What To Do: Annie, fairs, ice cream and more

Get the beat this weekend, ranging from drum corps to Marley

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

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Brandywiners, Ltd. will be performing the classic American musical “Annie” at Longwood Gardens, July 25, 26, 31 and Aug. 1.

There’s no need to wait for “Tomorrow.” You can hear the song “Tomorrow” and watch the show “Annie” right now. All you have to do is head to Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) on July 25, 26 or 31 or August 1.

Brandywiners, Ltd. will perform the award-winning musical at 8:30 p.m. each night in Longwood’s beautiful Open Air Theatre. Every summer, the company presents a large-scale musical production at Longwood Gardens and contributes the proceeds to cultural, educational and civic causes throughout the Delaware Valley.

Originally produced in 1977, “Annie” ran for nearly six years, set a record for the Alvin Theatre (which is now the Neil Simon Theatre) and won the Tony Award for Best Musical.

The fictional story deals with an orphan named Annie and the various characters — good and bad — she encounters in her early years. And, it also features Annie’s dog Sandy along with the ultimate good guy — Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks.

The popular musical with a happy ending features a number of songs that have become classics, including “It’s a Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street” and, of course, “Tomorrow.”

Tickets for the Brandywiners, Ltd. production include admission to Longwood Gardens beginning at 9 a.m. on the day of performance as well as a spectacular fountain display immediately following the show. Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for students (ages 13-21) and $15 for children (ages 12 and under).

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The 65th annual Goshen Country Fair kicks off July 28.

At this time of the year, it seems you can’t travel more than 20 miles in any direction during the weekend and not encounter a fair. There are blueberry festivals, peach festivals, county fairs, firemen’s festivals, state fairs and plain old country fairs.

Right now, there are a few fairs in the area that are running now or about to begin. One of the best — and longest-running — is the annual Goshen Country Fair (Goshen Fairgrounds, Park Avenue, East Goshen, 610- 430-1554, www.goshencountryfair.org).

The fair, which is celebrating its 65th anniversary this season, will run from July 28-August 2 at the Goshen Fairgrounds, which are located just off West Chester Pike three miles east of West Chester. The free family-oriented event is held each year as a benefit for the Goshen Fire Company. It will open at 6 p.m. from Monday through Friday and at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

This is a real down-home country fair with all the agricultural events found at most traditional country fairs, including competitions each night at 6 p.m. — rabbit show (July 28), Jersey, Guernsey and Brown Swiss dairy cattle show (July 29), dairy goat show (July 30), Holstein and Lineback dairy cattle show (July 31), sheep show (August 1) and Ayrshire cattle show and pet show (August 3).

Also featured will be competitions for bread, cookies, flowering houseplants, cakes, flower arrangements, pies, vegetables, jams and jellies, specimen flowers and candy. Nightly attractions include live music performances, tug-of-war competitions and pie-eating contests.

If you enjoy country fairs, you can also check out two area events that are running through July 26 — the 86th Annual Kimberton Community Fair (Kimberton Fairgrounds, Route 113, Kimberton, 610-933-4566, http://kimbertonfair.org)  and the 61st Annual Cecil County Fair (4640 Telegraph Road, Elkton, Maryland, 410-392-3440, www.cecilcountyfair.org).

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The Friends of Springton Manor will hold an ice cream social July 26.

July is National Ice Cream Month. In 1984, the United States Senate passed a resolution that proclaimed the month of July National Ice Cream Month. It was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on July 9, 1984 with Presidential Proclamation 5219.

One of the passages Reagan wrote in the proclamation was “Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim July 1984 as National Ice Cream Month and July 15, 1984, as National Ice Cream Day, and I call upon the people of the United States to observe these events with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

As usual, the Friends of Springton Manor are holding a special event to celebrate the special month — but they almost waited too long this year.

On July 26, the “Friends” of the historic site just west of Downingtown will host an “Ice Cream Social” at Springton Manor ( 860 Springton Road, Glenmoore, 610-942-2450,http://dsf.chesco.org/ccparks).

The summertime party, which will be held in the Manor House at Springton Manor, is scheduled to run from 2-4 p.m. It is a free, family-oriented event presented annually at the park.

Visitors are invited to kick back and enjoy a slow-paced afternoon at the park. Special activities include the playing of Victorian games, learning about the history of Springton Manor Farm and making ice cream.

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Drum Corps: An American Tradition will be at West Chester University, July 30.

A few weeks ago, 10 of the world’s top competitive drum and bugle corps performed at PPL Park in Chester as part of the “Drum Corps: An American Tradition” event. It was the region’s first appearance by these groups which represented Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina and Massachusetts.

If you missed it, you missed a good show — a show that was a really entertaining event. The spectacle featured a variety of bands that performed intricate, choreographed routines and treated the crowd to impressive musical performances.

Fortunately, you have another chance to enjoy one of the shows on the DCA’s Summer 2014 Tour. On July 30, “Drum Corps: An American Tradition” will visit Chester County for a performance at West Chester University’s Farrell Stadium.

Nine marching music ensembles comprised of 150 young people representing the finest in brass, percussion and dance performance will put on a rousing show at WCU’s stadium.

Featured in the competition will be the current defending World Champion Cadets (Allentown), the current defending DCI World Champions Carolina Crown (Fort Mill, South Carolina), the Cavaliers (Rosemont, Illinois), the Bluecoats (Canton, Ohio), the Blue Stars (LaCrosse, Wisconsin), the Spirit of Atlanta, Crossmen (San Antonio, Texas), the Colts (Dubuque, Iowa) and Jersey Surf (Camden County, New Jersey).

The participating ensembles feature members under the age of 22 who are proficient in three categories — brass, percussion and color guard/dance. Each group performs a 12-minute production based on a wide variety of musical styles.

“Drum Corps: An American Tradition” begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 for “Value Reserved,” $30 for “Reserved” and $50 for “Premium Reserved.” Tickets are available online at www.yea.org/ticketsor by calling (610) 821-0345, ext. 512.

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People’s Festival – Tribute to Bob Marley takes place July 26 in Wilmington.

One of the most popular music festivals in the area is the annual “People’s Festival – Tribute to Bob Marley” (Tubman-Garrett Waterfront Park, Water and South French streets, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-575-9462, www.peoplesfestival.com).

This year, the event will be held on July 26 at Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park in downtown Wilmington, is a mid-summer event with a lot of history behind it.

Most people think of only Jamaica when they hear Marley’s name. But, Rastaman Bob Marley actually lived in this area for awhile.

In 1966, Marley married Rita Anderson and moved to Wilmington, close to where his mother Cedella Booker lived. During his time in Delaware, Marley worked as a DuPont lab assistant and on the assembly line at a Chrysler plant.

This year marks the 20th consecutive year for the reggae-heavy event, which will be hosted by legendary Jamaican dub poet Mutabaruka. Also slated to perform year are Third World (one of reggae’s earliest international successes), I Octane, the Flex Crew, Dub Campaign, the Evokatones, and Dub Quest.

Those attending the festival attendees can enjoy arts, literature, drumming, spoken word, face painting and activities at the Children’s Village Festival and cool off in the festival’s Holistic Wellness Pavilion and Bamboo Rain Hut with stress relief and rejuvenation massage therapy. The International Market Place & Food Court will have vendors with art, merchandise and food from around the world.

It may seem a bit ironic that the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen has one of its biggest and oldest annual craft fair in another state. The Guild presents several craft fairs throughout the Keystone State each year, including the Annual State Craft Fair — an event that had its origin almost 70 years ago.

A few years ago, the Guild’s popular mid-summer fair moved from Lancaster to Wilmington’s Riverfront. It’s still the biggest and oldest but it now is known as the Pennsylvania Guild Fine Craft Fair.

The 2014 Pennsylvania Guild Fine Craft Fair (717-431-8706, www.pacrafts.org) features 192 top-flight crafters from all over the Mid-Atlantic region. It will be held on July 26 and 27 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront, which is located on Justison Street in Wilmington, Delaware.

This weekend’s event hosts a diverse group of independent local and regional artisans. The wide array of crafts made by hand includes jewelry, sculpture, furniture, clothing and fine art.

The list of participants from the area includes Kennett Square’s Liberty Chair Works (wood), Coatesville’s Honeybrook Woods (wood), Lincoln University’s KC Art Clay (clay), Glenmoore’s Leni Hoch Design (fiber), Oxford’s Golden Touch Gifts (wood),

Atglen’s Piazza Ltd. (clay), Exton’s Fulton Design Studio (fiber), Landenburg’s Caryn L. Hetherston Designs (jewelry), Berwyn’s Sculptured Flowers (clay), West Chester’s Suzanne Kent (ceramics) and Chester County Craft Guild (mixed media).

As an added attraction, there will be a number of demonstrations presented by a diverse group of featured artists both days. Show hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $8 for adults. Children (age 17 and under) will be admitted free.

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Paranormal Friday at Fort Mifflin allows ghost hunters to explore a local historical site, July 25.

It’s Friday night and you’re in the mood for hunting a ghost. What are you going to do?

You don’t have to call “Ghostbusters.” All you have to do is hop in your car and drive down to Fort Mifflin on the Delaware (Fort Mifflin Road and Hog Island Road, Philadelphia, 215-685-4167,http://fortmifflin.us).

On July 25, the historic site will host “Paranormal Friday at Fort Mifflin” from 7 p.m. until midnight. Tickets for this special event are $45 per person.

The evening’s schedule will feature guided candlelight tours, a workshop highlighting recent evidence of paranormal activity and the technology used in the investigations. Following the workshop, there will be guided small-group investigations of five of the site’s “hot spots.”

While fans of Marvel Comics, other comics and superheroes of all sorts are descending on San Diego this weekend for the huge annual San Diego Comic-Con (the granddaddy of all comic book/pop culture collectibles events), area fans of the Marvel Universe who aren’t able to make the trip to the West Coast still have something to look forward to.

Now through July 27, the Wells Fargo Center  Broad Street below Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, 800-298-4200, http://www.wellsfargocenterphilly.com) is presenting “Marvel Universe Live.” Tickets for the extravagant production range from $45-$200.

The show is an arena-size spectacle in which all the fans’ favorite Marvel Comics heroes come to life. The cast includes Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Cat, Aldrich Killian, Wolverine, Storm, Captain America, Green Goblin, Nick Fury, Thor, the Hulk, Captain Marvel, Loki, Rhino, Black Widow, Agent Maria Hill, Red Skull, Chitauri, Madam Hydra, Lizard, Hawkeye, Falcon, Electro, Doc-Oc and Cyclops.

Red Skull and Loki have been creating havoc on their quest for universal domination and the end of the Marvel Super Heroes. But, the Marvel heroes rise to the occasion and offer some serious opposition to the bad guys’ plans.

Loki, who is Thor’s nemesis, is trying to build his own “Cosmic Cube” — an object that gives ultimate power to its bearer.  Thor shattered the original to keep any one person from gaining this power.

To offset Loki’s plans, the Marvel heroes have to find and put together the three existing pieces of the real “Cosmic Cube.”  These components were scattered across the world when it was smashed by Thor.

If you want to find out how the story unfolds, you’ll have to go to the Wells Fargo Center to see the show — a multi-media spectacle that is like comic books come-to-life after an injection of high-tech steroids.

Are you ready for some references to European geography?

Located just a few miles away from the King of Prussia Plaza is a small village called Swedesburg. At the end of July each year, the village in western Montgomery County looks more like a village in Poland.

This weekend, it’s time once again for the annual Polish Festival at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church (Fourth and Jefferson streets, Swedesburg, 610-275-1750, http://sacredheart-swedesburg.net).

The Polish-American church will host the 43rd annual edition its popular Polish Festival July 25-27 on the church’s grounds. The event will run from 6-10 p.m. on July 25, 4-11 p.m. on July 26 and 4-9 p.m. on July 27. Festival attendees will be able to enjoy live performances of polka music all three evenings.

The festive music is one of the free event’s two major attractions. The other is the large and very tasty array of Polish food. The festival will feature Polish delights such as golubki (stuffed cabbage), pierogies (dough squares filled with meat, sauerkraut or potatoes) and kielbasa (smoked sausage). There will also be a variety of Polish desserts, including khruschiki (crisp-fried dough with powdered sugar).

When this weekend arrives, the expo center in Oaks will be no place for anyone with ophidiophobia (the fear of snakes) or herpetophobia (the fear of reptiles).

On July 26, the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Road, Oaks, 610-529-3614, www.northernberksreptileshow.com) will host the East Coast Reptile Super Expo from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 with children (under five) admitted free.

If you think snakes and lizards are interesting creatures and maybe even fun pets to own, you should check out this show.  A wide array of reptiles will be on display as part of the popular exhibition — an annual event that is closing in on its silver anniversary.

One of the show’s main attractions is a sales exhibit area featuring a large number of vendors with live reptiles, amphibians and arachnids as well as food items, supplies, books, cages, and related accessories.

The roster of very diverse vendors includes AZO Reptiles, Rose’s Reptiles, Dale’s Bearded Dragons, Blake’s Exotic Reptiles, DHA Pythons, Gecko Haven, Skins and Scales, The Snake Pit, Delaware Turtle, RKZ Rodents. Monstar Reptiles, Serpents Plus, Heath’s Frog Farm, Newville Dragons, PM Herps and Dragon Fortress.

One of the more popular annual events in Lancaster County takes place at the end of July each year when the Landis Valley Museum (2451 Kissel Hill Road, Lancaster, 717-569-0401,www.landisvalleymuseum.org) presents “A Civil War Weekend at Landis Valley.”

The fun and educational event, which will be held on July 26 and 27, takes visitors back into an era when America’s northern states waged war with states from the south. The museum’s grounds in Lancaster will be the site of a Civil War era village.

Additionally, the site will host a large number of authentically dressed military and civilian re-enactors in a variety of roles such as merchants, members of aid societies, craftsmen and townsfolk. Some of the featured activities are company drills, weapon firing demonstrations, musket drills and a cavalry demonstration.

Landis Valley Museum is a living history village dedicated to collecting, preserving and interpreting the history and culture of the Pennsylvania German community from 1740-1940. Admission tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for youth (ages 3-11).

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Tags: Annie, Bob Marley, Fort Mifflin, Goshen Country Fair, longwood gardens, Marvel Comics, National Ice Cream Month, Spington Manor

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