Blog NKCDC PFCU Kensington Derby & Arts Festival to make grand return

Fishtown District brings back Philadelphia’s wackiest festival with derby, parade, food trucks, and live music

One of Philadelphia’s largest spring festivals is back after a pandemic break and ready to take over Trenton Avenue from Norris Street to Frankford Avenue on Saturday, May 14, noon to 6:00 PM. The 14th Philadelphia Federal Credit Union Kensington Derby and Arts Festival will feature over 100 local vendors, artists, musicians, food and drink, performers—and a parade of homemade vehicles.

This year, event founders East Kensington Neighbors Association (EKNA) and NKCDC handed organization of the festival over to the Fishtown Kensington Area Business Improvement District (Fishtown District) to bring the event back after a two-year break.

“For the first time ever, Fishtown District will help support our local civic associations by taking the organizing reins for 2022,” said Fishtown District Director of Operations Kae Anderson. “We plan to bring a renewed hyperlocal feel to the event with a focus on cultivating local business participation and showcasing the creativity you can only find here in Kensington and Fishtown.”

“We can’t wait to get back outside. The mud is ready to fly once again on Trenton Avenue!”

Registration is now open for contestants and vendors. For more information and to sign-up, visit Thanks to generous support from Penn Treaty Special Services District, there is no fee to participate in the Derby parade this year.

Passing the torch to new organizers

NKCDC started the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby in 2007 as an economic development initiative to promote local artists, neighborhood businesses, and the area’s commercial corridors. It was held in conjunction with the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival, started by EKNA the year before. The groups joined forces for a combined festival beginning in 2015, when Philadelphia Federal Credit Union also came on as the title sponsor.

“With the flourishing of small businesses and the vibrant arts scene across East Kensington and Fishtown, and the creation of the Fishtown Kensington Area Business Improvement District last year, we believe this is a great time to hand management of the festival off to Fishtown District and local leaders,” said NKCDC’s Executive Director, Dr. Bill McKinney.

While the festival has evolved, the event will continue to be an annual fundraising effort for EKNA and support their ongoing mini-grant program, which gives back to local nonprofits and businesses in the East Kensington neighborhood. This year EKNA is taking over merchandise design and sales, with hyperlocal designs from neighborhood artists.

What is the Derby?

Derby competitors are encouraged to wear costumes and make it to the finish line in their human-powered vehicles and floats. Over 15,000 people are expected to come out and cheer them on along the 3-mile obstacle course that stretches through East Kensington and Fishtown. Mud, bubbles and other obstacles along the route will be presented by local businesses, including Johnny Brenda’s, Evil Genius Beer Company, Philadelphia Brewing Company, and Kensington Community Food Co-Op.

Registration is still open for Derby riders! Thanks to generous support from Penn Treaty Special Services District, there is no fee to participate in the parade this year.

This year’s derby route will start at Trenton Avenue and Norris Street. From there, teams will make their way through obstacles sponsored by Frankford Hall & Johnny Brenda’s, City Fitness, Fishtown Neighbors Association, and Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, and then circle back to the mud pit at Trenton and Norris .  

Music on two stages 

While Derby teams parade through Fishtown, Tall Bike jousters presented by Stuart Leon Bike Crash Law will be dueling it out around the Mud Pit. The Derby Awards Ceremony will begin at the Mud Pit Stage at 3:00 PM with a Mudpit Mixtape live showcase hosted by sippinwitsammie at 4:00. PhillyCAM will live stream the Mud Pit to their website, their Facebook page, and the festival Facebook page.

Meanwhile, on the main stage there is live music all afternoon:

  • Noon — New Groove Studio
  • 1:15  — Iffusion 35
  • 2:00  — Gringo Motel
  • 2:45  — Bazmati Vice
  • 3:45  — The Spots Rock Band
  • 4:30  — The Towering Pines
  • 5:00  — American Dinosaur

Artists, makers & merchants

1505 Design Studio
5one7 Designs
A cut above all else
A New Day Office Bakery Cafe
After Oak
Astro Vinyl Art
Balto Farms LLC
Beekman’s COPA Soaps
Bhava Tie Dye
Birdie Jewelry/Maeve Amelia Art
Broadbent Pottery
Bucks County Flowers + Things
Catalyst Accessories
Chris Dowling Draws
Contemporary Works
Craft Foundry
Cusp By Cassie
Cynful Bliss: Alcohol Infused Desserts
Designs By Monet
Dog Treats
Elements of Aura
Feast Jewelry
Fishtown Signs
Gaia Darling
Golden Key Prints
Gracious Rebel Designs
Halligan and Emily
Jt’s Shirts
Keene Pottery
Knot-It Macrame
Laura k Murdoch and as the crow flies and co
Lightbox Cafe
Lily Lough Jewelry
Louis Organics
Maker Missya
Many Friends

Meg Potoma Studios
MESC Designs
Modern hex
New + Wesley
Paparazzi Jewelry
Philly Nuts
Piggyback Treats Company
Purrfect Handcrafted Soaps, LLC
Randi’s Relics
Salmagundi Trading Company
Sarah Draws Things & Charlotte’s Web
Sevenbound Handmade
Shady Sunglass Deals
Shemesh Shop
Shop Luniverse
Skullduggery Studios
Snug Baby
Spaghetti Kiss
Spring Honeybees
Stone Cooper
Taina Sisters
The 50/50 Company
The Ash of All Trades
The Tin Goat
Tiger Snake Vintage
Token of Affection
Twelve Kandles
Wire People Here
Wrong World Ceramics
Yardsale Press

Food trucks

Bake n’ Bacon
Byz Empire Food Truck
Calle del Sabor
Chank’s Grab-Go
Cotton’s Place
Cousins Maine Lobster
Dr Wutzit’s Wonder Balls
El Rancho Viejo
Mom-Mom’s Polish Food Cart
Mr Softee Ice Cream Truck
Phil’s Finest
Pink’s Cold Treats
Pound Cake Heaven
The Chilly Banana
The Little Sicilian

Beverage vendors

East Kensington Neighbors Association serving Philadelphia Brewing Company and Commonwealth CidersEvil Genius Beer Company
Interstate Drafthouse serving Fishtown Iced Teas
Stateside Vodka

Sponsors and others

Free Library of Philadelphia
Indivisible Philadelphia
Papermill Food Hub
Renewal by Andersen
Resources for Human Development
Stem Prep Academy
Sundance Vacations
The Fab Lab
The Rounds

Don’t miss the festival on May 14. Learn more, and sign up as a vendor or Derby participant, at

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