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A Guide To The 2013 Philadelphia International Festival Of The Arts (PIFA)

Time travel. It's one of our most wished for abilities, right up there with flying, immortality and, obviously, the ability to stuff our faces and stay perpetually thin.

This year, one of Philadelphia's most anticipated biennial events returns to the Avenue of the Arts, and the theme is "If You Had a Time Machine." Running from the end of March through April, the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, or PIFA, features tons of arts and culture events centered on the topic of time travel. Here's what you need to know about this celebration of the past, present and future. – Chelsea Karnash

When: March 28 – April 27, 2013

What: The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, or PIFA, is a month-long celebration of arts and culture in the City of Brotherly Love. The festival spotlights fashion, photography, music, theater, fine arts and more, and features many one-time-only shows and events, many of which are happening at the famed Kimmel Center.

Why: PIFA was inspired by the Kimmel Center and Philly resident and philanthropist Leonore Annenberg, who dreamed of the city hosting a large-scale arts festival. Before her death in 2009, Annenberg set aside a grant to ensure her dream would be realized. The first PIFA celebration was back in 2011, and the festivities return this year with an extra week of intrigue.

Theme: "If you had a time machine…" is the theme of this year's festival, which takes visitors on a journey from the Big Bang Theory to the present and includes a neat interactive Time Machine that visitors can walk through.

Event Highlights: PIFA is set to feature more than 50 events and performances from local, national and international performers.

Time Machine Plaza

Find out what time travel means to you throughout PIFA at the Commonwealth Plaza inside the Kimmel. You'll hear live music, watch performances, enjoy food and drinks and walk through the awesome interactive Time Machine, the festival's core exhibit.

Trapeze Classes

Fly School Circus Arts' trapeze classes were a huge hit back in 2011. Now, they're returning for the second installation of PIFA to give visitors a chance to achieve their childhood dreams of a trip on the flying trapeze. Each class is two hours, and anyone over the age of six and less than 250 lbs can participate. Classes cost $55 and are held at 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. every day of the festival.

"A Taste of History: An Evening With Chef Staib"

City Tavern's famous chef, Walter Staib, brings his Emmy-winning show to PIFA this year. The Founding Fathers come to life in this evening of culinary exploration featuring secrets of historical founding foodies and (of course!) yummy edibles. Tickets range from $35-150, and there are also VIP tickets up for grabs that include a premium orchestra seat and dessert with Chef Staib and his Revolutionary friends.

Free Plaza Performances

Live dance, theater and musical performances are scheduled for nearly every day of PIFA, and the best part? They're free! Stop by and catch everything from tap dancing to a late night dance party during the month-long shindig.

PIFA Street Fair: The Avenue of the Arts will once again be transformed into a massive street fair on Saturday, April 27th, from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. With vendors, a giant ferris wheel, gardens, live music and performances and even a dinosaur "petting zoo," the fair is sure to be a spectacular end to the festival's events. Bonus: The street fair is free! Visit here for more info.

For a full list of PIFA events organized by category, click here.

Tickets: While some performances are free, others require tickets. Tickets are available online at You can also call 215-546-PIFA (7432) between the hours of 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., or visit the Kimmel Center Box Office, which is located at 300 S. Broad St. and is open from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. (with extended hours on show nights).

Volunteer: Volunteer to guide visitors through time at PIFA this year! To help out, visit:

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