What To Do: Kick off Autumn at Fall Fest in Downingtown

First weekend of Fall overs a myriad of events

By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times

down-fall-festThings will be lively in Downingtown on September 27 when the Victory Brewing Company, the Downingtown-Thorndale Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Borough of Downingtown team up to present the Ninth Annual Downingtown Fall Fest (East Lancaster Avenue between Wallace Avenue and Green Street, Downingtown, 610-514-7000, http://downingtownfallfest.com). The all-ages event that is free and open to the public.

The popular street festival, which runs from noon-4 p.m. and will be held rain or shine, will feature live music, a wide assortment of vendors, a BMX aerial show and the Victory Beer Garden.

The Victory Beer Garden featuring the Brewpub on Wheels will be located in the parking lot next to Minquas Fire Department. There is no cost to enter the beer garden. Food and beer will be available for purchase the beer garden. Children are permitted inside the fenced area but must be supervised by an adult at all times.

Live entertainment will be provided by the Downingtown School of Rock House Band and the Punk Junkies. Additionally, there will be BMX Bike shows 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.

The roster of food and beverage providers includes Amani’s, PJ Whelihan’s Pub, Lione’s Pizza, All About Jerky, Victory Brewing Company, Bakers of Buffington, Stella Jeanne’s Festival Foods, LJs Burger Shack, Mid-Atlantic Food Service, Crossan Concessions, Dia Doce, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, St. Anthony’s Italian Restaurant, Kimberton Whole Foods,  Downingtown Country Club and J-Dogs Catering.

The list also includes Thai Master Grill, Shrimpman, Nooner’s Wood Fired Pizza, The Whirly Pig, Gigi’s Caribbean American Soul Food, GP Concessions, Heart Food Truck, Margo’s Ice Cream, Swiss Farms, Righteous Felon Jerky Cartel, Dos Hermanos Tacos, Big Poppy Kettle Corn, Mompops and Southbound BBQ Company.

Additionally, more than 120 vendor and display booths will be set up at the festival covering a wide range of interests.

brandywine river harvest-market

If it’s fall, it must be time for the annual Fall Harvest Market at Brandywine River Museum, which runs through Nov. 8.

Autumn has arrived and that means it’s time once again for a special fall event at the Brandywine River Museum (Route 1, Chadds Ford, 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org).

The museum’s Fall Harvest Market, which is running now through November 8 on most weekends, features regional artisans who will be showcasing their crafts in the museum courtyard. Items featured on a rotating basis will include hand-woven rugs, dried flowers and wreaths, pottery, quilted fabric items, and handcrafted dolls.

Featured attractions on the weekend of September 26 and 27 will be quilted items by members of the Brandywine Quilters, jewelry by Shirley St. Jean-Davis, a booth featuring Chester County Guild of Craftsman, woolen items by Pam Horstmann and handmade soap by Jean Innocenti.

Entrance to the Fall Harvest Market is included with museum admission.

September 26 will also be “Museum Day Live!” at the Brandywine River Museum. Visitors can enjoy free admission for two to the Museum with a printed “Museum Day Live!” ticket. To obtain a ticket, visit Museum Day Live!

dressageThe annual Dressage at Devon (Devon Horse Show grounds, Lancaster Avenue, Devon, 484-358-5510, http://dressageatdevon.org), which is recognized as one of America’s premier equestrian events, began in the early 1970s as a small dressage event at a farm in Glen Mills.

In 1975, it moved to its current home at the Devon Horse Show grounds and officially became known as Dressage at Devon. It combines world class dressage competition and the world’s largest open breed show. The six-day event attracts hundreds of horses from around the world and thousands of spectators.

This year, the event, which also includes the Fall Festival at Dressage at Devon, will open on September 29 at the facility on Lancaster Avenue in Devon and continue through October 4. The competition featuring world-class horses will take place in a variety of divisions and classes, including a full range of Individual Breed classes.

As a special attraction this year, Dressage at Devon is presenting performances by the extraordinary Tempel Lipizzan stallions in celebration of the event’s 40th anniversary.

Developed during the late Renaissance, these horses represent more than 400 years of select breeding, culminating in beauty and intelligence. These magnificent horses execute gravity-defying movements with precision and strength. The Lipizzans will perform October 2-4 during show breaks.

The annual event is a family-friendly festival that offers much more than just equestrian competitions. The Fall Festival features a large selection of vendors and an equally large number of specialty boutiques where visitors can shop for arts and crafts, clothing, horse-related items and gourmet food. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children (ages 3-12).


The annual ¡Vive tu vida! Get Up! Get Moving! is in Kennett Square, Saturday.

On September 26, the fifth annual ¡Vive tu vida! Get Up! Get Moving! Community celebration will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Anson B. Nixon Park (North Walnut Road, Kennett Square, www.lacomunidadhispana.org.)

This special day celebrates wellness in the community with sports clinics, healthy snacks, live music, fitness activities, health screenings, free flu shots and raffles. The event, which is expected to draw 2,000 people to the park, is free and open to the public. It will be held rain or shine.

Demonstrations and attractions will include Zumba, salsa dance lessons, tennis, volleyball, soccer, and a health walk challenge sponsored by Christiana Care Health System. Children’s activities include YMCA inflatables, pony rides, crafts, and face painting. Live entertainment will be provided by Ballet Folklorico Yaretzi and local band Still Life.

This weekend, there will be special events at three Montgomery County historical sites — Pennypacker Mills (5 Haldeman Road, Schwenksville, 610-489-9732, www.friendsppm.org), Green Lane Park (2144 Snyder Road, Green Lane, 215-234-4528) and Norristown Farm Park (West Germantown Pike and Barley Sheaf Drive, 2500 Upper Farm Road, Norristown, 610-270-0215).

On September 26 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Green Lane Park will host the Fifth Annual Upper Perkiomen Bird & Wildlife Festival. The event focuses on nature education, live entertainment and a variety of family fun.

There will be a feature presentation by the Lehigh Valley Zoo, which will be bringing an array of live animals. There will also be food and craft vendors will be on hand and plenty of activities for the kids.

The festival, which will be held in and around the Amphitheater, is free.

On September 27 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Norristown Farm Park will present Native American Day.

Lee Hallman, president of the Indian Artifact Collectors Association of the

Northeast, will display many artifacts. Visitors are invited to bring their own artifacts for free appraisals.

Other presenters will be featuring demonstrations and displays of Lenape culture — including flint knapping, jewelry, clothing, tools, and foods. Come and talk to these knowledgeable people.

The free event will also feature children’s games and crafts. The activities will take place at the picnic pavilions near Parking Lot 3.

Also on September 27, Pennypacker Mills will host a “Victorian Tea” from 2-5 p.m. The theme of the tea will be “P.T. Barnum: The Master Showman.”

Barnum, a brilliant and shameless promoter, gave the public of the 19th century shameless hucksterism and everything in between — including “The Greatest Show on Earth!”

Tea, sandwiches and desserts will be served by living historians at tables on the site’s wrap-round porch. Admission to the all-ages event is $40.

walker stalker

No, it’s not the Pennsylvania state legislature out for a stroll (although it is understandable confusion), it’s Walker Stalker Con, coming to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center this weekend.

While Roman Catholics and fans of Pope Francis will be making a pilgrimage to Philadelphia this weekend, zombies and fans of the Walker Stalkers Podcast and the TV show “Walking Dead” will be making a pilgrimage of their own to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Avenue, Oaks, 484-754-EXPO, http://www.phillyexpocenter.com.)

On September 26 and 27, the Expo Center is hosting Walker Stalker Con.

Walker Stalker Con is a byproduct of “The Walker Stalkers Podcast with James & Eric.” The podcast began with a trip to Senoia, Georgia where James and Eric were able to view the set of “The Walking Dead” and meet the incredible actors from the show.

As a result of this experience, a podcast began and then the idea of a convention focused around recreating that same experience with the cast and crew of the show, along with talented actors and artists from other zombie shows, movies and art.

Walker Stalker Con is not just a convention. It is a fan meet-up and an opportunity for each guest to come away feeling like they’ve had an amazing experience and became part of a greater community of zombie lovers.

Some of the special guests will be Tyler James Williams (Noah, “The Walking Dead”), Giancarlo Esposito (Gus, “Breaking Bad”), Emily Kinney (Beth, “The Walking Dead”), Saxon Sharbino (Kendra, “Poltergeist”), Ming Chen (AMC’s Comic Book Men) and Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha, “The Walking Dead”).

Special attractions include the Apocalypse Zombie Experience, Emily Kinney in Concert (September 26, 7:30 p.m.) and Sanctuary Short Film Festival (September 27).

Video link for Apocalypse Zombie Experience — https://youtu.be/1WHUi_8UcW8.

Admission is $55 on September 26, $45 on September 27 and $100 for a two-day pass.

The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center is hosting two other special events this weekend — the Americana Indian Art & Jewelry Show from September 25-27 and the East Coast Reptile Super Expo on September 26.

American Indian art has become a popular motif for home decorating — especially artwork produced in the American Southwest. This weekend, you can find a lot of examples of this art style at the show in Oaks.

This show provides visitors with an excellent opportunity to get a look at artifacts and other items related to the history of Native Americans. The show is presented by  Americana Indian and Western Shows and admission is free.

The Americana Indian and Western Gallery had its beginning in 1947 when its founder Lee Anderson attended school on a Navajo reservation and worked after school for his uncle in the trading post. The family collected American Indian art such as Navajo rugs, pottery, baskets, and other Indian and western items.

Anderson’s sells Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, and Santo Domingo jewelry, as well as Navajo rugs, Hopi and Zuni kachinas, baskets, pottery, art and collectibles. One of the most respected Native American art dealers in the United States, Americana Indian Shows brings thousands of items direct from the Southwest to the show attendees.

Show hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sunday and admission is free.

The other show this weekend at the center in Oaks is definitely a not for anyone suffering from herpetophobia (“the fear of reptiles”) or ophidiophobia (“the fear of snakes”).

The East Coast Reptile Super Expo, which is always a well-attended event, will run from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. this Saturday. Tickets are $8 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 the show on Saturday. A wide array of reptiles will be on display as part of the popular exhibition.

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 DHA Pythons, Gecko Haven, Skins and Scales, Hunger Reptiles, Jungle Emporium, RKZ Rodents, Monstar Reptiles, Turtle to Turtle, Delaware Valley Herpetarium,  Blake’s Exotic Reptiles, Dower Reptiles & Rodents, Reptile Kingdom, Serpents Plus, Heath’s Frog Farm, Corralus Creations, Rogue Reptiles LLC, Garden State Tortoise LLC, Reptile Addicts, Bob’s Critters, Franken Chams, MCO Reptiles and Fins, Feathers, Paws & Claws.

Other featured vendors will be Delaware Turtle, Harris in Wonderland, Just Lizards, AZO Reptiles, Rose’s Reptiles, Livecargo Pets & Supplies, Dale’s Bearded Dragons, Jason R Bartolett Captive Bred Reptiles, Fowler Reptiles, Dragon Fortress, Turtle Towns, Newville Dragons, PM Herps, Jay Jacoby Serpent Propagation, Black Jungle Terrarium Supply, VSCV Ventures LLC, Outback Reptiles, Dachiu Dragons, Tom Rogan Reptiles, Native Exotics, Jon & Wess Reptiles.

The Phillies are coming to the end of their dismal season and the Eagles are off to a dismal start of their season.

It’s a perfect time for collectors of sports memorabilia, trading cards, comic books and action figures to take a break from watching games and head out to a collectors’ event. One of the top annual events — the Philadelphia Baseball Card and Sports Memorabilia Show at the Valley Forge Casino Resort (First Avenue, King of Prussia, 610-524-0822, www.phillyshow.com) — is running now through September 27.

Dealers from around the country recognize this show as an event where they can find a market for their highly specialized goods. Similarly, collectors know that if what they’re looking for is out there, it will be there at the Philadelphia show. Collectors also know they will find excellent selections and competitive prices.

This weekend’s event, which runs from 3-8 p.m. today, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, also features former professional sports stars as autograph guests.

Admission to the show is $8 per day or $21 for a three-day pass.

Some of this weekend’s special guests will be former Philadelphia Phillies players Dick Allen, Mitch Williams and Matt Stairs and former manager Charlie Manuel, along with NFL outcast and former Philadelphia Eagle Terrell Owens.

The show will feature more than 250 vendor booths with a huge array of sports memorabilia — ranging from highly collectible items from a century ago to the latest sports card issues featuring today’s stars.

Here’s something good to do on September 25 — have a brew or two and help the zoo. From 5:30-9 p.m., the Brandywine Zoo (1001 North Park Drive, Brandywine Park, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-571-7747, www.brandywinezoo.org) is hosting its annual “Brew at the Zoo.”

Visitors to the zoo, which is located in Brandywine Park along the banks of the Brandywine Creek in downtown Wilmington, will be able to enjoy ice cold craft beer and ale from local distributors and chow down on delicious food from local restaurants such as Chelsea Tavern, the Bangkok House and Two Stones Pub. Tickets are $50 at the door with “Designated Driver” tickets priced at $30.

If you like polka music, Polish beer and Eastern European cuisine that features fresh and smoked kielbasa, one of your destinations this weekend should be the St. Hedwig’s Polish Festival (Frawley Stadium parking lot, Wilmington Riverfront, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-594-1400 or www.polishfestival.net) which is running now through September 26.

The 59th annual staging of the festival offers a variety of Polish treats including placki (potato pancakes), pierogis (dough filled with cheese and/or potato, holubki (stuffed cabbage), kielbasa (sausage) and chruschicki (bow cookies).

The free festival will feature a full slate of live entertainment featuring Crab Town Sounds on September 25 and the Golden Tones on September 26.

Dinner will be served Friday from 5-10 p.m. and Saturday from 3-10 p.m. Additionally, lunch will be served on September 25 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The Midway, which is a large midway with over 20 rides along with a variety of amusement games, will open at 6 p.m. each night.

It’s time to welcome autumn and one of the best ways to do this is by checking out the corn mazes at Ramsey’s Farm (Ramsey Road, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-477-1499, www.ramseysfarm.com). The farm’s event season lists September 26 as 2015’s “Opening Day.”

Corn mazes, along with hayrides, a pumpkin patch and scarecrows, will be featured at Ramsey’s Farm, which is located in northern Delaware on Route 92 just south of the Pennsylvania-Delaware state line. The new season runs on weekends now through November 1.

The theme for the Corn Maze at Ramsey’s Farm this year is a trip around the world with sections for North America, Europe, South America, Africa, Australia and Asia. While in the maze, visitors can learn about agriculture, farmers and food around the world. They can find out how new technology and modern farming practices help farmers feed more people every day.

Ramsey’s “Pumpkin Patch” has been in operation since 1995 and the farm’s varied mazes have been delighting and baffling visitors who return each year for the popular annual event. The owners of Ramsey’s Farm raise pumpkins, gourds, ornamental corn, popcorn, feed corn and hay.

The farm’s pumpkin field stretches over 12 acres and yields approximately 20,000 pumpkins each season. Hayrides around the farm will be offered from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. Visitors will be able to shop for pumpkins and other items at the farm store. There will also be hot food and beverages available for purchase.

Tickets are $7 for the corn maze, $4 for the sorghum maze, $3 for the hay maze, $2 for pumpkin painting and $3 for a hayride.

This is the time of the year when farms in the area become a bustle activity — a time for harvest. But, it is not harvest matters that are causing a bustle of activity at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm in Ronks (150 Cherry Hill Road, Ronks, 717-687-6843, www.cherrycrestfarm.com).

The farm’s popular annual “Flashlight Maze” is now underway tonight and will continue every Friday and Saturday night through November.  Cherry Crest Adventure Farm has reserved several weekends during the autumn months for Flashlight Maze.

This special activity allows visitors to experience the Amazing Maize Maze in total darkness. All you need are flashlights and a few friends.

The Flashlight Maze is a nice, non-scary, Halloween alternative that has appeal for people of all ages. The Flashlight Maze, which has a $12 admission fee, is open from 6:30-10 p.m. with the last entrance into the Maze at 9 p.m.

The main attraction is Cherry Crest’s “Amazing Maize Maze,” which is billed as “the world’s most dynamic and interactive corn maze.” It is a five-acre corn maze with over two-and-one-half miles of paths, scenic bridges, and clues.

Participants can walk at their own pace as they encounter the “Kernels of Knowledge” along with a variety of clues, tunnel slides, and watering stations. They can also check out a bird’s eye view from the two bridges and watch everyone’s flags waving high above the corn.

The average time to complete the “Amazing Maize Maze” course is one hour. Tickets are $17 on Thursday and Fridays and $20 on Saturdays.

Collectors of antiques from all around the country will be heading to Pennsylvania’s Amish region this weekend — with good reason.

Renningers “Antiques & Collectors Extravaganza” (740 Noble Street, Kutztown, 570-385-0104,www.renningers.com) now through September 26 and “Special Sunday at Renninger’s Adamstown” (Route 272, Adamstown) on September 27.

The Extravaganza features hundreds of antiques dealers from up and down the East Coast. Since 1975, Renningers Antiques & Collectors Extravaganzas have been a meeting place for dealers and collectors from a variety of locales. The dealers buy and sell among themselves and offer vintage items for sale to the general public.

Many exhibitors set up shop outdoors — under tents and in the two large pavilions (each of which cover over 2,000 square feet). Also open is the Indoor Antiques Market and the Indoor Farmers Market. Tickets are $6 on Friday and $4 on Saturday.

The outdoor market will begin at 5 am on Saturday for some exhibitors who make a two day event out it. The indoor market is not open Saturdays. The main show however is Sunday, when the majority of dealers set up their booths and the indoor market is open.

Fall Fest at Hershey Gardens (70 Hotel Road, Hershey, 717-534-3492, www.hersheygardens.org) is scheduled for September 26. Hershey Gardens blooms with autumn fun during its Fall Fest. Special activities for youngsters include scarecrow stuffing and pumpkin carving.

Adults will be able to gather tips on how to clean up their yards for fall. Admission to the festival is included in the general ticket price, which is $10.50 for adults, $9.50 for seniors (age 62 and older), $7.50 for juniors (ages 3-12) and free for children under three.

Visitors to Hershey Gardens will also be able to check out ArtCycle, a sculpture exhibit in which ordinary materials are transformed into extraordinary art. This unique sculpture features work from four local artists who see the beauty in discarded items and transform them into pieces of art.

The Ratha Yatra Festival (Benjamin Franklin Parkway in front of the Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 215- 247-4601, www.phillyrathayatra.com), which was scheduled for September 26,  is one of the oldest continually celebrated spiritual festivals in the world. It is celebrated by devotees of Lord Krishna all over the world.

Unfortunately, the event has been cancelled for 2015 because it conflicts with Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Ratha Yatra will be back on Festival of Inidia’s annual tour on the fourth Saturday in September 2016.

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