What To Do: Spring bursts into Chester County

A weekend full of fun, local events and happenings

By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times

Spring Blooms longwood

Spring is bursting out all over, but especially at Longwood Gardens, which kicks off its ‘Spring Blooms’ show, Saturday.

Spring is bursting out all over — especially at Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org).

Visitors to Longwood this weekend will be able to say goodbye to the old and hello to the new.

Longwood’s “Orchid Extravaganza” opened in January and concluded last Sunday. Now through Saturday, Longwood is hosting its own “Orchid Extravaganza Orchid Sale.”

Gardeners interested in obtaining some of these gorgeous flowers can purchase orchids taken directly from the site’s “Orchid Extravaganza” display — while supplies last. The sale will take place in the Garden Shop in the Visitor Center.

 “Orchid Extravaganza” paid homage to the orchid with thousands of orchid blooms along with a variety of displays and special exhibits throughout its conservatory. The remaining beauties from the show will be on sale now through April 2 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Another seasonal attraction at Longwood Gardens is “Spring Blooms,” which opens April 2 and runs through June 3.

Visitors can enjoy hundreds of lush acres featuring burgeoning gardens of daffodils, tulips, magnolias, azaleas, flowering cherries and more than 240,000 flowering bulbs. In the indoor part of “Spring Blooms”, lilies, delphiniums, hydrangeas and other spring blossoms fill the conservatory with color. Also featured are Longwood’s grand treehouses, whimsical Topiary Garden, and colorful Idea Garden.

Daily visitor programs, including gardening demonstrations, behind-the-scenes tours, and talks add to Longwood’s charms. Children will enjoy the many activities in the outdoor Children’s Area, and the imaginative fun of the Indoor Children’s Garden.

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $10 for students.

chesco antiques showThe 34th Annual Chester County Antiques Show (610-692-4800, http://www.chestercohistorical.org), a major fundraiser for the Chester County Historical Society (CCHS), will be held from April 1-3 at the Phelps School (583 Sugartown Road, Malvern).

The event, which is sponsored by PECO, will feature approximately 50 renowned dealers from throughout the country, making it a must-see for anyone searching for that perfect piece of furniture or accessory.  The theme of this year’s event is “Tomfoolery.”

Organizers say that the accessibility, spaciousness, and natural light at the Phelps School will provide an ideal backdrop for the vendors and all of their antique items. Visitors will be able to browse and purchase items such as 18th and 19th century American and continental furniture, rugs, paintings, ceramics, glass, silver, jewelry, needlework and other decorative arts.

The show, which typically attracts over 2,000 visitors and collectors every year, will hold a preview party on April 1 from 5-9 p.m. Regular show hours are April 2 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and April 3 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Special events will include a lecture, “Just for Fun: Ceramics, Glass & Humor” by Leslie B. Grigsby, Senior Curator of Ceramics & Glass at Winterthur. The lecture will be held on April 2 at 1 p.m.

The roster of participating dealers includes A Bird in Hand Antiques, Bill Kelly Antiques, Britannia House Antiques, David Pownall Willis, Dennis Raleigh Antiques and Folk Art, Dixon-Hall Fine Art, Dover House Antiques, Edward J. Rayeur Antiques, H.L. Chalfant American Fine Art & Antiques, Greg K. Kramer & Co., Hanes & Ruskin Antiques, Hilary and Paulette Nolan, Holly Peters Oriental Rugs, and James Gallagher.

Also participating will be James M. Kilvington, Inc., Johanna Antiques, Joseph J. Lodge, Kelly Kinzle Antiques, Malcolm Magruder, Leatherwood Antiques, Lorraine Wambold Fine Estate Jewelry, Marc Witus Antiques, Margaret J. Sutor Antiques, Maria and Peter Warren Antiques, Paul J. DeCoste Antiques, Port R.M. Worth Antiques, Inc., Roger D. Winter, Ltd., Salt Box Antiques, and Mark and Marjorie Allens.

The roster also features School House Farm Antiques, The Antique Store In Wayne, The Haneberg’s Antiques, The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd., Thomas Brown Antiques, Van Tassel Baumann American Antiques, Wesley T. Sessa Antiques, West Pelham Antiques, William Hutchison Books-Prints-Paintings, and William R. and Teresa F. Kurau, Schiffer Publishing, Schwarz Gallery, Shaeffer’s Antiques,The Norwoods’ Spirit of America, and W.M. Schwind Jr. Antiques and Fine Art.

General admission tickets for the Chester County Antiques Show are $15.

brandywine river museumThe new exhibit at the Brandywine River Museum of Art (Route 1, Chadds Ford, 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org) — “The Poetry of Nature: A Golden Age of American Landscape Painting:” — is scheduled to run through June 12.

Masterworks by Thomas Cole, Asher Durand, John F. Kensett, William T. Richards, William L. Sonntag, and other giants of the Hudson River School will be on view in the colorful exhibition. Organized by the New-York Historical Society from its vast holdings of works by the Hudson River School, the exhibition features over 40 paintings created between 1818 and 1886.

More than 25 celebrated American artists, also including Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Chambers, Sanford Gifford, Thomas H. Hotchkiss, Jervis McEntee, Louisa Minot, Francis A. Silva and Josephine Walters will be represented in the exhibition.

The Hudson River School is considered the first art movement in the United States and one that developed a distinctly American vision of the landscape. These artists were inspired to explore the landscape by the writers of their time whose stories, essays and poems extolled the pristine, primeval quality and symbolic virtue of America’s natural beauty.

Hudson River artists’ powerful interpretations of American scenery are illuminated in the exhibition’s arrangement highlighting the regions they frequently painted—along the Hudson River, through the Catskill Mountains and other regions of New York, and beyond to New England and the mid-Atlantic states.

The Brandywine River Museum of Art is open daily from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (ages 65 and over), $6 for students and children (ages 6-12) and free for children (under six) and Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art members.

Over the years, the Brandywine Valley has built a reputation for being horse country – an area with horse farms and an annual calendar loaded with equestrian events. Each year, the local calendar features an array of top-flight horse shows, dressage events, Grand Prix events and point-to-point races.

The 2015 season will get into gear this weekend with the 74th Annual Brandywine Hills Point-To-Point Races, which will be held April 3 on the grounds of the Brandywine Valley Association’s 318-acre Myrick Conservation Center (1760 Unionville-Wawaset Road, Unionville, 610-793-1090, www.brandywinewatershed.org).

brandywine hills poin-to-point

The 74th Annual Brandywine Hills Point-To-Point Races will be held Sunday.

The Brandywine Valley Association’s popular annual early-spring event is a family-oriented event which also features an array of activities for youngsters, including crafts activities.

Gates will open at 11 a.m. and children’s activities such as “Pennies in the Hay”, face painting and stick pony races slated to get underway at 11:30 a.m. The steeplechase racing event features a challenging three-mile course with 17 timber jumps.

The competition will begin at 12:30 a.m. with the Small Pony Race. The Large Pony Race will be next followed by the Lead Line Pony Race, the Radnor Hunt Foxhound Parade, the Heavyweight Race, the Novice Race, the Open Race and the Owner-Drive Foxhunter’s Race.   

There will also be a vendor area featuring dealers with a wide variety of horse and racing items as well as vendors with hot and cold food items and beverages. Another special attraction this year will be a raffle with an array of impressive prizes. Tickets are $20 per car.

This weekend includes First Friday and that means special events in some of the area’s towns.

The First Friday Art Stroll (http://historickennettsquare.com) will be held in downtown Kennett Square on April 3 from 6-9 p.m. The Art Stroll is a monthly celebration of the local art scene as it is showcased in the galleries, shops and restaurants throughout town.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to stroll the tree-lined streets and browse the many businesses that stay open late. After 5 p.m., visitors can enjoy free parking anywhere in the Parking Garage and at any of the street meters.

Evening-of-the-Arts- kennett“Evening of the Arts” will take place on April 1 from 5-8:30 p.m. in the Genesis HealthCare Building, which is located at 101 East State Street in Kennett Square.

The roster of participating artists includes Lele Galer, Carol Lesher, Jeremy McGirl, Charlie Metzger, Diane Cannon, Signe Sundberg-Hall, Timlyn Vaughan, Polly Davis Chalfant, Kyle Whary, Peter Willard, Sue Ciccone, Francine Dailey, Doris Davis-Glackin, Matthew Reinert, Favi Dubo, Dave Eldreth, Victor Mordasov, PinkCow Studio, Sandra Severson, Diana Eldreth, Susan Myers, Sandra Sigley and Andrew Snyder.

West Chester will also be celebrating First Friday (downtownwestchester.com ) on April 1. Shops and boutiques will open late and showing off their newest seasonal fashions and giftware. Visitors will be able to browse the in-store specials while enjoying light refreshments.  Parking is free on-street and in parking lots from 8 a.m.-midnight.

There will also be First Friday activities in Lancaster from 5-9 p.m. with an arts extravaganza that features exhibitions, performances, unique boutiques, performing groups and professional theater. For more information, visit http://www.visitlancastercity.com.

popovichOn April 1 at 7:30 p.m., WCU Live! will present the world famous Popovich Comedy Pet Theater at the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall in Philips Memorial Building. The show features a family-oriented blend of the unique comedy and juggling skills of Gregory Popovich and his performing pets — each of whom have been rescued from the streets. For ticket information, go to ticketleap.com.

On April 2 at 7:30 p.m., WCU Live! will host the top-ranking Taiko drummers and Japanese folkloric dancers at the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall in Philips Memorial Building. The dance troupe from Tamagawa University, Japan, is making a return appearance to West Chester University. The athletic and graceful performances have received rave reviews from national media.

The Philips Memorial Building is located at 700 South High Street, West Chester. For ticket information for either performance, go to ticketleap.com.

Lancaster and its surrounding area is filled with Amish people — the “Plain People” who always dress in black or plain dark colors. This weekend, people in Lancaster will get to see the exact opposite — the “Outrageous People” who colorfully dress like comic book heroes, aliens and Anime figures.

The colorful — and bizarre — group of people will be in Lancaster to attend Zenkaikon, which is running from April 1-3 at the Lancaster Convention Center (25 South Queen Street, Lancaster, 866-503-3786, https://zenkaikon.com)

The stated mission of Zenkaikon is to promote knowledge and enjoyment of Japanese art, animation, and culture as well as science fiction and fantasy literature and films of all origins.

zenkaikon 1Zenkaikon was created in 2006 when two Philadelphia-area events merged — Kosaikon, an anime convention held at Villanova University, and Zentrancon, an anime and science fiction convention held on the University of Pennsylvania campus. In 2006, Zenkaikon held its first event at the Valley Forge Convention Center in King of Prussia.

The convention, which is one of the most colorful and diverse events on the Lancaster site’s annual calendar, will be a celebration Japanese animation (anime), comics (manga), and pop culture.

This  year’s Zenkaikon features a wide variety of activities including anime and live action screenings, discussion panels, workshops, costume competitions, concerts by musical guests, game shows, video and table-top gaming, vendors and artists.

The roster of special guests includes Alex Strang, Charles Dunbar, Cosplay Burlesque, Dante Basko, Greg Wicker, Ellen Stern, Karl “Uncle Yo” Custer, Interrobang Studios, Richard Epcar and Vic Mignogna. Live entertainment will be provided by Eien Strife.

Some of the featured events at this weekend’s convention are Cosplay Masquerade, Anime Music Video Contest, Artemis, Artist Alley and autograph sessions. Other attractions are the “Dealer Room”, game shows, live action role playing, karaoke and an array of panels and workshops.

Zenkaiakon will be held April 1 from 10 a.m.-2 a.m., April 2 from 9 a.m.-2:45 a.m. and April 3 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets prices are $60 for “Three-day,” $50 for Saturday and Sunday combination and $25 for Sunday only.

There will be an impressive array of exhibits and vendor displays of interest to homeowners at the annual Spring Delaware Home & Garden Show. Sponsored by the Homebuilders Association of Delaware, the show will be presented April 2 and 3 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront (815 Justison Street, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-678-1520, www.delawarehomeshow.com)

The expansive list of featured categories by exhibitors includes masonry, gutters, plumbing, solar products, security systems, kitchens, closets, lighting, spas, screens, cabinets, roofing, carpentry, home media, pools, concrete products, insulation, lighting, floors and fireplaces.

Additionally, a wide range of services will be represented at the two-day event, including painting, energy audits, pest control, remodeling contractors, lawn maintenance, refinancing, HVAC, cleaning services, landscaping, water filtration and tree services.

According to statistics, trade shows offer business owners the most effective way to meet new customers. As a result, show attendees have the opportunity to use the competition among vendors as a great leverage tool in getting good deals.

Special activities include workshops on “Spring Containers” and “AirPlant Terrariums” on Saturday and “Backyard Bouquets” on Sunday.

Hours for Spring Delaware Home & Garden Show are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $5 at the door.

A similar event is scheduled to be held in Delaware County this weekend. From April 1-3, the DelVal Home show will be held at IceWorks (3100 Duttons Mill Road, Aston, phillyexpos.com).

The event will feature a large number of dealers representing a wide range of home improvement categories — landscaping, contracting, design, entertainment, remodeling, or anything in between.

The show, which is free and open to the public, will be open from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on April 1 and 2 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on April 3.

Gems aren’t necessarily costly items reserved for wealthy. They actually come in a wide variety of styles and price ranges. As a result, there are many beautiful stones that are both aesthetically pleasing and relatively inexpensive.

A wide variety of gems and jewelry as well as fossils and stones of all sports will be on display and available for purchase at a special event this weekend.

On April 2 and 3, the Delaware Valley Paleontological Society and the Philadelphia Mineralogical Society are presenting their “36th Annual Philadelphia Mineral Treasures and Fossil Fair” show and sale at the LuLu Shriners Temple (5140 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, 610-828-9050, http://dvps.essentrix.net/fossilfair.htm).

The event will feature exhibits of outstanding specimens from society members’ personal collections. The event will also offer a variety of learning activities including a fossil dig for children, displays of local and regional finds and a mineral identification table.

Other special attractions include “Kid’s Fossil Dig and Minerals Corner” (with free mineral gifts), a fluorescent minerals room, lapidary and jewelry displays, educational materials, door prizes and a food and beverage concession. There will also be a special exhibit by the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences.

Additionally, there will be a sales area featuring more than 30 dealers from around the country. These dealers will be selling fossils, minerals, crystals and jewelry from all over the world, along with books, decorative items and other merchandise.

The Fair will run from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $5 for adults and $1 for children (under 12).

This weekend also marks the first day of Delaware County’s trout fishing season. Newlin Grist Mill (219 South Cheyney Road, Glen Mills, 610-459-2359, www.newlingristmill.org) will celebrate “Trout Fishing Opening Day” from 9 a.m.4 p.m. on April 4.

The site has stocked its three ponds with trout and is ready for the arrival of the anglers. On Saturday, anyone who has caught fish they don’t want to take with them can donate them to feed injured birds as part of a program the site shares with the Tri-State Bird Rescue.

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