What To Do: Embrace winter’s joys with a multitude of fests

Winterfests abound, fun in Chadds Ford, honoring MLK and more!

By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times

zoom_photo251541_2660719There are a lot of things about winter in this area to dislike — cold weather that chills you to the bone, sunlight deprivation and nasty snowstorms that cause hazardous roads conditions. But, there are also many things to like — ice skating on frozen ponds, skiing and snowboarding and winter festivals.

Not surprisingly, many of winter’s festivals share the same name — Winterfest. This weekend, there are three different Winterfests in the Delaware Valley.

Locally, there is WinterFest at Upland Country Day School (420 West Street Road, Kennett Square, 610-444-3035, http://www.uplandcds.org) which is scheduled for January 17 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Upland is hosting WinterFest 2015, an afternoon of winter-themed fun and activities for families in the community. It follows the school’s Admissions Open House from 9 – 11 a.m. so it’s a perfect opportunity to introduce families to Upland.

The event will feature an afternoon of winter-themed fun with action games, crafts, a bake sale, face painting, balloon animals, a giant inflatable obstacle course, a slap shot hockey challenge, a cake walk and snow-themed games.

Also on January 17, “Winterfest Live!” will be held from 3-7 p.m. at Xfinity Live! Philadelphia (1100 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, www.xfinitylive.com).

The event, which is also billed as “The Great Philadelphia Winter Craft Beer Festival,” will feature a number of beer gardens — six spectacular areas with more than 150 craft beers from 75 breweries available for unlimited sampling.

The beer selection will range from winter warm-up lagers to porters and stouts. Tickets will also include access to The Bourbon Barn and The Whiskey & Cider Lounge with whiskey samples, bourbon beers & hard ciders.

Other attractions include live DJs, a variety of local bands onstage, fun-filled contests in Victory Beer Hall, outdoor fire pits, games, activities, prizes and giveaways. Tickets, which are $40 ($20 for designated drivers), include a souvenir beer stein, access to the official after party and free parking.

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest runs now through March 1 at RiverRink in Philadelphia.

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest runs now through March 1 at RiverRink in Philadelphia.

There will be another Winterfest this weekend in Philadelphia — the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest which is running now through March 1 at RiverRink (Delaware Avenue at Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-925-RINK, www.riverrink.com).

Unlike most of the suburban ice rinks, RiverRink features public skating .Ice skating is the featured attraction — and the only use of the ice.This winter, RiverRink amps up the ice skating experience on the Delaware River waterfront by once again transforming the annual rink into a bona fide winter wonderland.

Open seven days a week, the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest is an immersive winter-themed experience with a popular bar and restaurant called The Lodge, winter beer garden-style landscaping, a brand-new light show, and a retail shopping experience from Art Star Gallery & Boutique.

The outdoor rink’s hours are 1-10:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 1 p.m.-12:30 a.m. on Fridays, 11 a.m.-12:30 a.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. on Sundays. Skating admission prices are $13 and include skate rental.


The ice chips will be flying at “Winter WINEderland at Chaddsford Winery” this weekend.

In keeping with the winter festival theme, another event to merit your attention this weekend is the “Winter WINEderland at Chaddsford Winery” which is scheduled for January 17 and 18 from 2-5 p.m. each day at the Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike Chadds Ford, 610-388-6221, http://www.chaddsford.com).

There will be live ice carving both days. Visitors will be able to enjoy hot mulled wine by the winery’s fire pits, buy tasty items from a variety of food trucks and purchase specialty items from an interesting array of vendors. Tastings are $10 for this event.

The participating food trucks will be The Flying Deutschman (German cuisine), Pretzelria (Stuffed pretzels and original soft pretzels), P’Bon’s Fresh Phood of Philly (sandwiches and comfort food), The Cow & the Curd (battered fried cheese curds), The Whirly Pig (gourmet pork dishes), Oink & Moo BBQ, Foolish Waffles (savory and sweet waffles) and Wonderland Cakes (artisan cupcakes & desserts).

The roster of vendors includes Exquisite Designs, Chloe & Isabel, Mojo Pop, Saw Creek Soap, Taste Artisanal Market, Lavinia’s Cookies, Sweet Salvation Truffles and John Hay Cigars. Live music will be performed on January 17 by Alex & Shiloh Trio. On Sunday, the featured musical act will be the Grace Anne Field Trio.

Food and music — and some wine — will also be featured at a special family event on January 18 at the Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com).

January 18 marks the first installment of “Funky Brunch & Market,” a new flea market and craft fair series at the Ardmore Music Hall. In addition to arts-and-crafts vendors, the event will feature a brunch menu, drink specials, kids’ activities and live music featuring Butchy Sochorow (vocalist and lead guitarist for Splintered Sunlight) and Aaron Deming.

Funky Brunch & Market is open to all ages with parent or guardian. Admission is free. Doors open at 11 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. The event is being sponsored by Sweet Tree Artisan Roasters, Studio 1200 and The Mud Room.

Another event with an emphasis on food and drink is the Ambler Restaurant Week, which is running now running through January 19. Ambler area restaurants will be offering enticing specials and prix-fix menus. At 15 popular participating restaurants throughout the town, diners can enjoy serious discounts on lunch and/or dinner.

The list of restaurants participating in Ambler Restaurant Week (www.amblermainstreet.org) include Cantina Feliz, Hungry Bear Cafe), Dettera Restaurant and Wine Bar, Massa, Trax Restaurant and Café, Hungry Bear Café, Bridget’s Steakhouse, Zakes Café, From The Boot, 34 East Tavern, The Lucky Well, Saffron, KC’s Alley, Forest & Main Brewing Company, Sweet Briar Café and Costa Deli.

Food and drink will also be the main attractions now through January 18 at Peddler’s Village when the Cock ’n’ Bull Restaurant (Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska. www.peddlersvillage.com) presents “Bavaria in Bucks,” a four-day event that will feature the cuisine and beverages of southern Germany.

Special guest chef Wolfgang Vomend of The Bavarian Inn will prepare a variety of authentic German cuisine including schnitzel and strudel. As an added attraction, a number of businesses in the shopping-dining-lodging complex will participate with special menus and offers.

For some people, an ideal wintertime activity is sitting at home enjoying collectibles — reading comic books, sorting trading cards or playing with action figures. But, these people might want to get out of the house this Sunday for an event that’s right down their alley.

The Philadelphia Comic-Con, which is scheduled to run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Janaury 18 at the Clarion Hotel Conference Center (76 Industrial Highway, Essington, 856-217-5737, www.philadelphiacomic-con.com), features comic books, trading cards and other collectibles — both vintage and current.

The event, which has an admission fee of $3, also features a number of special autograph guests. This Sunday, the guest artists are Paris Cullins, Bob Gerkin and Darren Auck.

Cullins is an artist who has worked on “Blue Beetle,” “New Gods” and “Blue Devil.” Gerkin is a web comic artist most known for his work on “Doctor warped” while Auck has built his reputation as an artist for Marvel Comics and DC Comics.

The popular collectibles event, which is the area’s longest running comic convention, will host dealers from all over the Northeast with sales booths featuring Gold & Silver Age comics, action figures, non-sport cards, Japanese Manga, gaming cards such as Pokemon and Magic the Gathering, 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.


Hagley Museum’s annual Invention Convention takes place this weekend.

There is a great event this weekend that is designed to fuel kids’ creativity — Hagley Museum’s annual Invention Convention. This year, the popular family event begins on January 17 and runs through January 19 at Hagley Museum (Route 141, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-658-2400, www.hagley.lib.de.us).

Visitors to the Hagley Museum, a 230-acre historical village on the site of the original du Pont Company gunpowder mills in northern Delaware, will be able to learn the secrets and solutions of inventions through a wide array of hands-on science activities. The focus at this weekend’s event will be on lasers.

Lasers are controlled light waves created by humans. They create the colors that we see and illuminate rooms with a flip of a switch. Hagley’s Invention Convention 2015 will explore the fascinating science behind lights and lasers. Through engaging, hands-on activities, families will discover the many practical uses of lasers.

Invention Convention will be held during the three-day Martin Luther King, Jr., weekend. Tinkering Tables will allow visitors to explore the inner workings of electronic gadgets, and the Create-an-Invention area will allow them to make their own invention.

Each day will feature a different science show with demonstrations of chemistry, physics, and the wonders of lights and lasers. The hands-on Science Fair will give everyone opportunities to conduct experiments led by Hagley staff and community partners.

The “Science Shows will be presented at 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. each day. The topics will be “Light Fantastic” (presented by the Carnegie Science Center) on January 17, “Eye to the Sky” (presented by the Franklin Institute) on January 18 and “Cool Chemistry” (presented by Dr. Mike Stemniski) on January 19.

Hours are from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children (ages 4-14).


Benjamin Franklin

There will be birthday celebrations this weekend in Philadelphia for a pair of the city’s most famous historical figures — Benjamin Franklin and Edgar Allen Poe.

A number of events celebrating Franklin’s 309th birthday will be staged around Philadelphia’s historic district from January 17-19.

The Benjamin Franklin Museum (Franklin Court, Third and Market streets, Philadelphia, 215-965-2305, http://www.nps.gov/benjaminfranklinmuseum.htm) will offer free admission from January 17-19. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

“Benjamin Franklin Tippler’s Tour” (Historic Philadelphia Center, 6th and Chestnut streets, Philadelphia, 215-629-5801, http://historicphiladelphia.org/tipplers-tour) will be held on January 16, 23 and 24 starting at 5:30 p.m. each night.

The over-21 set joins a Colonial guide for the Tippler’s Tour with Ben Franklin — a rollicking pub crawl with stops for drinks and snacks at four Old City establishments. Franklin “himself” joins the tour along the way and stays for a chat at City Tavern, the final stop, to enjoy a Yards Brewing Company Franklin Spruce Ale.

On January 16 from 11-11:30 a.m., the American Philosophical Society (105 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, http://www.ushistory.org/celebration) , which is one of the many organizations created by Franklin, honors him with a procession and wreath-laying along with a number of other activities.

Prior to the wreath-laying, visitors can attend a free morning seminar on the topic of “Building the City” from 9-10:30 a.m. at Benjamin Franklin Hall (427 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia). At 11 a.m., a procession will move up Fifth Street from the American Philosophical Society Library to Dr. Franklin’s grave at Christ Church Burial Ground (500 Arch Street, Philadelphia).

Edgar Allan Poe’s Birthday Celebration will take place on January 17 and 18 at the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site (532 North Seventh Street, Philadelphia, 215-597-8780, http://www.nps.gov/edal/planyourvisit/parkevents.htm).

Visitors can sing “Happy Birthday” and join the park rangers at the Edgar Allan Poe National Historical Site as they celebrate Poe’s 206th birthday. There will be special tours of the Poe House, readings from some of Poe’s stories and poems,fun activities for the kids — and birthday cake.

Another historical figure will be honored this weekend with Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations at the Chadds Ford Historical Society (1736 North Creek Road, Chadds Ford, 610-388-7376, http://www.chaddsfordhistory.org) and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, 215-763-8100, http://www.philamuseum.org).

On January 19, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration at the John Chad’s House will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. There will be refreshments, a video showing some of Dr. King’s speeches, a coloring area for youngsters, exhibits, games, and special activities at the Visitors Center — all free of charge.

The last family to live in the c. 1725 house was the African-American family of Maryann Strand. Weather permitting, guides will lead tours of the small stone mansion that survived almost 300 years and tell about its fascinating history. There will also be bread baking in the beehive oven in the cellar kitchen.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is honoring Martin Luther King Day with a variety of special activities from January 16-19.

The weekend’s festivities will begin on January 16 with “Art After 5” — a party inspired by the museum’s current exhibition “Represent: 200 Years of African American Art.” The exhibition features the work of 50 African American artists from pre-Civil War time to modern day.

The “Art After 5” programming, which usually concludes at 8:45 p.m., will be extended until midnight for this special celebration featuring an evening of music and dance party.

On January 18, there will be family-friendly tours of the exhibits, arts and crafts vendors and live music by St. Thomas Gospel Choir. On January 19, there will be crafts exhibits, dance performances, tours and other special activities.

If you’re planning an a major renovation to your home — or even if you’re just considering working on small projects around the house — you should consider a visit to this weekend’s 34th Annual Philadelphia Home Show. The show is running from January 17-19 and 23-25 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (12th and Arch streets, Philadelphia, 215- 418-2003, www.phillyhomeshow.com).

The popular annual show features a large number of exhibits representing the home renovation and decorating industry. Showcased products and services include roofing, windows, flooring, decking, landscaping, spas, contractors, designers, water, swimming pools, doors, gutters security systems, cabinetry, entertainment systems, appliances, furniture, vacuums and more.

This year’s event will feature celebrity appearances by James Young of DIY’S “I Hate My Kitchen,” The Fabulous Beekman Boys and Jeff Devlin of  DIY’S “I Hate My Bath” and HGTV’S “Spice Up My Kitchen.”

The show’s hours are 10 a.m.-9 p.m. on January 17, 23 and 24, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on January 18 and 25 and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on January 19. Tickets are $13 for adults and $3 for children (ages 6-12).

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