By Denny Dyroff, Correspondent, The Times
This weekend’s schedule of special events has plenty of options for enjoying a fun day — especially with a wide variety of the area’s most family-friendly late spring events. The party vibe will be heaviest at West Chester’s Super Sunday.
On the first Sunday of every June, West Chester has a party — not just a party but a mega-party. The downtown area becomes a huge block party when it plays host to Super Sunday. This year, the 22nd Annual Super Sunday will be held on June 1 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Gay Street between Matlack and Darlington streets.
The 2014 edition of Super Sunday will feature approximately 100 crafts exhibitor booths, a variety of food vendors, amusement rides, the TCL Clowns, a travelling arcade, a children’s “Fun Zone,” mini-golf, stilt walker Dick Rainer, mechanical bull riding and an antique car display.
There will be a music stage at Matlack and Gay streets with Joel Roberts set to perform from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. followed by Sean Farley with Adam Tarin from 1:30-3:30 p.m. There will also be a stage featuring live music at Darlington and Gay streets with the Josh Olmstead Band playing from12:45-2:30 p.m. and Venom Blues performing from 3-4:45.p.m.
For additional information about the free festival, call (610) 436-9010 or go to this website — http://www.west-chester.com/recreation.php.
Visiting the museums and tourist sites in northern Delaware is always a nice way to spend some leisure time.
It can be even nicer if you take advantage of the 2014 Brandywine Treasure Trail Passport. The cost is $45 for an individual pass and $95 for a family pass (for up to five family members). A family pass, which includes one-day admission to each of 11 sites, can bring a savings of over $200 for the holders — especially since many of the participating institutions have regular admission fees in double figures.
The list of locations covered by the Brandywine Treasure Trail Passport includes Longwood Gardens, Delaware Museum of Natural History, Brandywine River Museum, Delaware Art Museum, Hagley Museum and Library, Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts, Nemours Mansion & Gardens, Delaware Historical Society, Mt. Cuba Center, Rockwood Museum and Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library.
For more information, call (800) 489-6664 or visit www.visitwilmingtonde.com/bmga/.
If you buy a Brandywine Treasure Trail Passport this weekend, you can use it to visit the Brandywine River Museum (Route 1, Chadds Ford, 610-388, brandywinemuseum.org) where you can check out the site’s “Bonsai Show.” Bonsai are ornamental trees and shrubs whose growth is trained using an ancient Japanese craft.
The annual event, which will be held May 31 and June 1 from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day, features an outstanding selection of bonsai on display in the courtyard. Members of the Brandywine Bonsai Society will be present to demonstrate handling techniques and answer questions.
The Marshall Steam Museum at Auburn Heights Preserve (3000 Creek Road, Yorklyn, Delaware, 302-239-2385, http://auburnheights.org), which is not on the passport trail, has an event called “Steamin’ Days” that it hosts on the first Sunday of the month from June-November.
The site, which features the Marshall Steam Museum and the Auburn Heights Mansion, focuses on steam power when it presents “Steamin’ Days,” which run from 12:30-4:30 p.m. each time. Combo Tickets, which cover all rides and building tours, are $19 (13 and older) and $16 (age 12 and under).
Special attractions include fresh steam-popped popcorn from a vintage popper, a “Firing Up” demonstration using a Stanley steam car, tours of the antique-furnished Auburn Heights Mansion (which was built in 1897), rides on the Auburn Valley Railroad and in select antique automobiles from the Marshall Collection.
Also included is entry to the Marshall Steam Museum, which features the world’s largest operating collection of Stanley steam cars along with a 1930s working Lionel electric train display, a hands-on engine display, kids activities and exhibits and the Museum Gift Shop.
A look back at the past is also an attraction at Philadelphia Comic-Con, which will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on June 1 at the Clarion Hotel Conference Center (76 Industrial Highway, Essington, 856-217-5737, www.philadelphiacomic-con.com) and have an admission fee of $3.
The show features comic books, trading cards and other collectibles — vintage and current. It also hosts a number of special autograph guests. This weekend, the primary guest artist is Joe Rubinstein.
Rubinstein is an American comic book artist and writer who is described as an “Inker Extraordinaire.” His catalog of work includes highlights such as the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, the Wolverine Mini-series and Jim Starlin’s “Warlock.”
Other showcased guests and autograph signers at the event will be comic artist Darren Auck, “Studio-Aegis” artist Jose Cruzpagan and graphic novel artist Angela McKendrick.
Comic-Con has a lot more to offer than just special guests. The popular collectibles event, which is the area’s longest running comic convention, has a large number of vendors selling for comic books, non-sport trading cards, Manga items and gaming cards.
The show will host dealers from all over the Northeast who will have sales booths featuring Gold & Silver Age comics, Japanese Manga, gaming cards such as Yuh-Gi-Oh and Magic the Gathering, action figures, non-sport cards, original artwork and all the latest issues of today’s popular comic book series.
As an added attraction, there will be hourly door prizes beginning at 11 a.m. with $100 in show cash to be given away.
The feeling of going back to another era can also be found in Chester Springs. On June 1, Historic Yellow Springs (Art School Road, Chester Springs, 610-827-7414, www.yellowsprings.org) will welcome the summer season with one of its most popular annual events –“Jazz at the Springs.”
The event, which is celebrating its 17th anniversary this year, always features a well-received concert by a top-flight jazz ensemble. The headline performer at this year’s “Jazz at the Springs” will be Glenn Ferracone & Friends.
The free concert will begin at 3 p.m. at a stage on the lawn behind the Chester Springs Studio. In the event of rain, the show will be moved to the newly-refurbished Washington Building.
On the same day, the Chester Springs Studio will be firing its wood kiln.
This will be the last time this kiln, which was established in 1988, will be fired. The studio’s potters will gather to mark this ending and also to celebrate the rebuilding of the wood kiln later this summer. Visitors will be able to observe wheel-throwing exhibitions and check out the pottery that is for sale.
Music and food are staples at almost every festival. Two events on the schedule focus primarily on Greek food and one is devoted to just one kind of fruit — the strawberry.
The cool weather throughout the spring has delayed this year’s crop of local strawberries. Now, strawberries are ready for picking and that means that it’s time for 2014 Brandywine Health Foundation’s 43rd Annual Strawberry Festival.
The free event will run from May 29 through June 1 on the grounds of the Brandywine Hospital (201 Reeceville Road, Coatesville, 610-380-9080, www.brandywinestrawberryfestival.com).
The annual festival at the Brandywine Hospital features amusement rides, live entertainment, an arts-and-crafts show, a variety of food vendors, a run and a family fun walk, jugglers, children’s games and, of course, strawberry shortcake.
The roster of attractions also includes “Strawberryland,” an international food fair, a “Craft, Artist and Business Vendor Fair,” a used book sale and raffle drawings. “Strawberryland” features a wide array of activities for young kids, including a Moon Bounce, an inflatable obstacle course, inflatable slides, carnival games and the “Strawberry Train.” This area is recommended for kids 7 and younger and features an all-inclusive price of $10 a day.
Other popular attractions at the festival include performances by Jonathan the Juggler, magician Chris Capehart and “Hoopster — the 8-foot-tall Stilt-walking Ref,” pony rides, a free throw shootout and mechanical bull rides.
The entertainment schedule features Quest on May 29; Three Shades of Blue and Sidney & the Organic Reverb on May 30; The Lukens Band, Nicole Ehinger, the Nicole Zell Band, Helixx and the Punk Junkies on May 31; and Kindred Cross on June 1.
The list of festival highlights includes wristband night featuring unlimited rides in the Majestic Midway on May 29 for a flat rate of $25 and a spectacular fireworks display on May 30 at 9:45 p.m.
Greece might just be the home of the world’s tastiest cuisine — and some of the best cooks. And, the Turks are right there too. Most of the diners in the Mid-Atlantic region have either Greek or Turkish management.
One big difference around here is that there are a number of Greek food festivals but no Turkish food-related events. Two of the area’s top Greek festivals are happening now or about to happen.
The Grecian Food Festival at St. Sophia Church Grecian Festival (900 South Trooper Road, Jeffersonville, 610-650-8960, www.stsophiavf.org) is running now through June 1. Then, the 2014 Greek Festival at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church (808 North Broom Street, Wilmington, 302-654-4446, www.holytrinitywilmington.org) opens on June 3 and runs through June 7.
Both festivals feature amusement rides and games but everyone knows that the main attraction is the food.
Here is a Greek festival food primer to help you get informed about what to expect — especially from entrees with exotic names.
The list of main dish items at St. Sofia’s festival has a wide variety of meat and vegetable items. Chicken Oreganato is Grecian-style chicken roasted with a mixture of lemon, oil and oregano, while souvlaki is grilled pork tenderloin marinated with special herbs.
Gyros are pita sandwiches featuring a ground beef-and-lamb mixture with spices that is grilled, sliced fresh and served with tzatziki (cucumber and yogurt sauce), tomatoes, onions and olives. Pastitsio is a macaroni dish with braised ground lamb and beef that is topped with béchamel sauce and baked. A similar entrée is mousaka, which features layers of eggplant, potato, ground lamb and beef, that is baked and then topped with a light béchamel sauce.
Saganaki is a dish with seared vlahotiri cheese that is flamed with brandy and lemon and served fresh. Greek Salad, which is always a favorite, includes lettuce, feta cheese, tomatoes, Greek olives, oregano, salt, onion, cucumbers tossed in a light olive oil dressing.
Smaller items that can either be a main meal with several of them or a side dish are Dolmades, which are rice and meat wrapped in grape leaves; tyropita, which is a Greek-style cheese pie in a crispy phyllo crust; and spanakopita, which is a tyropita that has spinach added.
The menu at St. Sophia’s also includes a fried calamari dish with fresh lemon, and patates tiganitres, which are deep-fried potatoes that have been lightly seasoned with Greek herbs and spices and topped with feta cheese.
All of the Greek pastries on sale at the festival are delectable. The most well-known Greek dessert baklava, which is made with multiple layers of thin buttered phyllo dough cooked with walnuts, spices and honey syrup.
Loukoumades , the Greek version of doughnuts, are deep-fried and dipped in honey with a dash of cinnamon. Kataifi features shredded wheat with chopped nuts and honey syrup. Floyeres is a baked dessert prepared with thin layers of buttered pastry sheets, almonds, spices, and honey syrup. Galaktoboureko is a custard dessert baked between carefully placed pastry sheets and covered in syrup.
Karidopita is a moist walnut cake with spices and syrup. Kok, wihch is the Greek version of Boston cream pie, is a chocolate-covered cake that is filled with custard. Diples are crunchy treats featuring crisp folds of thin rolled pastry dough that are deep fried and topped with syrup, cinnamon and nuts.
Greek cuisine also includes a variety of mouth-watering cookies including melomakarona (oval cookie dipped in honey and rolled in nuts),kourabiedes (butter cookie served with confectioner’s sugar), paximadia (zwieback-type cookie that is baked then sliced and toasted in the oven), koulourakia (butter cookie that is twisted, basted with egg yolk and baked.)
The menu for the festival in Wilmington also features mousaka, pastitsio, tyropita, gyros, Greek salad, souvlaki, spanakopita and dolmades along with arni (baked lamb), chicken and orzo, keftedes (meatballs in tomato sauce), Greek-style string beans, plaki (baked fish) and Greek rice pudding.
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 and tavernas for dancing and drinking at all three events.
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.