What to Do: Pirates, Antiques, ‘Day of the Dead’, Coffee Fest, Trains & Troops and more…

By DENNY DYROFF, Staff Writer, The Times

Ahoy, all ye pirates — young and old. Prepare to set sail for Chadds Ford this weekend.

On November 8, the Brandywine River Museum (Route 1, Chadds Ford, 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org) will present “Pirate Adventure Day” from 10 a.m.-noon. And, the museum will offer free admission from 9:30 a.m. until noon.

Kids who dream of being pirates will be able to create pirate-themed crafts, participate in a rope-tying demonstration led by local pirates, hunt for art treasures in the museum and hear daring tales of journeys at sea presented by Hedgerow Theatre.

Hedgerow theatrical performances are scheduled for 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 12:30 p.m.

dia muertos

Dia de Los Muertos – Day of the Dead festivities scheduled for November 6 – Kennett Square

The museum will also host its “Brandywine Harvest Market” on November 7 and 8 from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day.

Visitors will be able to shop for everything from honey and apples to pottery and handcrafted jewelry. Regional artisans will be showcasing their crafts in the museum’s courtyard. Hand-woven rugs, dried flowers and wreaths, pottery, quilted items and handcrafted dolls will be featured on a rotating basis.

In Mexico, November 1 is known as “Dia de Los Muertos” — the Day of the Dead. It is a festive day when families remember and honor their loved ones who have passed away.

Kennett Square will also be celebrating “Dia de Los Muertos” on November 6 with a special event at the American Legion Hall (208 East State Street, Kennett Square).

As a celebration of life, culture and the arts, Casa Guanajuato (645 E. Baltimore Pike, Kennett Square, http://www.casagks.org) will host an art exhibition on the Day of the Dead. The “Celebration of Life” event is a family-friendly activity with exhibits featuring local artists, music, traditional dances and lively festivities from 5-8 p.m. at the American Legion Hall.

The special candle lighting ceremony is slated to get underway at 6:30 p.m.

On November7 and 8, Hope Lodge (553 South Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, 215-646-1595, http://www.ushistory.org/hope) will host its annual “1777 Whitemarsh Encampment.” This event commemorates the time from November 2 to December 11 in 1777 when General George Washington and the Continental Army were encamped in the Whitemarsh Hills.

Saturday’s activities will begin at 11:30 a.m. with a skirmish re-enactment in the back field. The battle display will be followed by another skirmish re-enactment at 2:30 p.m.

On Sunday, the event will open with a Revolutionary War era church service in the formal garden at 10:30 a.m. followed by the cashiering of a disgraced soldier on terrace in front of mansion at 11:30 a.m. There will be a weapons demonstration in the back field at 1 p.m. The weekend’s activities will conclude with another skirmish re-enactment at 2:30 p.m.

As an added attraction, the Hope Lodge mansion will be open for self-guided tours all day (except during the skirmishes). Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors (age 60 and older) and youths (ages 6-17). Children ages 5 and under are free. There is a special family (one car) admission of $20.

Bitter is not better. No matter how hard some national coffee shop chains try to convince you otherwise, there is no truth to the statement “bitter is better” when referring to fresh-brewed coffee. Bitter coffee is the result of a pot of coffee sitting on a burner too long, brewing the coffee using beans that are too finely ground or making the brew with oil-covered, dark-roasted beans.

When beans are roasted dark, oils rise to the surface. The taste gets bitter and the true flavor of the beans used is no longer in play. It’s like taking a prime piece of filet mignon and cooking it to a charred, well-done state. No matter how good the cut of beef was, all you taste is dry, overcooked meat.

If you want to experience good coffee brewed from properly-roasted, freshly-ground beans, there is an event this weekend that you should check out. On November 7 and 8, the Third Annual Coffee & Tea Festival Philly will be held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Avenue, Oaks, 631-940-7290, http://www.coffeeandteafestival.com).

More than 40 exhibitors from around the country will be offering tastings of their finest coffees and teas and introducing visitors to new products. Industry professionals will talk about the coffees and discuss pairings with food. The exhibit hall will feature a wide array of sweet and savory foods to compliment the spectacular collection of local and national coffees and teas.

As an added attraction, the first 1,000 attendees to walk through the doors each day will be handed a free gift bag. The festival will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. Admission is $20 for one day of $30 for a two-day pass.

With a forecast of warm, sunny weather, this weekend is a good time to take a drive through central Bucks County to enjoy the fall foliage. This weekend offers an even better time because it’s the weekend of Peddler’s Village’s Apple Festival (Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, 215-794-4000, www.peddlersvillage.com).

The 2015 staging of the popular annual event will be held November 7 and 8 at the Peddler’s Village complex and will feature a variety of artisans who will be demonstrating and selling their crafts. There will also be live music and the curiously entertaining pie-eating contests.

As expected, the free festival will be a showcase for apples served in all sorts of tasty ways — apple cider, caramel-covered apples, apple fritters, apple sundaes, apple pie and apple strudel.

Visitors will even be able to sample country apple butter cooked over an open fire. Many of the apple treats will be available for take-home as well as for eating at the festival. Additionally, visitors will be able to purchase a variety of fresh apples in bushels from the site’s orchard.

The roster of live entertainers includes Rendition, The Big Chill, Jeff Munsick, Jim Haner, Baron-Montemurro Duo, The Overtones, Jersey Harmony, Toby Mochel and A Few Good Men, Mike Brill, Tino & Ashley, The Mango Men.

On November 7 and 8, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (300 Gap Road, Strasburg, 717-687-8628, www.rrmuseumpa.org) is presenting a special event that is sure to appeal to the patriotic spirit in everyone — an event called “Trains & Troops.” It is a Veterans Day celebration a few days early.

“Trains & Troops” is the museum’s annual tribute to the U. S. Armed Forces — to all those who served or are serving in defense of our nation. At the annual autumn event, visitors will be able to greet our men and women in uniform — including veterans, civilians, railroaders and re-enactors from the Civil War forward. Also featured will be a large array of military and military railroad service-related posters, uniforms, equipment, field gear, maps, books and photographs on display.

The annual event is also a tribute to American railroads and their role in supporting the U. S. Armed Forces. Railroads built our nation and came to the country’s defense during times of war — both on the home front and overseas. The American Civil War marked the first major military application of railroads. The Military Railway Service was created in 1916 for World War I. In World War II, U. S. freight and passenger railroad service, both military and civilian, was huge.

There will be a salute to veterans and active duty service personnel with the Red Rose Honor Guard on November 7 at 11a.m.and November 8 at 1 p.m. The Lampeter-Strasburg Community Band will present a concert on November 7 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and the Lancaster Brass Quartet will perform from 1-2:30 p.m. on November 8.

The museum’s vast Rolling Stock Hall will come alive to the music of the Moonlighters Band at the “Taking the Swing Train ’40s Dance” scheduled for November 7 from 7-10 p.m. Tickets cost $25 for the dance only or $35 for a combination with “Trains & Troops” admission. Tickets for “Trains and Troops” only are $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and $8 for youth (ages 3-11).

You can’t fight it. The retail season for Christmas 2015 has begun. The message is that it’s never too early to start your holiday shopping. Actually, it can be to your advantage to get an early start — better selection, more time to ponder purchases and being able to spread out the hits to your bank account.

A good way to get your holiday shopping season started is a trip to the 2015 edition of Gemarama which is scheduled for November 7 and 8 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Road, Oaks, 609-888-3618, http://www.lapidary.org).

Visitors to the 46th Annual Gemarama, which is being held in the expansive expo hall in Oaks for the first time, will find an amazing variety of gems on display and available for purchase. Gem specialists and dealers from all over the country will be displaying and selling their specialties at this popular gem and mineral show.

Show attendees will be able to look at gems and rare stones from all around the world — many of which are for sale and not just exhibition pieces. Visitors will be able to examine and select purchases from a huge amount of collectible items ranging from fossils to precious gems.sugarloaf

As an added attraction, members of the Tuscarora Lapidary Society will be presenting demonstrations of various lapidary and jewelry making skills including faceting, intrasia, faceting, channel jewelry, metal craft, silversmithing, bead stringing, chain making and wirewrap jewelry.

At the “Children’s Table”, youngsters will be able to make bracelet and key chains, use informative children’s coloring books on gems and minerals and toss a bean bag to win a prize.

Also featured will be a variety of competitive exhibits with awards in the following categories — Best in Show, Best Theme Exhibit, Most Educational Exhibit, Best Non-Member Exhibit, Best Mini-Case Exhibit and Director’s Award.

Gemarama tickets for adults are $6 with two-day tickets available for $9 while tickets for children (under 12) are $1.

The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival, which is being held November 6-8 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Avenue, Oaks, 800-210-9900, www.sugarloafcrafts.com), presents the work of over 250 top-flight crafters, many of whom are in the upper echelon of American artisans.

The festival will feature an large variety of crafts categories, including blown glass, tapestry, rugs, leather, sculpture, woodturnings, forged iron, baskets, photography, woodwork, weaving, pottery, mixed media, hats, painted silk, musical instruments, jewelry, fused glass, fine arts, brass items, boxes, wind chimes, specialty foods , accessories, bells, quilts, glass, copperware, chair caning, enamels, furniture, pillows and clothing.

The event will also feature a variety of craft demonstrations and a full schedule of live entertainment, including performances by the Jazz Lobsters, Matt Miskie, Janet Spahr, David Young and Ed Wright. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $10 and are good for all three days. Children under 12 are admitted free.

One of the area’s longest-running traditional events is the Delaware Antiques Show (Chase Center on the Riverfront, Wilmington, Delaware, 800-448-3883, www.winterthur.org). The event, which has been around for more than 50 years, will be held from November 6-8.

del antiques show

Delaware Antiques Show this weekend – Chase Center on the Waterfront, Wilmington

Well-established and considered one of the nation’s best antiques shows, the annual three-day event presents a large and diverse assemblage of art, antiques and design. With more than 60 top-flight dealers participating, the Delaware Antiques Show highlights the best of American antiques and decorative arts.

The show will feature sales displays featuring furniture and decorative accessories from the 17th to the early 20th centuries, including folk art, Native American art, ceramics, needlework, quilts, jewelry, prints, paintings, and rugs.

Knowledgeable dealers will be at their booths answering questions and offering advice to collectors. Visitors to the show can learn from the experts about a variety of different antiques categories, including brass, jewelry, painting, ceramics, silver, textiles and 18th and 19th century furniture.

Proceeds from the Delaware Art Show benefit the educational programs at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library. Hours are from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $15 and include the show catalogue. Children under 12 are admitted free.

People who can’t wait for the Christmas season every time it rolls around are already celebrating its return. Anyone wanting to get into a Christmas mood early can visit Koziar’s Christmas Village (782 Christmas Village Road, Bernville, 610-488-1110, www.koziarschristmasvillage.com) which begins its 68th season on November 7.

Koziar’s Christmas Village is truly a holiday wonderland — a wintertime spectacle that delights young and old alike with a huge amount of holiday displays and special attractions. It will remain open every night through January 2 — including Christmas Eve, Christmas Night, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Night.

The tours of “Christmas Village” feature visits to a variety of displays and exhibits, including “Santa’s Post Office,” “Christmas in the Jungle,” “Manger Scene,” “Christmas Beneath the Sea,” “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “Olde Fashioned Bakery Shop,” “Toy Maker and his Toy Shop,” “Christmas in Other Lands” and “The Olde Church”.

Other attractions at Koziar’s Christmas Village include a huge model train display, a toy shop, a country kitchen, indoor and outdoor Christmas displays and a place to visit with Santa and even get pictures taken with the old guy in the red suit. Admission to Christmas Village is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors (65 and older) and $8 for children (ages 4-10).

This weekend, you can get a glimpse at how holidays are celebrated in Eastern Europe and Russia by visiting the festival at Saint Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church (1855 North Middletown Road (Route 352), Gradyville, 610-459-5310, www.sthermansoca.org).

The annual Christmas bazaar and food festival at St. Herman, which is running from November 6-8, features authentic Eastern European cuisine. Visitors to the 2015 “Food Festival & Holiday Shopping Extravaganza” will be able to enjoy such taste treats as Beef Stroganoff, hiluski (stuffed cabbage), kielbasi and freshly-made pierogies in the dining room.

The Russian Tea Room will feature dessert items such as poppy cake, nut rolls and other Russian baked goods along with authentic Russian chai (tea). The festival will also host an expansive gift shop with a wide array of Eastern European and Russian items, including icons, jewelry, books and pysanki (Ukrainian-style decorated eggs).

There will also be demonstrations of traditional folk dancing. The festival, which features free admission, will be open from noon-8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon-4 p.m. on Sunday.

Beginning November 7, Nemours Mansion & Gardens (Route 141 South, Alapocas Drive, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-651-6912, www.nemoursmansion.org) is welcoming visitors for the Christmas holidays with special holiday-themed tours. The three-hour tours are held Tuesdays through Sundays and run from November 7 through January 3.

Originally constructed in 1910, Nemours Mansion is one of Delaware’s grandest buildings and includes the largest formal French garden in North America. The house was the residence of Alfred I. DuPont and is presented as a “home” rather than a “museum”. It contains more than 70 rooms over five floors that occupy 47,000 square feet. Its unique furnishings include rare French 18th century furniture.

During the holiday period, the guided tours will include several stories of the house and part of the gardens. Many of the rooms featured in the tour will be decorated as they would have been when DuPont resided there while some will retain their traditional period decorations.

Visitors will see rooms beautifully decorated with historical artifacts (including some displayed for the first time) along with dazzling Christmas trees decked out with hand-painted ornaments and decorations from the early 1900s to the present. On the tour, they will also hear stories about how Alfred and Jessie DuPont shared this special holiday with family, friends and staff.

Tour times are 9:30 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday and noon and 3 p.m. every Sunday. Tickets for the tour at Nemours are $15.

As an added attraction, Nemours Mansion will offer two special evening tours from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on December 2 and 16. The two featured tours will include live music and light refreshments.

The American Music Theatre (2425 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, 800-0 648-4102, www.AMTshows.com) has its holiday show running now through December 30 and the Rainbow Dinner Theatre (3065 Lincoln Highway East, Paradise, 800-292-4301, http://www.rainbowcomedy.com) is presenting its holiday production now through December 27.

The AMT’s 2015 show “Deck the Halls” is an all-new presentation of favorite sacred and secular holiday songs performed by professional artists from across the country. The show will feature spectacular vocal harmonies, lively musical arrangements, impressive dancing and the music of the AMT Orchestra.

Also featured will be elaborate scenery, elegant costumes and a theater decked out with holiday decorations.

The show will have both matinee and evening performances each week with the addition of 10:30 a.m. performances on Sundays throughout December. Show length is two hours and 15 minutes with a short intermission. Tickets are $42 for adults and $21 for children.

The new production at the Rainbow Comedy Theatre in Paradise is titled “Goodnight Mrs. Puffin.”

Matinee performances are every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and selected Saturdays with an 11:30 a.m. lunch and a 1 p.m. curtain. Evening performances are every Friday, Saturday and selected Thursdays with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the show following at 8 p.m. There will also be “Twilight Performances” on selected Sundays with dinner at 2:30 p.m. and the show at 4 p.m. Ticket prices range from $48-$54.

While some people currently are eagerly waiting for the Christmas season to shift into high gear, there are others who are trying to hold on to the Halloween season as long as possible. Fortunately for them, some Halloween events are still active this weekend.

The “30th Annual Jason’s Woods” (99 Stehman Road, Lancaster, 717-872-5768, www.jasonswoods.com), which is running through November 7, is a horror show complex that features a combination of live actors, impressive animation and scary special effects. Popular attractions include “Horrifying Hayride,” “Chamber of Horrors,” “Zombie Apocalypse,” “Lost in Jason’s Woods,” “Carnival of Fear,” “Fields of Fright” and the “The Grand Jason’s Woods Theater.” Admission prices are for combo tickets are $25 for three attractions and $40 for six.

“Terror Behind the Walls” (Eastern State Penitentiary, 2124 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, 888-763-NITE, www.easternstate.org), which continues through November 7, takes place at a site Penitentiary that was once was an active prison and is now a National Historic Landmark. It is a scream-inducing event featuring laser and special-effect lighting, digital sound, sinister scents, animatronic creatures and 3-D illusions. Admission prices, which vary with the date, range from $13-$39.

The popular corn maze at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm (150 Cherry Hill Road, Ronks, 717-687-6843, www.cherrycrestfarm.com) is running now through November 7. The main attraction is Cherry Crest’s “Amazing Maize Maze.” 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. There will also be a “Flashlight Maze” every Friday and Saturday night. Tickets are $17 on Thursday and Fridays and $20 on Saturdays.

Ghost Tour of Philadelphia (215-413-1997, www.ghosttour.com), Ghost Tour of Lancaster (717-687-6687, www.ghosttour.com) and Ghost Tour of Strasburg (717-687-6687, www.ghosttour.com) operate through November and offer an eerily entertaining evening of true ghost stories and real haunted houses. Tickets are $17 for adults for Philadelphia and $15 for Lancaster and Strasburg and $10 for children at all locations.

“Field of Screams” (Stone Battery Road, Lancaster, 717-285-7748, www.fieldofscreams.com), which is open now through November 9, features “Den of Darkness” (three-story horror house), “Frightmare Asylum” (walk-through haunted barn), “Extreme Blackout,” “Nocturnal Wasteland” and the “Haunted Hayride” (a 25-minute fright-filled ride featuring state-of-the-art special effects, pyrotechnics and animatronics). Admission is $34.

If Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos have put you in the mood for hunting ghosts, then you should plan a visit to Fort Mifflin (Fort Mifflin and Hog Island roads, Philadelphia, 215-685-4167, www.fortmifflin.us) this weekend.

On November 6, 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.”

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