What To Do: Fountains, Fireworks and…ABBA at Longwood

Also: Blues at The Brandywine River Museum and Lanchester Fiddlers Picnic

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times


Some of the final Fountains and Fireworks shows before the historic Longwood Gardens fountains begin a two-year renovation project will happen late this summer. This week, the music of ABBA is featured.

One of the top summertime attractions in the Brandywine Valley is the annual Festival of Fountains at Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) — especially on the select nights when Longwood presents “Fireworks and Fountains.”

From May 24 through September 1, the festival features illuminated musical fountain displays and live entertainment performances. At the Open Air Theatre, there is a six-foot curtain of water that rises after the shows, along with daytime fountain displays and the Main Fountain Garden features hundreds of fountains propelling water 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. Other fountains around the site include Sylvan Fountain in Peirce’s Park, Flower Garden Fountains and Eye of Water, Waterfall, and Hillside Garden Flume.

Experiencing the sites fountains is fun. Attending the Festival of Fountains on a “Fireworks and Fountains” evening is a lot of fun. The event features special pyrotechnic displays set to music with different themed shows that are designed by Arthur Rozzi Pyrotechnics of Ohio.

On August 16, the special show will be “Abbacadabra: The Magic of ABBA.”  ABBA is a four-piece pop group that was formed in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972. The group hit full stride in the 970s with hits such as “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and, of course, “Waterloo.”

Longwood Gardens will offer two more “Fireworks and Fountains” events this season.  “Rachmaninoff: Power & Passion” will be presented on August 30 and then the final show will be “Ladies & Gentlemen . . . The Beatles” on 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.

A short ride down Route 1, the Brandywine River Museum (Route 1, Chadds Ford, 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org) will present “Brandywine Brings the Blues — The Steve Cal’ Band concert” on August 15 from 6-9 p.m.

The concert, which will be held in the Courtyard, will feature Cal’, a blues/rock guitarist, singer and songwriter from Philadelphia who released his debut album in 2013. His band includes Sandy Eldred on bass guitar and Melinda Gervasio on drums.

Last year, the Steve Cal’ Band was the winner of the Beta Hi-Fi Emerging Music Festival at World Cafe Live — an event that highlights the finest emerging songwriters in the region.

The show at the Brandywine River Museum is being presented in conjunction with the World Cafe Live at the Queen. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for Museum members and $10 for students. There will food available for purchase as well as a cash bar.


Musicians are invited to bring their instruments and voices to the Third Annual Lanchester Fiddlers Picnic in Atglen from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Saturday.

The Chester County Old Fiddlers Picnic, which was held recently at Hibernia Park, has been a major success for years. Now, there is an event that would like to fill the role of its little brother — the Lanchester Fiddlers Picnic (Landis Woodland Preserve at 610 Zion Hill Road, West Sadsbury Township, 610-857-5969, www.westsadsburytwp.org).

Musicians are invited to bring their instruments and voices to the Third Annual Lanchester Fiddlers Picnic, which will be held at the nature site near Atglen from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on August 16.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature stage performances, informal jam sessions and hayrides — and an opportunity to see the preserve. The Landis Woodland Preserve is only open for special events such as Civil War reenactments and the annual Lanchester Community Days in September.

This Saturday, people are invited to bring lawn chairs, blankets or picnics. Food vendors will be on hand with a variety of picnic offerings. There is no admission fee but there will be a parking fee of $5.

If you’re really in the mood for music this weekend, then you should head up to Old Pool Farm in Schwenksville to check out the 2014 Philadelphia Folk Festival (Old Pool Farm, Schwenksville, 800-556-FOLK, www.pfs.org)

This is a music festival that is on a plateau all its own. Now in its 53rd year, the festival continues to evolve with the times and, at the same time, maintain its traditional vibe. There is no other festival in the country quite like the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

The list of highly-acclaimed performers schedule to play this year includes Meghan Cary, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jason Isbell, Sarah Jarosz, Steep Canyon Rangers, Janis Ian, Tempest, Tommy Emmanuel, Loudon Wainwright III, Natalie MacMaster, The Hot Club of Philadelphia and Groovemama.

The roster also features John Flynn, Katie Frank and The Pheromones, Rebirth Brass Band, SONiA, April Mae & the June Bugs, Cabin Dogs, Dennis Hangey, Caroline Rose, Shemekia Copeland, El Caribefunk, Garnet Rogers, Helen Leicht, Hot Club of Cowtown, John Byrne, Spuyten Duyvil, Matt Duke, Vance Gilbert and Mutlu.

As always, the festival will offer a wide variety of workshops each day. The crafts show is another popular annual tradition at the Philly Folk Festival. The roster of featured crafts includes glass, jewelry, ceramics, fiber, leather, candles, fabric, brooms, wood, pottery, bamboo and musical instruments.

Ticket prices range from prices from $52.50 for a single daytime ticket to $185.40 for an All-Festival with camping ticket.

star fest 3

For those want to look to the stars this weekend, Chesmont Astronomical Society is holding StarFest 2014 in Elverson, Saturday.

If you want a guaranteed way to see stars, you can take a walk along Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. If you want a more personal way to see stars, you can go to Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site on August 16 and turn your gaze skyward.

On Saturday from 5:30-11:55 p.m., the Chesmont Astronomical Society (http://www.chesmontastro.org) is hosting its “Starfest 2014” at the Hopewell Furnace site, which is located off Route 345 on Hopewell Road in Elverson.

Those attending will be able to view the nighttime sky using society members’ telescopes and live view star cameras. Public viewing of the sights found in the Milky Way will be available through more than 20 amateur and high-end telescopes.

The program will feature speakers, astronomy presentations, and activities for kids. One of the event’s highlights will be a presentation by keynote speaker Dr. Eric Jensen.

The gates will open at 6 p.m. for solar observation and telescope setup with the Kids Corner educational activities slated to run from 7-7:30 p.m.  “Hopewell Big Woods Dark Sky Reserve”, a talk by Stan Stubbe, is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. followed by a presentation by the Society’s founder Karl Krasley.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a blanket, a lawn chair or even a picnic dinner. There will be door prizes (telescopes, binoculars and other related items) given away throughout the course of the evening. The rain date is August 17. Admission and parking are free but donations are encouraged.


Penns Landing in Philadelphia is hosting the Festival of India this weekend.

There will be two very different but equally attractive ethnic festivals this weekend at Penn’s Landing (Delaware Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-922-2FUN, www.delawareriverevents.com). Both of the free festivals deal with Indians — but not the Native American kind.

West Indian or East Indian – both will be featured this weekend. Penn’s Landing will host the Festival of India on August 16 and the 28th Annual Caribbean Festival on August 17. Both festivals are free.

The Festival of India, which is sponsored by the Council of Indian Organizations of Greater Philadelphia, is a festive event that features a day full of food, music, dancing and crafts.

The festival, which runs from 1-6 p.m., will host a variety of vendors who will be selling a wide array of traditional Indian arts and crafts including clothes, jewelry, music, and other cultural items.  Traditional Mahandi work (artistic design) will be available to be done on both hands and feet. Mahandi or hands painting is an old Indian custom still have been practiced by most of the Indian women.

A wide selection of food items from both North and South India will be available for purchase, including such taste treats as tandoori chicken, tikka masala, kolkata rasgulla, gujarati dohkla, chennai idli, korma and an array of Indian breads including chapatti, poori and nan. The festival will run from 1-6 p.m.

Sunday’s festival is a celebration of the culture of 15 Caribbean Islands with the focus on two nations in particular. The event, which runs from noon-8 p.m., features live island entertainment including drumming, dancing and music.

As always, the festival will have cultural booths where people can get information about the islands of the Caribbean. There will also be a marketplace with vendors selling Caribbean arts and crafts, fashion items and souvenirs.

Island cuisine will be well represented with a number of vendors offering Caribbean delicacies such as Jamaican jerk-chicken and hard-dough bread, escovitched fish and festival cakes, codfish fritters, Jamaican Patties, curried goat and rice & peas.    What: Festival of India.

If you’re wondering where the festival for the American Indian is, the answer is Allentown. On August 16 and 17, the Museum of Indian Culture

2825 Fish Hatchery Road, Allentown, 610-797-2121, http://museumofindianculture.org) is hosting the 2014 Roasting Ears of Corn Festival.

The event, which is Eastern Pennsylvania’s oldest American Indian festival, is a showcase for American Indian drumming, singing, dancing and food. Tickets for the festival are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors (age 62 and older) and youth (age 8-17) and free for children (age seven and under).

Visitors can watch demonstrations of Native American cooking, flintknapping and arrow making, experience throwing a tomahawk or see what it’s like using an atlatl (spear thrower). There will be a special crafts area for kids where they can make sand art pictures and weave dreamcatchers.

The festival features a wide array of Native American entertainment. This year’s featured performer is Arvel Bird, an award-winning violinist and Native American flutist. Arvel is known as “Lord of the Strings.”

Those attending the event will also be able to shop at the Marketplace for Native American jewelry, fine arts, and clothing. There will also be food vendors with Indian burgers, frybread, buffalo stew, Indian tacos and fire-roasted corn.

The Rough and Tumble Engineers Historical Association’s annual Thresherman’s Reunion, which is billed as “The Most Complete Steam & Gas Show in the East!,” has become a cherished tradition in Pennsylvania Dutch country. It is a “complete” show and an “old” show — one of the oldest continually running events in the state.

This year’s Thresherman’s Reunion, which is running from August 13-16 at the Rough and Tumble site (4977 Lincoln Highway East, Kinzers, 717-442-4249,

www.roughandtumble.org), is the 66th annual staging of the event. The main focus this year is on the National Rumely Show and Pennsylvania Gas Engines.

The daily schedule starts with breakfast at 7 a.m. at the R&T Multi-Purpose Building and Reunion Opening Ceremonies at 10 a.m. The day’s activities include a saw mill in operation, a “Pageant of Threshing”, a shingle mill in operation, a “Parade of Power” and threshing machine demonstrations.

There will also be displays featuring steam traction engines, antique tractors, threshing machines, Hit & Miss Gas engines, two steam railroads, shingle mill, large gas engines, model engines, saw mill, barker fan, stone crusher, antique cars, stationary bailers, antique wagons and the “Stationary Steam Engine Museum”.

Live entertainment will be provided on August 15 from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and August 16 from 9:45 a.m.-3 p.m. by Ron McVey and The Summit Hill Band. Daily tickets for the Reunion are $10 for adults and $5 for children (ages 6-12).

Philadelphia has a lot to see in the summertime. A great way to see the city from a different angle is to go on one of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s special “Mural Tours.”

If you drive around Philadelphia’s variety of neighborhoods, you’ll find that they all have buildings that are decorated with murals — some very artistic and elaborate and others more basic yet still very creative.

Fortunately, the city has a program that celebrates these artistic endeavors — The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s special “Mural Tours” (901 Market Street, Philadelphia, 215-925-3633,www.muralarts.org). The wide variety of mural tours provides guests with the opportunity to experience public art and to explore Philadelphia’s neighborhoods that are off the beaten track.

The “Mural Arts Trolley Tour” visits a different Philadelphia neighborhood in the city each week via trolley. The “Mural Mile Walking Tour” features guided walks around Center City’s acclaimed Mural Mile. The “Love Letter Train Tour” takes place aboard SEPTA trains with a guide who shows and explains the 50 murals that make up the Love Letter project.

Other tours offered this year are the “Rise and Shine Mural Tour,” “Paint the Town: Experiential Paint Tour,” “Step On Guide Tour,” “Broad Street Mural Trolley Tour,” “Philadelphia’s Reimagined Landscape Mural Trolley Tour” and “America’s First Highway Mural Trolley Tour.” Check-in takes place 15 minutes before departure.

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