What To Do: Freedom Fest, Big Bang BBQ

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Push away those stormy clouds, there’s lots to do this holiday weekend 

By Denny DyroffCorrespondent, The Times

Orbotron

The Orbitron is just one of many attractions this weekend at Nottingham County Park’s Freedom Fest.

Every year, Independence Day is officially celebrated on July 4. This year, it will also be celebrated on July 5 when Nottingham County Park (150 Park Road, Nottingham, 610-932-2589, www.chesco.org/ccparks) presents its annual Freedom Fest.

The 23rd Annual Freedom Fest will be held on July 5 from 6-11 p.m. at Nottingham County Park, which is located six miles south of Oxford, off U.S. Route 1 just above the Maryland State Line.

A number of activities are slated to get underway at 6 p.m. Visitors to the event will be able to take a turn at twisting and spinning on one of two Orbotrons. Designed by a former NASA engineer, the Orbotron allows riders to flip, spin and swirl based on their body movements.

Live music will begin at 7:45 p.m. with a performance by the country band On the Rise. Between band sets, youth from Wrightsdale Baptist Church will perform “The Pledge,” a special patriotic presentation of Old Glory and The Pledge of Allegiance.

The gala aerial fireworks display is scheduled to start at 9:03 p.m. Visitors will be treated to a show that also features ground displays set to patriotic tunes and a grand finale incorporating the traditional raising of the American Flag.

Herr Snack Trucks and “Chipper” will distribute free snacks throughout the evening beginning at 6 p.m. and there will be a wide array of food vendors with festival food items such as hot dogs and ice cream.

Visitors may also bring a picnic of their own menu items and are advised that — because of security concerns — all coolers, bags and similar items are subject to being searched. Because it is a county park, no alcoholic beverages or pets will be permitted.

Field seating is available for both the concert and fireworks. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early and to bring blankets and lawn chairs. There will be a $10-per-vehicle parking fee at Nottingham County Park and Herr’s Corporate Center.

In the event that weather prohibits the setup or safe shooting of the fireworks show, Freedom Fest will be postponed to July 6. Parking vouchers will be distributed at the parking locations.

Some of the more popular holiday weekend activities are dining in an outdoor setting, sipping chilled wine on a hot day, listening to live open-air musical performances and enjoying a barbecue.

You can do all four activities at the same time this weekend if you take part in the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail’s “Ninth Annual Brandywine Big Bang BBQ.”

The event, which has become an area tradition, will take place now through July 7 at several area wineries — Black Walnut Winery, Borderland Vineyard, Kreutz Creek Vineyards, Paradocx Vineyard and Penns Woods Winery.

Black Walnut Winery (3000 Lincoln Highway, Sadsburyville, 610-857-5566, www.blackwalnutwinery.com) will offer food and music on its outdoor deck from July 4-6 and 7. The concerts will feature Casey Alvarez on July 4, Holt 45 on July 5 and Michael Kopp on July 6.

Visitors will be able to sample wine from the vineyard and enjoy tasty barbecue items. Pulled pork, ribs, chicken and sides will be available for purchase from Jimmy’s BBQ of Frazer on July 4 and 5.

Borderland Vineyard (332 Indiantown Road, Landenberg, 215-436-9154, www.borderlandvineyard.com) has a pair of themes for its event — “Relaxing at the Vineyard” on July 4 and 6 and ‘BBQ and Bluegrass” featuring the Unruhlies on July 5.

Kreutz Creek Vineyards (553 S. Guernsey Road, West Grove, 610-869-4412, www.kreutzcreekvineyards.com) will have live “Classic pop rock” music from 2-5 p.m. on July 4, 5 and 6. The winery is open from 1 a.m.-6 p.m. all three days.

Paradocx Vineyard (1833 Flint Hill Road, Landenberg, 610-255-5684, www.paradocx.com) is presenting an outdoor concert on July 5 from 5-9 p.m. featuring the Tom Larsen Blues Band with tickets priced at $10. The winery is opens at noon each day and closes at 6 p.m. on July 4 and 6. This weekend’s event features food treats from the Midnight Munchies food truck.

Penns Woods Winery (124 Beaver Valley Road, Chadds Ford, 610-459-0808, www.pennswoodswinery.com) will feature wine tastings and food samples from July 4-6. There will be a fireworks show on July 4 along with concert from 5-9 p.m. featuring the acoustic rock duo Capturing the Flag.

As an added attraction, there will be also be a free lawn concert from 2-5 p.m. on July 5 featuring highly-acclaimed jazz and classical pianist John Valerio. Food treats will be available from The Meat House, Dia Doce Gourmet Cupcakes and MomsPops.

Three area wineries also having special events for the holiday weekend –Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery, Twin Brook Winery and Chaddsford Winery.

Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery (700 Folly Hill Road, Kennett Square, 484-899-8013, www.galer estate.com) is using the holiday as a special event to welcome Virginia Mitchell, a new winemaker at Galer Estate on July from 4-10 p.m.

To celebrate the arrival of its new vintner, who was formerly working at Mazza Winery in the Lake Erie area, the winery will be pouring some sparkling Rosé in her honor. Rosé is a favorite of both Mitchell and Galer’s crew.

Fireworks will add a special sparkle to the celebration — thanks to Longwood Gardens. Longwood’s awesome fireworks display can be viewed from a great vantage point on Galer’s side deck.

Twin Brook Winery (5697 Strasburg Road, Gap, 717-442-4915, www.twinbrookwinery.com) is hosting its “4th of July Weekend Celebration” from July 4-6.

There will be live music concerts featuring Hake and Jarema (July 4, 6:30-9:30 p.m.), Sister Blue (July 5, 6:30-9:30 p.m.) and Ragtime Willi (July 6, 1-4 p.m. Concert tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children (ages 5-12).

On July 6, it will be time for “Vintages in the Vineyard” — a “Cruise-In” of vintage cars. During the event, Victory Brewing Company will be selling BBQ and serving samples of their locally-brewed beers from noon-4 p.m.

This event is held in honor of Adam Recke, a young man battling Neimann-Pick Disease. One dollar of every bottle of wine sold on July 6 goes to Adam’s charities — the Race for Adam Foundation, the National Niemann-Pick Disease Foundation and the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation.

Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford 610-388-6221, www.chaddsford.com) will host its “Red, White & BBQ” from July 4-6 featuring Sangria slushies, wine tastings and wine by the glass. The event is free and no reservations are required. Wine tastings are $10 per person.

There will also be delicious picnic foods available for purchase from a number of vendors — Southbound BBQ on July 4 and 6, Wonderland Cakes on July 4 and 5 and Ted Pace on July 5.

The live entertainment schedule features Larry Roney (July 4, noon-3 p.m.), Roger Girke (July 4, 3:30-6 p.m.), Nicole Ehinger (July 5, noon-3 p.m.), Hake & Jarema (July 5, 3:30-6 p.m.), Alex and Shiloh (July 6, noon-3 p.m.) and Josh Komorowski (July 6, 3:30-6:30 p.m.)

Any time of the year is a great time to visit Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org). Holidays are an even better time — especially Independence Day.

On July 4, Longwood will host one of its special “Fireworks and Fountains” displays. These events feature special pyrotechnic displays set to music with six different themed shows that are designed by Arthur Rozzi Pyrotechnics of Ohio.

The theme for this weekend’s event is “Celebrate America.” Visitors will be able to celebrate Independence Day with well-loved patriotic selections such as “The Olympic Fanfare,” “Victory at Sea,” “The Colonel Bogey March,” “King’s Row,” “Armed Forces Medley,” “The Stars and Stripes” and “The National Anthem.”

This season’s other “Fireworks and Fountains” displays will be “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 for the fireworks events 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 “Fireworks & Fountains” events are part of Longwood Gardens’ “Festival of Fountains” which is running now 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 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.

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.

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

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).

Every year, Independence Day is officially celebrated on July 4. This year, it will also be celebrated on July 5 when Nottingham County Park (150 Park Road, Nottingham, 610-932-2589, www.chesco.org/ccparks) presents its annual Freedom Fest.

The 23rd Annual Freedom Fest will be held on July 5 from 6-11 p.m. at Nottingham County Park, which is located six miles south of Oxford, off U.S. Route 1 just above the Maryland State Line.

A number of activities are slated to get underway at 6 p.m. Visitors to the event will be able to take a turn at twisting and spinning on one of two Orbotrons. Designed by a former NASA engineer, the Orbotron allows riders to flip, spin and swirl based on their body movements.

Live music will begin at 7:45 p.m. with a performance by the country band On the Rise. Between band sets, youth from Wrightsdale Baptist Church will perform “The Pledge,” a special patriotic presentation of Old Glory and The Pledge of Allegiance.

The gala aerial fireworks display is scheduled to start at 9:03 p.m. Visitors will be treated to a show that also features ground displays set to patriotic tunes and a grand finale incorporating the traditional raising of the American Flag.

Herr Snack Trucks and “Chipper” will distribute free snacks throughout the evening beginning at 6 p.m. and there will be a wide array of food vendors with festival food items such as hot dogs and ice cream.

Visitors may also bring a picnic of their own menu items and are advised that — because of security concerns — all coolers, bags and similar items are subject to being searched. Because it is a county park, no alcoholic beverages or pets will be permitted.

Field seating is available for both the concert and fireworks. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early and to bring blankets and lawn chairs. There will be a $10-per-vehicle parking fee at Nottingham County Park and Herr’s Corporate Center.

In the event that weather prohibits the setup or safe shooting of the fireworks show, Freedom Fest will be postponed to July 6. Parking vouchers will be distributed at the parking locations.

Independence Day Weekend has arrived and the “Wawa Welcome America Festival” is in full swing. The event, which is billed as “America’s Biggest Birthday Party,” is running now through July 6 at a number of different locations in Philadelphia with a wide array of activities including fireworks, concerts and parades.

The first event on the Fourth of July will be the “Celebration of Freedom Ceremony,” which will run from 10-11 a.m. on the steps of Independence Hall. At 12:30 a.m., it will be time for the “Philadelphia Independence Day Parade.” The parade features more than 5,000 patriotic and multicultural marchers, musicians, dancers and floats. All five U.S. military branches will be represented.

Independence Square and the surrounding neighborhoods will host “Let Freedom Ring” from 1-2 p.m. The ceremony starts on Independence Square and concludes with the symbolic Liberty Bell tapping.

The “Party on the Parkway” will take place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from noon-7 p.m. with seven blocks of educational activities, games, entertainment and food vendors.

The Parkway will then be the site of “Philly Fourth of July Jam and Fireworks.” This event runs from 7-11 p.m. and features live music by The Roots, Ed Sheeran, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Hudson, Aloe Blacc and Ariana Grande.

The “Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice cream Festival” will be held on July 5 and 6 at Penn’s Landing. A $7 donation is required to enter. For more information on the “Wawa Welcome America Festival” call (215) 683-2200 or www.welcomeamerica.com.

A great way to spend a hot summer day is to get on a boat and head out on the water. It’s an even better experience if the boat is a tall ship under full sail.

The Kalmar Nyckel, which is Delaware’s only tall ship, is a recreation of a boat that brought Scandanavian settlers to America in the 1600s. You can take a ride on Delaware’s own tall ship the Kalmar Nyckel — but only if you act immediately.

The ship is wrapping up its current visit to Wilmington with sailings on July 4 and 5. The Kalmar Nyckel will offer public sails departing from Dravo Plaza (Shipyard Shops area of the Riverfront, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-429-7447, www.kalmarnyckel.org).

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The last chance to ride on a tall ship, the Kalmar Nyckel, in Wilmington is this weekend.

When the Kalmar Nyckel departs the dock in Wilmington, she uses her motors to travel down the Christina River, under a few drawbridges and into the basin near the Delaware River. If conditions permit, the ship’s sails are put in place and arranged according to the wind and her engines are shut down.

The 1.5-hours sails depart on July 4 at 10 a.m., 3 and 6 p.m. and July 5 at 9:30 a.m. Tickets are $35 for adults and $20 for youth (age 17 and under).

On July 4 and 5, visitors to the Colonial Plantation  (Ridley Creek State Park, off Route 3, Media, 610-566-1725,www.colonialplantation.org) can enjoy a picnic and celebrate the holiday by hearing the Declaration of Independence.

And, with a look back at the area’s history, they can witness the crowd’s reaction as it would have been a little over 200 years ago. The Patriots are making demonstrations against the king, including burning him in effigy.

Other less volatile activities include textile demonstrations, hearth cooking, garden talks, long rifle demonstrations and animal talks. Visitors are welcome to enjoy some liberty tea in the parlor (included with the price of admission).

Admission for this special event is $10 for adults and $8 for children (ages 4-12). Children (age 3 and under) are free. Refreshments and souvenirs will be available for purchase.

The development of Pennsylvania during its early days was shaped by the influence of settlers from German. The history of these pioneers is celebrated each summer at a Pennsylvania German folk festival in Kutztown — an event that has been around for over 50 years and is still growing.

This year’s Kutztown Folk Festival (Kutztown Fairgrounds, off Route 222, Kutztown, 888-674-6136,www.kutztownfestival.com) has been running for a week and will remain open through July 6. Admission to the festival is $14 for adults, $13 for senior citizens and $5 for students.

The popular annual event, which is billed as a celebration of Pennsylvania Dutch culture, features traditional crafts, food, music and folk life. The festival will open its gates each day at 9 a.m. and run until 6 p.m.

The festival also offers non-stop entertainment with country auctions, parades and bands, fiddling, live music and dancing, comedy, storytelling and historical seminars.

The presentation of Pennsylvania Dutch culture will feature a variety of activities daily, including farming and gardening, churches and weddings, folk life, Pennsylvania Dutch dialect and folklore, furniture, spinning and weaving, country cooks and candle making.

The festival also offers non-stop entertainment with country auctions, parades and bands, fiddling, live music and dancing, comedy, storytelling and historical seminars. Additionally, over 200 juried folk artists and traditional American craftsmen will be participating with both sales and demonstrations.

There will also be a lot of attractions for children including puppet shows, make-and-take crafts sessions, visits with baby farm animals, real-life haystacks, story time sessions, a hay maze, sing-alongs and a variety of hands-on activities.

As always, there will be plenty of booths featuring Pennsylvania Dutch food treats and beverages, including family style feasts, shoo-fly pies, sausage sandwiches, pastries, country chicken dinners, strawberry shortcake, funnel cakes, ox roasts, sarsaparilla and chicken potpie.

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Tags: Brandywine Big Bang BBQ, Downingtown, Good Neighbor Day, longwood gardens

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