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Your February good (Philadelphia) Citizen calendar

The dates you need to make this year your civic best

Your February good (Philadelphia) Citizen calendar

The dates you need to make this year your civic best

If, like us, your New Year’s Resolution is to be a more civically engaged citizen, then you’ve come to the right place. Here is your official Good Philadelphia Citizen Calendar for 2023. (We’ll keep updating it as new events crop up!)

Truth be told, you can be a good citizen any day of the year: Sweep your block. Donate a book to a little free library. Volunteer at any kind of shelter. Buy a a box of overpriced candy from a kid on the subway. Lend a hand to someone who could use it. Patronize a local business. Come interview candidates for mayor of Philadelphia.

But for specific ideas, pull out your new 2023 calendar, sharpen your favorite pencil, and start marking these civic holidays and Philly-centric events to make 2023 your best citizen year yet.

February / March / April / MayJuneJuly /
AugustSeptember / October / November / December

 

FEBRUARY 2023

A groundhog

February 2: Glean What You Will from Groundhog Day

It’s odd, disproven, old-fashioned (what with the fellas in top hats), and borderline cruel to a hibernating groundhog who has, to date, received zero dollars for his annual appearances — not to mention for being the face of the Pennsylvania Lottery. But if it gives us a little hope, even perversely, that spring is coming, then, good on ya?

Kehinde Wiley’s tapestry, The Gypsy Fortune Taller.

February 3: See Works by Kehinde Wiley, Kenneth James, Donna Grace and more on First Friday

Old City’s Thinker Maker Society goes all out for Black History Month and First Friday with the exhibition Spirit Mediums. See works by established, even world-famous but also up-and-coming Black artists. As always, your host is gallerist and innovator Quon Brinkley. February 3, 7-11pm. 320 Race Street

 

Caroline LeCount

February 4: Honor Rosa Parks and Caroline LeCount on Transit Equity Day

Rosa Parks was not the first Black American woman to inspire a bus boycott. That was 19th-century Philadelphian Caroline LeCount, who is extremely overdue for a statue — and whom a group of neighbors on Taney Street would like their street named after. But Parks’ simple and defiant act inspired a 20th-century movement, and that movement inspired work to change for the better. So, ride a SEPTA bus, subway or train. Have a seat. Make room for another rider. Thank your driver.

The owner of Harriet's Bookshop in Philadelphia huddles up with some of her friends.
Harriet’s Bookstore owner Jeannine Cook poses with supporters outside her store.

February 4, 11, 18, 25: Ride the Sisterhood Sit-In Trolley

Saturday afternoons, February 4 through March 25, Jeannine Cook, owner of Harriett’s and Ida’s bookshops, hosts a Rebel Rides trolley tour — beginning on Rosa Parks’ birthday — of Black women-owned businesses such as Harriett’s, French Toast Bites at Cherry Street Pier, Ceramic Concepts, Bookers, Modest Transitions and Nyambi Naturals Urban Beauty. Along the way: games, gifts, sisterhood. Tickets are $40. 258 E. Girard Avenue.

Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters. Photo by Steve Weinik.

February 5 & 25: Go on a Black History Month Civic Heroes Trolley Tour

Ninety minutes of riding around Philly, checking out public walls featuring original murals portraying African American national and neighborhood heroes — and you’ll never see Philadelphia the same way again. Mural Arts tours depart from PAFA at Claes Oldenburg’s Paint Torch sculpture at 10am February 5 & 25. Tickets $38 (adult) and $28 (ages 12 & under). 128 N. Broad Street

Allan Domb and Rebecca Rhynhart.

February 7: Join Us for The Third Ultimate Job Interview of Mayoral Candidates

Join The Philadelphia Citizen at Fitler Club from 6:30-8:30pm to interview Allan Domb and Rebecca Rhynhart, candidates for Mayor of Philadelphia. The event is free, but registration is required. All the information you need is here.

African American Children’s Book Fair

February 11: Bring Kid(s) to the African American Children’s Book Fair

The fair’s back in person for year 31, bringing the next Jason Reynolds or Jacqueline Woodson (or maybe the real ones) to Philly for three hours of unbridled shopping for and signing and reading aloud of children’s books by Black authors and illustrators. This is biggest such event on the East Coast. And, it’s a glorious sight to behold. PA Convention Center, 1-4pm.

Cherelle Parker (left) and Helen Gym, candidates for Mayor of Philadelphia.

February 21: Come to the Fourth Ultimate Job Interview of Mayoral Candidates

Join The Philadelphia Citizen at Fitler Club from 6:30-8:30pm to interview Helen Gym and Cherelle Parker for the important job of Mayor of Philadelphia. The event is free, but registration is required. All the information you need is here.

Octavius V. Catto Memorial. Photo by Jeff Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

February 22: Register to Vote on Octavius Catto’s Birthday

On this day in 1839, Octavius V. Catto, aka Caroline LeCount’s partner, was born. Catto would go on to serve in the National Guard, recruit other African Americans to serve in the military, help establish Philadelphia’s Negro League Baseball (go Pythians), worked to integrate streetcars, and was assassinated after exercising his sacred right to vote. You know what you need to do: Register. To. Vote.

 

MARCH 2023

A Philadelphia Flower Show attendee snaps a photo of one of the dozens of floral displays.
Photo courtesy Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

March 4-12: Breath Deep at the Philadelphia Flower Show

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) is bringing back the world’s largest indoor flower show … indoors, after putting on an ambitious pop-up version for a couple of years in FDR Park. Your $38.50 adult admission, pricey though it may be, does help fund PHS’ greening of our fair city, which could use a few more trees, to be sure. PA Convention Center.

This photo of Harriett's Bookshop illustrates a guide to black-owned shops, cafés, pizza and water ice joints, beauty boutiques, bookstores, and even an auto mechanic whose Black owners are committed to making our city better
Jeannine Cook. Photo by R. Rabena for Visit Philadelphia

March 10: Buy a Book at a Black-Owned Bookshop on Harriett Tubman Day

When this day becomes a federal holiday, you can thank bookstore owner Jeannine Cook, who named her Fishtown shop after Tubman — and named her Collingswood, NJ location after Ida B. Wells. In the meantime, you can still add your name to a petition to make March 10 the first American holiday recognizing a Black woman. And shop at Harriett’s and Ida’s.

March 22: Be Extra Kind to Muslim Friends: Ramadan Begins

Fasting from sunup to sundown for a full month inspires reflection and even community building. It does not, however, come easily. Go easy on your Muslim colleagues, friends, neighbors and fellow citizens.

People’s Light.

March 23-April 2: Get Dramatic during Philly Theatre Week

Like so many celebratory weeks, this one is longer than seven days, and spans theater groups and spaces in and beyond Philly. This is the time to sample the new stuff.

Cheesesteak at the Reading Terminal Market. Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.

March 24: Eat One on National Cheesesteak Day

If you have to ask. (We love you Pat’s and Geno’s, but give a little love to your corner steak shop this go-round, wouldya?)

APRIL

The Philadelphia Phillies play ball.
Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Phillies

April 6: Catch the Phillies Home Opener

Opening day is usually too cold to be outside. But after that blissfully improbable run to the Series last fall? We’ll brave the chill. Go Phils!

 

Domino the Dog, courtesy of ACCT Philly

April 11: Help an Animal on National Pet Day

Every human companion to a pet knows: Fur babies are the best babies. Philadelphia has long struggled to shelter all of our city’s un-homed animals. Here are 10 ways you can help, ranging from low-commitment — Take a dog for a walk! Donate used towels! Take a cat’s photo! — to the lifechangers, like adopting a new, barking or meowing family member.

April 12-16: Take Part in National Youth Violence Prevention Week

No need to tell any Philadelphian about what’s happening with our kids. Too many children — because that’s what they are — are becoming victims and culprits of violence, most notably, gun violence. We can’t keep blaming parents. We need to fix this ourselves. Here’s how:

Cherry blossoms in West Fairmount Park.

April 15-16: Savor Spring at the Cherry Blossom Festival

Shofuso — the 17th-century-style Japanese house and garden gifted to Philadelphia in 1953 — remains one of the hidden gems of Fairmount Park. Except, that is, over this weekend, when everyone gathers beneath pink cherry blossoms to celebrate Japanese culture.

Photo by Chris Yakimov for Flickr.

April 22: Fight Climate Change on Earth Day

Here are more more than 50 ways to save Planet Earth, mostly easy:

The Phillie Phanatic

April 25: Show Your True Colors for the Phanatic’s Birthday

Before there was Gritty, there was this green, Galápogan big-bellied, silly-snouted creature, still the best mascot in all of baseball. For all the joy you’ve given us (since 1978!), Phillie Phanatic, we thank you. Feel free to sit on us during a home game.

Broad Street Run. Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia

April 30: Support Runners Doing Good at the Broad Street Run

You could stand between Central and the Navy Yard, cheering on the 40,000 runners, maybe even seeing a friend among them. Or, you could join them. Run with Back on My Feet, which helps people going through crisis through … running. Or sponsor a youth runner from Girls on the Run or Students Run Philly Style.

MAY 2023

May 1: Last Day to Register to Vote Before the Primary Election

Do it.

Sharif El-Mekki, a former Mastery principal and founder of Center for Black Educator Development, speaks at a conference.
Photo courtesy of Center for Black Educator Development

May 1-5: Do an Educator a Solid during Teacher Appreciation Week

Some believe a solid education, fueled by teachers and support staff who double as mentors, is the most essential solution of all. Shoutout to all the educators who look after our kids from pre-K to post-grad. Here are some ways to help teachers (and therefore students) here in Philly.

May 3: Buy a Newspaper on World Press Freedom Day

Pick up a newspaper: Maybe the Philadelphia Daily News or Philadelphia Tribune, or an Inquirer. Make a donation to a nonprofit newsroom that’s actively working to solve seemingly intractable Philadelphia problems … like, oh, I don’t know, The Philadelphia Citizen?

LOVE Your Park Week
Photo by Kevin Burkett for Flickr

May 13: Sign up for Love Your Park Day

Like spring cleaning, except for your neighborhood park. Heck, like spring cleaning but for a park that you’ve never been to before, where you discover something new, like friends!

May 16: Vote in the 2023 Primary Election

Philadelphia being very majority Democratic, it’s more than likely that the primary election will determine who’ll be Philadelphia’s next mayor. You know what to do. Vote.

South 9th Street Italian Market Festival. Courtesy of Visit Philadelphia

May 20-21: Climb the Greased Pole (or just watch) at the S. 9th Street Italian Market Festival

It’s loud. It’s crowded. There’s a greased pole that’s pretty much daring every post-championship pole climber to tackle it, en masse. There’s live and DJ’ed (hi, Jerry Blavat) music. And, cannoli. And giant pineapple drinks, lines out the doors of Di Bruno Bros, Claudio’s, Fante’s … It’s kinda blissful.

Philadelphia National Cemetery. Photo courtesy of Local Cemeteries

May 29: Honor Fallen Military on Memorial Day

Memorial Day began after the Civil War to honor members of the military who lost their lives in battle. Should you be feeling patriotic and / or grateful for the sacrifices made by service members and the people who loved them, pay your respects at Philadelphia National Cemetery in West Oak Lane at 6909 Limekiln Pike.

JUNE 2023

Odunde. Photo by Aaron Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia.

June 11: Do Up Odunde

This proud, woman-founded, extra lively West South Street tradition merges African and African American traditions into unbridled Black joy on the Second Sunday in June.

Juneteenth at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, photo by Joseph Kaczmarek.

 

June 19: Celebrate Juneteenth — and Feel Great About It.

It’s been three years since President Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday, giving all Americans the opportunity to celebrate the end of slavery. Take this opportunity to visit the African American Museum in Philadelphia, support Black-owned businesses that do good, catch a parade — or to just listen.

Photo by Ra Dragon on Unsplash

June 20: Help Someone New to the United States on World Refugee Day

For the moment, the United States remains a promised land for people fleeing war, poverty, crime, and abuse. Here’s how you can help refugees who’ve come to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection looking for a better life.

JULY 2023

The Wawa Welcome America Fireworks Spectacular over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia
Fireworks over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia

July 4: Catch Philadelphia Fireworks on Independence Day

The city’s tourism bureaus like to say, “The city that did it first, does it best.” Well, Phily certainly does it longest. Welcome America is a 15-day, event-filled runup to Independence Day, replete with concerts and fireworks, including the biggest of the year over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

AUGUST 2023

2nd Story Brewing owner Cory McDonald with local vets

August 4: It’s Hot Out. Have a Beer.

Go to a Philadelphia brewery that does more than brews and serves delicious pilsners, ales, and whatnot. Go to a Philadelphia brewery that does good for its community.

SEPTEMBER 2023

Photo by A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia

September 3-4: Do More than Listen at Made in America

Jay-Z’s massive Labor Day weekend concert is known for bringing the biggest names in hip-hop to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. They also bring good causes, to … Cause Village. Visit.

September 4: Give Unions a Fair Shake On Labor Day

Unions get a bad rap. Some of us blame … gangsters. But, to review some American history, workers created unions as protection against on-the-job exploitation and discrimination. Here, a union president argues why we still need them.

Photo by Aaron Burden for Unsplash

September 15: Do Something for Democracy Day

“Democracy,” it is often said by the smartest people at The Philadelphia Citizen events, “is not a spectator sport.” During last year’s Ideas We Should Steal Festival, The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin elaborated, “Unless you participate, it’s going to fail. Run for office. Join a campaign. Don’t just give money. Don’t just write a check. Subscribe to a newspaper. Do something. Become a political participant.”

Gritty. Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.

September 24: Let Loose on Gritty’s Birthday

Wear orange. Be weird. Have fun.

OCTOBER 2023

Two ladies dressed in head-to-toe rainbow gear smile for the camera at OutFest in Philadelphia
OutFest. Photo by Jeff Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

October 6-8: Roam the Gayborhood during OutFest

Pride is fun, but OutFest — which lays claim to being the nation’s largest Coming Out Day celebration — feels distinctly Philly.

October 9: Honor Indigenous People

All of Philadelphia was once the domain of the Lenni Lenape. On this, the day that used to be Columbus Day, we have a chance to celebrate them. Here’s how:

Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

October 11: Praise Your LGBTQ+ Friend for Coming Out

Coming out in 2023 might be easier than it was in 1983, but it’s still not close to easy, not for most Americans. Congratulate friends you know who’ve done it. And, consider supporting a local LGBTQ+ cause or two.

 

Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

October 14, 15, 21, 22: Go on an Open Studio Tour

For two weekends, the Center for Emerging Visual Artists invites Philadelphia artists to open their work spaces to the public. Drawing back the curtain on the artistic process, makers of fine arts share their secrets and inspirations.

October 23: Hurry! It’s Your Last Day To Register to Vote before Election Day!

Pennsylvania gives eligible residents — ages 18 and over — the chance to register to vote for up to 15 days before an election. This makes, by our calculations, October 23 the last day to register. Do it.

NOVEMBER 2023

This photo is included in a roundup of some of the best women-run restaurants in Philadelphia right now
Photo courtesy of Bar Bońbom

November 1: Eat Your Veggies on World Vegan Day

Didya know that Philadelphia has one of the highest ranked vegan restaurants … in the world? Vedge sure is a treat. But you can also get your vegan on at Monster Vegan, Bar Bombón, HipCityVedge, The Tasty, LUHV, The Nile Cafe, Miss Rachel’s Pantry, Fitz on 4th, Charlie was a sinner …

jason Kelce (left) and Miles Sanders in Underdog Apparel

November 5: Show Your Philly Pride on Jason Kelce’s Birthday

Philadelphians don’t often adopt out-of-towners as one of our own. Kelce is an exception. Dude chugged a beer with the Phanatic during the 2022 World Series. Coined the phrase, “Nobody likes us, and we don’t care!” at the 2018 Super Bowl parade — while wearing Mummers regalia. Made his teammates sing on a Christmas album and created a line of merch — to benefit Philly kids. More on that: Time and again, Kelc has proven he really, truly, deeply cares about our city and the people in it. HBD.

 

Questlove on Election Day 2022, photo by Albert Lee for the City of Philadelphia.

November 7: It’s Election Day. Vote.

If you didn’t do it earlier, do it. Now.

Veterans Day Parade, Photo by Robert J. Castaldi Sr.

November 10: Thank a Vet on Veteran’s Day

More than 7,000 military veterans call Philadelphia home. Thank them by supporting those in need and supporting their businesses.

Neighborhood residents rake leaves at a park in Cobbs Creek on Love Your Park Fall Service Day.
Photo by Steve Belkowitz for Fairmount Park Conservancy

November 11: Sign up for Love Your Park Day

So. Many. Leaves to pick up. Trash, too, this being Philadelphia.

Kensington Soccer Club coach Brianna Banks with player Malena Morrison, photo by Pat Hardy

November 13: World Kindness Day

Kindness is goodness in action. Did you know it is also the key to happiness? If you do nothing else all year long, do this: Be kind.

This photo accompanies an article about how to give back for Thanksgiving
Operation Turkey

November 23: Give Thanks By Giving

Thank those Philadelphians who are making this city a greater city for all. Then, take some time to honor those in need. Here are some ways to do that:

Chestnut Hill

November 25: Shop Small Saturday in Philadelphia

We’ve got some of the best urban main streets — although few go by that name — in the country. Choose one. Or more. Buy stuff there.

DECEMBER 2023

December 7: Write a Letter

On National Letter Writing Day, think about someone you’ve been meaning to reach out to — a far-away friend, grandparent, sibling, anyone you’ve lost touch with — and take a few minutes to send them a card or drop them a line.

This photo illustrates an article about what educators can learn about public schools from Philly-based sitcom Abbott Elementary
Abbott Elementary

December 21: It’s Quinta Brunson’s Birthday. Respect your Teachers.

The creator and star of Abbott Elementary made us fall in love again with Philadelphia’s public schools, warts and all — but especially with Philly educators. You know what they like: Gift cards for school supplies … and coffee shops.

 

 

Photo by Tonya Hopkins.

December 26: Join One of the Oldest Kwanzaa Celebrations in the Country. (And Bake Cookies.)

That’s here, in Philadelphia, in case you didn’t know. Listen to Tonya “Food Griot” Hopkins’ podcast about the history of the holiday in Philly. Then start the festivities in the best way: Bake Kwanzaa cookies.

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