of the Fishtown Kensington Area BID, this felt like the right time,” said Bill McKinney, Executive Director at NKCDC.
“We will continue to enthusiastically promote the festival and help with the huge team effort on festival day. We look forward to the PFCU Kensington Derby & Arts Festival celebrating creativity, ingenuity and the local community for many years to come!”