First weekend of summer is packed with family-friendly events
By Denny Dyroff, Correspondent, The Times
Swim clubs have had their pools open for several weeks already and schools have all finished the course years but summer will not officially begin until this weekend.
The day when summer solstice arrives is the longest day of the year. It takes place when the tilt of earth’s semi-axis is most inclined toward the sun. It is the day the sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the North Pole.
On June 21, the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County (TLC) is presenting a special “Summer Solstice Celebration.” The event will run from 3-5 p.m. at the Stateline Woods Preserve, which is located at 814 Merrybell Lane in Kennett Square.
Visitors are invited to celebrate the longest day of the year and the changing of seasons by going for a nature hike with TLC. Summer officially arrives in the northern hemisphere at 6:51 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Time).
The cost for the event is $5 for TLC members and $10 for non-members. For additional information, call (610) 347-0347 or visithttp://tlcforscc.org/education/education-programs.
A colonial vibe will also be happening on the grounds of the Barns-Brinton House (630 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-388-7376,www.chaddsfordhistory.org) on June 21 from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. when the Chadds Ford Historical Society hosts a “Colonial Faire.”
The party has plenty to offer for the entire family including colonial foods and drink, period dancers, local musicians, colonial demonstrators, Plein Air painters, tours of the Barns-Brinton House, and other special activities. A garden tavern will offer beer in souvenir mugs.
The special event will be a celebration of the historic house’s 300th anniversary. At 11 a.m., there will be an unveiling of the plaque for the National Register of Historic Places. A birthday cake will be served afterwards.
More colonial-related activities can be found on June 21 at the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation (Ridley Creek State Park off Route 3, Media, 510-566-1725, www.colonialplantation.org). On June 21, the historic site just outside Media will host its annual “French and Indian Skirmish.”
In 1758, a party of six Shawnee Indians and four Frenchmen attacked the homestead of the Jemison family on Marsh Creek, near modern-day Chambersburg. That was the start of something – something that was not so good.
In colonial Pennsylvania between 1754 and 1764, there was a conflict generally referred to the “Seven Years’ War” but was also known as the “Old French War” or the “French and Indian War”.
The plantation will serve as a backdrop for scenes from the French and Indian War. Visitors will be able to watch the Rodgers Rangers as they discover a French raiding party and then witness the skirmish that follows. Guests will also be able to visit the French and British campsites and talk to the soldiers.
The event will run from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. with skirmishes scheduled for 1 and 3:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children (ages 4-12).
Even though summer is just now starting, the American Swedish Historical Museum (1900 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-389-1776,www.americanswedish.org) is celebrating an event known as Midsommarfest (mid-summer fest) on June 21.
In Sweden, Christmas is the most important holiday. Midsommar is the second most important holiday in the Swedish calendar. The midsummer party involves flowers in your hair, dancing around a pole, singing songs while drinking unsweetened, flavored schnapps and eating a lot of pickled herring.
The American Swedish Historical Museum’s Midsommarfest, which runs from 4-7:30 p.m. on June 21, features food, drinks, home-made Swedish pastries, live music and maypole dancing, along with crafts and games for the kids. Tickets are $10 for adults and $4 for children (ages 4-12).
Two other popular attractions coming to Philadelphia this weekend are the Wizard World Philadelphia Comic-Con and the Manayunk Arts Festival.
This weekend, collectors of comics, toys, gaming or non-sport trading cards will be descending on Philadelphia in droves when the Pennsylvania Convention Center host Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con, one of the country’s top pop culture conventions. The annual event, which runs June 19-22, is the largest event of its type on the East Coast and is expected to draw a crowd of over 25,000 fans.
Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con will feature movies, comics, toys, video gaming, television, anime, manga, horror, sports, original art, collectibles, contests and movie screenings – along with more than 150 celebrities who will be greeting fans and autographing items and industry professionals representing the best in today’s pop culture.
The long list of special guests includes Whoopi Goldberg, David Boreanz, Matt Smith, Nathan Filion, Sebastian Stan, Christopher Lloyd, John Cena, Eliza Dushku, Sean Astin, Bruno Sammartino, Lou Ferrigno, John Carpenter and “The Karate Kid” himself — Ralph Macchio.
Other special attractions include comics-themed panels, portfolio reviews, costume contests for adults (Saturday) and kids (Sunday) and “Kids Day” on Sunday with an array of panels and events designed especially for children. Children and adult attendees are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite villain, superhero or pop culture personality for the chance to win special prizes in daily costume contests.
The show also will host hundreds of exhibitors who will be displaying and selling action figures, Anime, movie posters, trading cards, clothing, memorabilia, original artwork and comics.
The Pennsylvania Convention Center is located at 1101 Arch Street in Philadelphia. Tickets are $35 on Thursday; $45 on Friday and Sunday and $55 on Saturday. For more information, call (215) 418-4700 or visit www.wizardworld.com.
Manayunk, which sits at the northwest border of the city, has established itself as a popular destination for anyone looking for fine restaurants, interesting scenery and active nightlife — and popular street festivals.
On June 21 and 22, Main Street will be the site of the 25th Annual Manayunk Arts Festival. Because of this, Main Street, which is Manayunk’s primary thoroughfare, will be closed to vehicular traffic and open only for pedestrians.
Billed as “the largest outdoor arts and crafts show in the Delaware Valley”, the Manayunk Arts Festival is a juried show that features more than 300 artists from across the entire country and approximately 200,000 collectors, buyers, and designers. In addition to artists with oil and watercolor paintings, there will also be artisans who work in fiber, wood ceramics, jewelry, photography, mixed media and sculpture.
The festival will also feature special children’s activities. Additionally, most of the restaurants and retail shops will be open with extended hours during the festival. The free festival will run from 11 a.m.7 p.m. on June 21 and 1 a.m.-6 p.m. on June 22 along Main Street in Manayunk. For more information, call (215) 482-9565 or visit www.manayunk.com.
Two eagerly-anticipated and well-attended festivals are taking place in northern Delaware this weekend — the Delaware Chinese Festival and the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival.
There are quite a few Italian, Polish, Greek and German festivals around the Delaware Valley every year but there is only one top-caliber Chinese Festival — the Delaware Chinese Festival.
The Chinese American Community Center (1313 Little Baltimore Rd., Hockessin, Delaware, 302-239-0432, www.chinesefestival.org) has presented its Chinese Festival for over two decades with a mission of fostering appreciation of Chinese culture through exhibits and performances.
The 2014 Chinese Festival will open on June 20 and run through June 22 through Sunday at the CACC’s facility in Hockessin. The event’s hours are 5-9 p.m. on June 20, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on June 21 and noon-6 p.m. on June 22 and there will be dragon dances opening each day’s activities.
As always, the festival will feature performances of Chinese music and dance throughout each day including Dragon Dance, Lion Dance and Folk Dance. There will also be a tea ceremony as well as demonstrations of Tai Chi, Chinese cooking and Kung Fu.
As with most ethnic festivals, one of the main attractions is the food. The festival will have booths featuring a wide array of Chinese cuisine — with an emphasis on dishes that are not usually found on the menus of area Chinese restaurants.
Now through June 21, Rodney Square in the center of Wilmington will host the 26th Annual Clifford Brown Jazz Festival (11th and Market streets, Wilmington, 302-576-3095, www.cliffordbrownjazzfest.com). The free festival honors Brown, an internationally-acclaimed trumpeter. The Wilmington native was killed in a car accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in 1956.
On June 20, the concert at Rodney Square will showcase the talents of Amel Larruiex and Mindi Abair. There will also be the “Silver Trumpet Block Party!” — an outdoor block party located in the heart of downtown Wilmington. Attendees will be able to dance to the sounds of the “Blind Date” Band. The party starts at 9:30 p.m.
There will a quartet if internationally-acclaimed jazz acts performing at the festival on June 21 — Brian Culbertson, Habana Sax, Aniya Jazz and Jawanza Kobie. Additionally, there will be a free outdoor lunchtime concert on June 20 at the H.B. DuPont Plaza (10th and West streets) from noon-1:30 p.m. each day.
Outdoor festivals and fairs are some of the best things about summer and you still have a chance to enjoy one of the best fairs in Chester County. Saint Joseph Church (338 Manor Avenue, Downingtown, 610-269-8294, www.stjoesfestival.com) hosts its annual “Community Festival” now through June 21.
Live music will be featured both days. On June 20, the stage will belong to the Bulldogs and then Fern Rock will be the band for the festival’s final night on June 21. The dejeay each night will be DJ Loudenclear.
The festival atmosphere will be fueled by a large variety of rides and amusement games along with a number of food concessions featuring all the standard festival fare — hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn, corn dogs, soft pretzels, ice cream and cotton candy.
A new attraction at the festival this year was put together by Amanda Wisk for her Girl Scout Silver Award project. “Come In, Chill Out, Read Up!” is a reading and craft room in the school library. Children (ages 3-11) are invited to come hear a story, make a craft and select a book to take home — all for free. Story readings begin on the quarter hour.
For adults in this area, one of the favorite summer pastimes is enjoying a cold beer on a hot afternoon. And, the enjoyment level rises with the quality of the beer.
On June 21, high quality beer will be in the spotlight at the Fourth Annual Chester County Homebrew Festival. The popular seasonal event will run from 6-10 p.m. at the West Chester Elks Lodge #853 (401 W. Washington Street, West Chester).
Many home brewers will be onsite to offer samples of their latest brews to attendees for them to judge. Official judges will make the decision on which home brewer wins the “Best of Show” prize. Winning brewers receive awards at the end of the evening.
Tickets, which are $35 apiece, include a buffet-style dinner, live music by the Rob Perna Band, a souvenir event glass and “voting chips” for the People’s Choice Award. For more information, visit http://chestercountybrewfest.com.
If you’d like to have a look back at the region’s past, you can do it just that this weekend at a pair of special tours in the Glen Mills/Concordville area. The Friends of Old St. Thomas are conducting tours of Ivy Mills in Concord Township and Old St. Thomas Church in Chester Heights from 1-4 p.m. on June 22.
Old St. Thomas Church is the home of the oldest Roman Catholic parish in Pennsylvania. The church’s cornerstone was blessed by Bishop Neumann – now known as St. John Neumann – back in 1852.
Ivy Mills, which is the third oldest paper mill in Pennsylvania, was founded in 1729 by Thomas Wilcox. Benjamin Franklin was a customer of Ivy Mills – selling rags and purchasing paper from the company. Willcox’s paper mill made the paper used in currency for all the original colonies and then later did the same for the U.S. Mint.
The tours of the sites will also be presented on July 27, August 24, September 28 and October 26. The event is free but donations are requested. For additional information, call (610) 459-8392 or visit www.fost.us.
East Goshen Township Community Park (1580 Paoli Pike, West Chester, 610-692-7171, www.eastgoshen.org) will be a bustle of activity on June 21. The park will host East Goshen Township Community Day, an event that begins at 4 p.m. at concludes after dusk with a fireworks display.
The free, family-oriented event has activities geared for people of all ages, including live music performed by the Blue Sky Band, a visit by the 75-foot REMAX hot air balloon and a rousing group singing of the National Anthem.
The list of attractions also includes carnival games, moon bounce, a JeffSTAT helicopter landing (courtesy of Paoli Hospital), Zumba dance and yoga meditation sessions, a petting zoo, youth tennis lessons, face painting, Laser Tag, Tae Kwon Do demonstrations, a “glow in the dark” hula hoop contest, the 2014 “REC Camp Time Machine” and food provided by the Purple Picnic People.
Another event that will get kids smiling is Camphill Kimberton’s Hootenanny, a festival of local music and food. The event will be held on June 21 from 2-10 p.m. at Camphill Village Kimberton Hills (1601 Pughtown Road, Kimberton, 610-935-0300, http://www.camphillkimberton.org).
The roster of musicians for this year’s Hootenanny includes Sidney Joseph and Organic Reverb, Jersey Corn Pickers, Pretty Dittys, Lily Mae and several other local artists. The Hootenanny has been organized to celebrate the joy of local culture.
In addition to the music, there will be family games, face painting, dancing, tractor rides and tours of the the working dairy and vegetable farm. Local, organic food from the Camphill Café will be available for purchase. Admission is $10 for adults and free for children (ages 10 and under).
Proceeds from the Hootenanny will go to Camphill Village Kimberton Hills, which is a farming and handcrafting community founded in 1972 that includes adults with developmental disabilities. Located on 432 acres of farm, gardens and woodlands in Chester County, Kimberton Hills is also a local center for culture and a model for sound ecological living.
Families will also enjoy a special event that is scheduled for June 21 at the Mill at Anselma (1730 Conestoga Road, Chester Springs, 610-827-1906, http://anselmamill.org).
From 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the historic site will present “Colonial Children’s Day,” which features a variety of colonial activities in addition to the Mill’s normal tours and hands-on activities.
The list of special attractions includes 18th-century puppet theater shows, a hands-on workshop for children with the puppeteers, an 18th-century magician, a number of different children’s games that were popular during the colonial era and an 18th-centiry ice cream making demonstration in which the kids in attendance help make the ice cream.
Food, ice cream and other refreshments will be available for purchase. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors (age 60 and older) and $3 for children (ages 4-17). All children who attend this event dressed in colonial attire will receive free admission.