What to do: A jam-packed Memorial Day weekend

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Music at Longwood, Devon Horse Show, food, cars, fun abound

By Denny DyroffCorrespondent, The Times


Longwood Gardens again will feature music, fireworks and its beautifully lit fountains as the centerpieces of various shows this summer, kicking off Memorial Day weekend.

Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of summer in Chester County. It also marks the beginning of one the area’s most-anticipated events — the annual Festival of Fountains at Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, longwoodgardens.org).

From May 24 through September 1, the festival features illuminated musical fountain displays and live entertainment performances. There will also be gardening demonstrations, plant walks, behind-the-scenes tours and children’s activities.

At the Open Air Theatre, there is a six-foot curtain of water that rises after the shows, along with daytime fountain displays.

The Main Fountain Garden features hundreds of fountains propelling as much as 10,000 gallons of water a minute as high as 130 feet. The fountains run continuously from 9 a.m. until closing with special five-minute shows throughout the day.

The Italian Water Garden has 18 blue-tiled pools, carved limestone statuary and more than 600 fountain jets that recirculate 5,000 gallons of water a minute in continually changing fountain displays.

Other fountains around the site include Sylvan Fountain in Peirce’s Park, Flower Garden Fountains and Eye of Water, Waterfall, and Hillside Garden Flume.

“Fireworks and Fountains” feature special pyrotechnic displays set to music with six different themed shows that are designed by Arthur Rozzi Pyrotechnics of Ohio.

The first will be “Big Band and Broadway” on May 24. Next will be “Celebrate America” (July 4) followed by “A Touch of Classical: Tchaikovsky” (July 19), “Abbacadabra: The Magic of ABBA” (August 16), “Rachmaninoff: Power & Passion” (August 30) and “Ladies & Gentlemen . . . The Beatles” (September 13).

Admission is by advance-sale ticket only and tickets are limited. “Fireworks & Fountains” tickets provide all-day admission to the Gardens. Ticket prices are $38 for adults and $22 for children (age 15 and under). Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Chairs, which can also be rented on-site, cannot be put into place for viewing the show until 3 p.m.

The Festival of Fountains also features live entertainment performances throughout the summer. Highlights include the opening of Longwood’s new Meadow Garden June 13, three special evenings celebrating 100 years of arts in the Open Air Theatre and music concerts in a variety of outdoor settings.

The Gardens are open daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m. with extended hours until 10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday. Admission is $18 for adults; $15 for seniors (ages 62 and older); $8 for children (ages 5-22) and free for children (age 4 and under).

Another local event that has become a Memorial Day Weekend tradition arrives in the Brandywine Valley this weekend. The Brandywine River Museum Antiques Show and Sale is celebrating its 43rd anniversary this year.

The show has something to offer for antique collectors as well as people just interested in looking at vintage collectibles. The annual event, which runs from May 24-26 on the Museum’s grounds along the banks of the Brandywine Creek, will have 31 top-rated antiques dealers from all over America displaying and selling their wares.

Collectors who visit this weekend’s event at the museum, which is located on Route 1 in Chadds Ford, will be able to select from a huge array of fine antiques including quilts, glass, ceramics, folk art, American and English furniture, Oriental and European porcelain, metalware, rugs and other fine collectibles.

A special feature at this year’s event this year will be the program of booth talks by antiques dealers on May 25 and 26.

There will be four 30-minute talks on May 25 — “19th Century Luxury Glass,” “Issues of Authenticity in American Furniture,” “An Appreciation of Early Folk Art in America: Extolling Liberty and Cherishing Grace” and “Confessions of a Leg Man.”

The talks scheduled for May 26 are “Early Transfer Printed English Pottery,” “Scrimshaw: The Whaler’s Art,” “Chinese Export Porcelain” and “Southeastern Pennsylvania Furniture.” The talks are scheduled to get underway at 10:30 a.m. each day.

In conjunction with the 2014 show, the museum is presenting the special decorative arts exhibition “Wilhelm Schimmel: A Bold Piece of Work,” from May 23-June 22. The exhibition features wooden sculptures hand-carved in the 19th century by German immigrant Wilhelm Schimmel.

The 43rd Annual Brandywine River Museum Antiques Show and Sale will be held May 24-26 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day at the Brandywine River Museum, which is located on Baltimore Pike in Chadds Ford. Tickets are $15.


Memorial Day isn’t Memorial Day in Chester County without the Devon Horse Show. this year’s event, the 118th annual version, is bigger and better than ever.

Memorial Day in Chester County wouldn’t be Memorial Day without the Devon Horse Show. They are linked like Romeo and Juliet or Batman and Robin. They go together like peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches or bacon-and-eggs breakfasts.

And, they have been linked together for longer than anyone here has been alive.

Which event is older?

Actually, it’s Memorial Day — but not by much. Memorial Day first was celebrated in the late 1860s while the inaugural Devon Horse Show was staged in the 1890s.

This year, the 118th Annual Devon Horse Show and Country Fair opened on May 22 and will continue through June 1 at the Devon Horse Show Grounds along Lancaster Avenue in Devon.

The interest in horse-related completion is at a high point right now with the success of California Chrome. The speedy colt has already won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and could become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed accomplished the feat in 1978.

The Devon Horse Show has enough competitive equestrian events to keep sports fans happy. It began in 1896 as a one-day show with 28 classes. By 1914, it had grown immensely and had become the largest outdoor horse show in the country — a distinction it still holds.

In 2010, the Devon Horse Show became just the fourth American horse show to be honored with the designation as a USEF Heritage Competition. This award is reserved for those competitions that have been in existence for more than a quarter century.

Over 3,000 horses are entered in the Devon Horse Show in over 30 divisions and more than 200 classes with prize money totaling over a quarter of a million dollars. The equestrian competition reaches its peak during the final few days with the Devon Grand Prix and the Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake.

The competition is a major attraction but the Devon Horse Show is always much more than just one more equestrian event on the annual calendar. The Devon Horse Show is a family event that spans generations and traditionally marks the start of summer. It is both a sporting event and a tradition-based social event.

In 1919, it was decided that a “Country Fair” should be held in conjunction with the horse show and that the event should benefit Bryn Mawr Hospital. The Country Fair has concessions selling lemon sticks, cotton candy and buckets of fudge. Other main attractions at the fair are the a garden café, sales booths featuring antiques, toys, hand-crafted items, Devon Horse Show souvenirs and over 30 other shops with jewelry, art, clothes and equestrian-related items.

Another great family attraction is the Midway with its huge ferris wheel, old-time carousel and wide array of amusement rides and games — plus kid-favorite goodies such as popcorn, cotton candy and funnel cake.

The ultra-popular annual event is running now through June 1 at the Devon Horse Show Grounds on Lancaster Avenue in Devon. General admission tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children (under 12) and seniors (over 65). For more information, call (610) 688-2554 or visitwww.devonhorseshow.org.

If you’re interested in mustangs, you won’t find any of this type of horse at the Devon show. But, if you’re interested in Mustangs, one of Ford’s all-time favorite models, there is another event for you this weekend.

To check out a wide array of vintage Mustangs, classic automobiles, antique tractors or just cars in general, take a short drive to Kimberton where you’ll find a popular and very interesting annual car show.

On May 25, the 33rd Annual Chester County Car Show will be held at the Kimberton Fire Company Fairgrounds, which are located on Route 113 just outside Phoenixville. There is no admission fee to the event but a $2 parking donation is requested.


Haul out those ponies! The Valley Forge Mustang Club will be holding its annual show, jointly with the Annual Chester County Car Show in Kimberton, Sunday.

Presented by the Chester County Antique Car Club and the Valley Forge Mustang Club, the event will begin with auto registration at 9 a.m. A wide array of vehicles will be on display, including antique cars, motorcycles, classic cars, antique tractors, hit-and-miss engines, Mustangs and street rods.

The Mustang Show will have “People’s Choice” Awards for top three in each class, a “President’s Choice” award and a $100 cash award for “Best Club Participation” to the club with the most registered cars in the show.

In addition to all the cars on display, the one-day event will also feature an automobile flea market, an arts-and-crafts show, a “Chinese Auction,” a food court and music by a deejay. For more information, visit this website — http://www.thevfmc.org/?pageid=car_show.


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The Garden Railway Display at the Morris Arboretum is a pure delight to visitors to the nature-oriented site in Chestnut Hill.

The ultra-popular model railroad exhibit has become a summertime fixture at the Morris Arboretum (100 Northwestern Avenue, Chestnut Hill, 215-247-5777, http://www.business-services.upenn.edu/arboretum/index.shtml). The display has its official 2014 season opening scheduled for May 24.

The railway has a quarter-mile of track with 15 different rail lines featuring seven loops and tunnels. It also has two cable cars, nine bridges (including a trestle bridge you can walk under) and an array of live-action model trains.

Philadelphia-area landmarks are all meticulously decorated. There is even a masterpiece replica of Independence Hall are made using pine cone seeds for shingles, acorns as finials and twigs as downspouts.

The buildings and the display are all made of natural materials – bark, leaves, twigs, hollow logs, mosses, acorns, dried flowers, seeds and stones – to form a perfectly proportioned miniature landscape complete with miniature rivers.

Admission to the Morris Arboretum is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors (65 and older), $8 for students (ages 13-17), $8 for retired and for active military. Children (under 3) are admitted free.


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If your familiarity with Greek food dishes only includes baklava, shish-ka-bob and gyros, then you have a lot to learn. And, once you become more familiar with Greek cuisine, you’ll be really glad that you made the effort.

Tasty food can be found at most ethnic festivals — Italian, Russian, German, Indian, Polish. They’re all good and all highly-recommended.

But, when it comes to outdoor festival food, it’s hard to find anyone that does it better than the Greeks – especially the Greek cooks who make the food for the annual St. Sophia Church Grecian Festival in Jeffersonville.

This year’s festival at St. Sophia Church (900 South Trooper Road, Jeffersonville, 610-650-8960, www.stsophiavf.org) will run from May 28-June 1. The free festival will be held on the church’s site, which is located just across the Schuylkill River from Valley Forge National Historical Park.

It is an unwritten rule that the food is the main draw Greek festivals. One of the most popular items is the gyro (which is actually pronouncedHEE-ruh rather than JY-row) — a flavorful sandwich in pita bread. But, there is so much more.

Some of the other mouth-watering favorites from Greece are souvlaki (lamb), plaki (fish), moussaka (eggplant), pastitsio (pasta) and spanakopita (spinach and cheese triangles).

The traditional Greek desserts including baklava (layered pastry), loukoumades (honey balls), kataifi (shredded wheat and honey) and kourabiedes (cookies) are on a level all their own.

Greek Festivals are also known for the music. Greek-American groups from the Delaware Valley will play popular Greek songs and standards. There also will be performances of traditional Greek folk dances.

Other attractions at the free festivals are Greek grocery stores and sales booths with items such as Greek music, icons, custom-made jewelry, leather goods and fabric. There will also be a variety of children’s activities.

Treats for your tastebuds can also be found at the Great Pennsylvania FlavorFest at Mount Hope. This year’s seventh annual staging of the event will take place on May 24 and 25 at Mount Hope Estate & Winery (Route 72, Cornwall, 717-665-7021, www.parenfaire.com).

The festival, which runs from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. each day, features free admission, free parking and free wine sampling.

This weekend’s feast for the palate features more than 20 of the region’s finest wineries providing complimentary samples of some of their most popular vintages. There will also be a wide array of food vendors, cooking demonstrations, and specialty foods for sampling and purchase, master artisans, live music and an interactive kids’ area.

A number of top local craftsmen and artisans will display their one-of-a-kind creations for purchase. Some of the featured categories are pottery, jewelry smithing, candle making, basketry, quilting, glassworks, painting and photography.

Wine is also the feature attraction at a number of other locations in Chester County.

In recent years, a summer activity in this area that keeps growing in popularity is sipping wine while listening to live music in a pleasant outdoor setting — specifically, on the grounds of a local winery.

It’s pretty much a no-brainer when area wineries decide to put the two activities together for special events on Memorial Day Weekend.

Live music accompanied by wine tastings will be presented throughout the holiday weekend by Chaddsford Winery in Chadds Ford, Galer Estate Vineyard & Winery in Kennett Square, Penns Woods Winery in Chadds Ford, Paradocx Winery in Landenberg, Va La Vineyards in Avondale, Black Walnut Winery in Sadsburyville and Kreuz Creek Vineyards in West Grove.

The Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-388-6221, www.chaddsford.com) is presenting a four-day celebration from May 23-26 with live music each day. It features music concerts, picnicking on the estate grounds and wine tastings in Chaddsford’s cellars.

Visitors can bring their own picnic lunch or purchase tasty food items from the concessions on the festival grounds — Southbound BBQ on May 23, Nicks Chicks on May 24 and Justine’s Cuisines on May 25 and 26. Wine tastings are $10.

Larry Rooney will perform on May 23 from 2-5 p.m. while the live acts slated for May 24 are Alex and Shiloh Duo from noon-3 p.m. and Hake & Jarema from 3:30-6 p.m. On May 24, Rory Sullivan will play from noon-3 p.m followed by Josh Komorowski from 3:30-6 p.m. On Memorial Day, Drew Nielands and John Grecia will perform from 1-4 p.m.

Galer Estate Vineyard & Winery (700 Folly Hill Road, Kennett Square, 484-899-8013, www.galerestate.com) has live activities each week from Thursday through Sunday. Pop-up Art Shows are slated for every Thursday from 5-9 p.m.

Activity at the winery’s deck and tasting room on Fridays features new wine releases and food pairings from 4-8 p.m. with live music from 4-7 p.m. The hours for Saturdays are noon-8 p.m. with music from 5-7 p.m. On Sundays, events run from noon-7 p.m. with live music from 4-6 p.m.

At Penns Woods Winery (124 Beaver Valley Road, Chadds Ford, 610-459-0808, www.pennswoodswinery.com). Live music is not limited to special weekends. The winery’s 2014 “Vineyard Music & Food Vendor Schedule” ruins from mid-April until mid-October.

The schedule for May and June features Ryan Shubert (May 24), Sydnie Keddington (May 31), Matt Santry (June 6), Tim Williams (June 7), Matt Spitko (June 14), Greg Jones (June 15), Summer Solstice Party with Sean McGraw and Flight School (June 21) and Karen Fair (June 28).

Paradocx Vineyard (1833 Flint Hill Road, Landenberg, 610-255-5684, www.paradocx.com) will kick off its “PDX Summer Concert Series” this weekend with Syde 2 on May 24 and Essentials on May 25. Adult concert Admission $10 includes one complimentary glass of wine.

The winery’s 2014 summer schedule also includes Rory Sullivan (June 7), Dave Renz (June 21), Tom Larsen (July 5), Minas (July 19), Sinatra (August 16), The Blue Route Band (August 30), Ben Arnold & Rory Sullivan (September 13), Knowlton Point (September 27) and Splashing Pearls (October 4).

Va La Vineyards (8820 Gap Newport Pike, Avondale, 610-268-2702, www.valavineyards.com) has a special music event slated for Memorial Day Weekend. On May 24 and 25, the winery will present live concerts by The Mighty Glenn E. Williams Jazz Trio from 2:30-5:30 p.m. each day (weather permitting).

Black Walnut Winery (3000 Lincoln Highway, Sadsburyville, 610-857-5566, www.blackwalnutwinery.com) will present the Fourth Annual Black Walnut Winery Blues Festival this weekend with free shows on May 24 and 25.

Sister Blue Band will play on May 24 from noon-3 p.m. followed by Bushmaster with Gary Brown from 4-7 p.m. On May 25, the opening act, which will play from noon-3 p.m., is the Tom Guest Band. Then, from 3-6 p.m., the music will be serve dup by the Deb Callahan Band.

Forno Inferno will be on site making and selling gourmet wood-fired brick oven pizzas. Visitors can bring their own picnic lunches but no outside alcohol is allowed on the site. Guests are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs.

On May 24, Kreutz Creek Vineyards (553 S. Guernsey Road, West Grove, 610-869-4412, http://www.kreutzcreekvineyards.com) will be celebrating “Memorial Day in the Vineyard” with its annual “Spring Fling.”

The annual event will feature live music from 2-5 p.m. by the Sin Brothers. As an added attraction, “Wine Slushies” will be featured this Saturday’s free party. The Italian Scallion Catering Truck will have food available.

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