Any season that opens with tulips and ends with beer is bound to be a good one, and that's the happy case – why not make that growler – with spring 2017 in Philly. The Philadelphia Flower Show ushers in the solstice in March with a Holland theme, promising drifts of fragrant bulbs. Philly Beer Week bookends the season with 10 days in early June of tap takeovers, beer brunches, and the rest.
Between the big two comes this spring's No. 1 one-off event: the NFL Draft, with three days of hoopla on the Parkway in late April. (Gaper alert: It falls on the same weekend as the Penn Relays.) There's also a major public-space opening to anticipate: The Bartram's Mile recreation trail, tentatively debuting April 22. It will extend the Schuylkill Banks path 1.1 miles, to the colonial gardens overlooking the oil tanks. Come summer, we'll be getting a new LOVE Park, too.
But, wait – what's the Auto Show doing here atop our spring list? Even though it falls in the dead of winter, the show's annual appearance at the Convention Center is like Groundhog Day for Pennsylvanians east of Punxsutawney – the earliest sign in these parts that spring is around the corner.
Philadelphia Auto Show (Ends Feb. 5). Gentlemen, start your engines now if you've procrastinated. This is the show's closing weekend. It peels out of the Convention Center at 6 p.m. Sunday. (phillyautoshow.com)
Harlem Globetrotters (March 3-11). The hardest-working tall people in show business look to keep that winning streak alive at five local venues in nine days. See them at Trenton's Sun National Bank Center (March 3-4), the Wells Fargo Center (March 4-5), University of Delaware's Bob Carpenter Center (March 7), Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall (March 8), or the Liacouras Center (March 11). (www.harlemglobetrotters.com)
Toruk: The First Flight (March 8-12). Cirque du Soleil peoples its alt-circus acts with blue-skinned beings, inspired by James Cameron's Avatar. Like the movie, this fantasy is set on the moon Pandora, where dwell "five ancient clans." It plays at the Wells Fargo Center, where dwell fantasies of a mystical land called the postseason. (800-298-4200, wellsfargocenterphilly.com)
Philadelphia Flower Show (March 11-19). Expect a windmill and bulbs aplenty to go with the Holland theme. Attend on a weeknight and you won't need a dike to hold back the tide of petal-peepers flooding the Convention Center exhibit halls. (215-988-8800, theflowershow.com)
Philadelphia Invitational Furniture Show (March 31-April 2). The fine-crafted showpieces at the annual 23rd Street Armory show are what your Malm dresser and Poang chair aspire to be when they grow up. Calling all makers: Entries for this year's emerging artist competition are due Feb. 14. Winner gets a free booth at the show. (207-781-2982 or www.philadelphiafurnitureshow.com)
Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show (April 21-23). Fine and decorative arts from Ben Franklin's day to Don Draper's attract collectors and wannabes to the Navy Yard. Buy or browse silverware, paintings, books, jewelry, textiles, porcelain, furniture, and more. (215-573-2247, philadelphiaantiquesandartshow.com)
NFL Draft (April 27-29). The league will construct its outdoor Draft Theater on the steps of the Art Museum, complete with a red carpet for top picks to walk on Day One. (Probably not any future Eagles, though – the Birds pick around 14 or 15). A free fan fest accompanies the draft all three days, featuring photo ops with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, skills activities, player autograph sessions, and more. (www.discoverphl.com)
South Street Spring Festival (May 6). Maipole madness strikes again. This year's all-day, all-ages merriment packs the east side of the street with free live music on three main stages, outdoor games, and street food and drinks. (215-413-3713 or www.southstreet.com)
Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival (May 20). Eat, drink, and be merry the Walnut Street way, with top-chef eats, top-shelf drinks, and alluring sidewalk sales. (rittenhouserow.org)
Italian Market Festival (May 20-21). Eat, drink, and be merry Ninth Street style, involving gravy, pork, broccoli rabe, ricotta, cannoli, spumoni. The traditional Procession of Saints follows Sunday's 10 a.m. Mass at St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi. (215-278-2903 or italianmarketphilly.org).
Devon Horse Show (May 25-June 4). The tony class turns out for the adorable pony-class competitions, the elite Grand Prix, the down-home country fair. Pleas of "Dad, can we buy a horse?" echo across the Main Line. (610-964-0550 or www.devonhorseshow.net)