What To Do: Celebrate ‘Dia de los Muertos’ in Kennett

Also: Pirate Day & The Pa. Hunt Cup get Nov. rolling

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

Dia de los Muertos celebration in Kennett Square.

Dia de los Muertos celebration in Kennett Square.

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 4 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.

Also on Friday, Kennett Square is presenting its First Friday Art Stroll.

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 alike are encouraged to stroll the tree-lined streets and browse the many businesses that stay open late.  The Art Stroll runs from 6-9 p.m. After 5 p.m., visitors to Kennett Square can enjoy free parking anywhere in the parking garage and at any street meter.

Pirate Day

Pirate Day

On November 6, the Brandywine River Museum (Route 1, Chadds Ford, 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org) will host “PNC Arts Alive First Sundays for Families: Pirate Day.”

Pirate Adventure Day returns to Brandywine River Museum of Art with amazing pirate adventures for all ages. Attendees will be able to create pirate-themed crafts, hunt for art treasures in the museum, and meet the Pirate and a sing-along with folk musician Rick Spencer in a program of seafaring songs related to pirates and the great days of sail.

All activities are included and museum admission is free.

The event runs from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Admission to the museum is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (65 and older), $6 for students with ID and children (ages 6-18.)

The Pennsylvania Hunt Cup

The Pennsylvania Hunt Cup

The Pennsylvania Hunt Cup (Pennsylvania Hunt Cup racecourse, Newark Road, Unionville, 484-888-6619, http://pahuntcup.org) is one of the oldest and most respected equestrian events in the Mid-Atlantic region. This year, the Hunt Cup will celebrate its 82nd anniversary on November 6.

The equestrian competition will feature four open races sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association. Three of them will feature races over fences and one will be a race on the flat. The challenging course features 22 post and rail fences and is one of the few select four-mile races sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association. Another popular race is the children’s Pennsylvania Pony Hunt Cup.

Gates open at 11 a.m. The first event — the Pennsylvania Pony Hunt Cup – is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. followed by the Mrs. Ford B. Draper Side Saddle Race at 12:30 p.m.

There will be the traditional “Carriage Parade” at 1 p.m. followed by the Lewis C. Ledyard Memorial Foxhunters Chase at 1:30 p.m., the Parade of Cheshire hounds at 2 p.m., the Arthur O. Choate Jr. Memorial Trophy race at 2:15 p.m. and the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup at 3 p.m. The final race of the day will be the Athenian Idol Race at 3:30 p.m.

Traditionally, the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup has had several local conservation organizations as beneficiaries. For 2016, the beneficiaries are Chester County Food Bank, Work to Ride and Upland Country Day School. General Admission, which is $50 per car, includes parking and admission for all occupants of one vehicle.

Whitemarsh Encampment

Whitemarsh Encampment

On November 5, 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.

The Coffee and Tea Festival

The Coffee and Tea Festival

This weekend, the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks will be hopping with a trio of special events dealing with coffee and tea, gems and crafts.

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 5 and 6, the Fourth 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 receive a free shopping bag. The festival will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $20.



A good way to get your holiday shopping season started is a trip to the 2016 edition of Gemarama which is scheduled for November 5 and 6 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center.

Visitors to the 47th 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.

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

The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival

The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival (http://sugarloafcrafts.com/festivals/fall-tour/oaks), which is being held November 4-6 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center 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, Janet Spahr and her Handpans, and guitarist 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.

The 33rd Annual William Rush Woodcarving and Wildlife Art Show & Sale will be held November 5 and 6 at the Penn State Brandywine Athletic Center Gymnasium (Route 352, Lima, williamrushwoodcarvers.blogspot.com).

The event, which is scheduled to run from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, will focus on birds, figures, caricatures, marine life and wildlife art – all created by skilled artists. There will also be a special Nature Center Exhibit.

Books, Tools, and supplies will be available for purchase and there will be special woodcarving demonstrations each day.

As an added attraction, door prizes will be given out every hour — each prize being a unique carving. And, there will be free parking.

Donations are $4 and children under 12 are admitted free with adult. Proceeds benefit the Penn State Club Scholarship Fund.

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) celebrates the popular autumnal flower with its annual Chrysanthemum Festival every year in October. This year’s Mum Fest, which is running through November 20, is a top-flight exhibit featuring more than 20,000 colorful, blooming chrysanthemums in Longwood’s huge conservatory.

Longwood’s horticulturalists have grown and developed the mums into a variety of unusual forms. They have groomed chrysanthemums to resemble clouds, torches, spirals, fans, 13-foot arches and more. The stars of the show are Longwood Gardens’ “Thousand Bloom” mums.

The Thousand Bloom (known in Japan as Ozukuri) is the most exacting and difficult of all the Chrysanthemum training styles. It derives its name for the ambitious goal of a single chrysanthemum plant producing 1,000 perfect blooms.

The method for growing the Thousand Bloom originated in China and Japan more than 200 years ago. It is a dying art form with only a few growers in the entire world skilled in the techniques needed to grow this special plant.

This year, Longwood has the largest chrysanthemum outside of Asia on display. Grown at Longwood, the plant is expected to produce over 1,500 perfectly placed, uniform blooms on one plant.

Another attraction is Longwood’s “Autumn Colors,” an activity that is running now through November 20. Now is an excellent time to take a nature walk in Longwood’s Meadow Garden, where visitors are surrounded by colorful flowers such as goldenrods and native asters along with meadow grasses.

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $23 for adults, $20 for seniors (62+) and $12 for students (ages 5-18).

With a forecast of mild, sunny weather, this weekend should be a good time to travel through central Bucks County to enjoy autumn’s colorful 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 43rd annual staging of the popular annual event will be held November 5 and 6 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day at the Peddler’s Village complex. It 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 The Big Chill, The Overtones, Toby Mochel, Acoustic Road, Tino & Ashley, The Mango Men, Ray Owen, Galena Brass Band, Spinning Straw, Michael Ruhl and Company, Lolly and YoYo, Jersey Harmony Chorus, and Borderline.

A leisurely way to take in autumn’s annual color display is to ride a special excursion on an area tourist railroad.

The West Chester Railroad (Market Street Station, West Chester, 610-430-2233, www.westchesterrr.net) is running its special “Fall Foliage Express” trains on November 6 and 13 with departures at noon and 2 p.m.

The Wilmington & Western Railroad (2201 Newport Gap Pike, Wilmington, DE, 302-998-1930, www.wwrr.com) is running its “Autumn Leaf Special” with trains on November 5 and 6. Trips are either a one-and-one-half hour roundtrips to the Mt. Cuba Picnic Grove or two-and-one-half hour roundtrips to Hockessin.

The W&WRR also is running its “Hayride Express” on November 11 at 7 p.m. Visitors can experience a one-hour evening ride through the Red Clay Valley on an original railroad flatcar converted especially for hayrides.

The New Hope & Ivyland Railroad (32 West Bridge St, New Hope, 215- 862-2332, www.newhoperailroad.com) offers a two-and-one-half hour, 35-mile roundtrip ride on its “Fall Foliage Trains” now through November 5.

On November 5 and 6, 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 Lancaster Red Rose Honor Guard on November 5 at 11a.m.and November 6 at 1 p.m. The Lampeter-Strasburg Community Band will present a concert on November 5 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and the Lancaster Brass Quartet will perform from 1-2:30 p.m. on November 6.

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 5 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).

The UniverSoul Circus (52nd Street and Parkside Avenue, Philadelphia, 800-345-7000, www.universoulcircus.com), which opened on November 3 and runs through November 27, is offering something different for circus fans. The performances, which will be held in the UniverSoul Big Top next to the Mann Music Center, blend traditional circus attractions with urban culture, hip hop tunes and world beat music.

Celebrating its 20th Anniversary in Philadelphia, UniverSoul Circus has come full circle in its influence in the international entertainment marketplace — garnering the distinction of being known as a one-of-a-kind, must see attraction. Since its first performance in 1994, UniverSoul Circus has presented more than 10,000 performances to live audiences and has been seen in more than 60 million households on both local and national television networks.

UniverSoul Circus connects with progressive, upwardly mobile, urban pop cultures from around the world. Celebrating more than two decades under the big top, UniverSoul Circus features music, theatrical performances and incredible circus acts including a comedy dog act from Chile, “Caribbean Dynasty” from Trinidad and Tobago, contortionists from Ethiopia, and magical tigers and disco dancing elephants from the United States.

New acts to Philadelphia this year will include Russian Bar from Cuba, Aerial Duet from Colombia, Pagoda Bowl Acrobats from China and Airborne Motorcycles from California. The entire line-up will help this tour de force of circus artistry bridge cultures from around the world.

The circus will be in town from November 3-27 at its site in Fairmount Park. Ticket prices range from $19-$35.

On November 6, it’s time for another edition of Philadelphia Comic-Con. The popular event will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel Conference Center (76 Industrial Highway, Essington, 856-217-5737, www.philadelphiacomic-con.com).

The well-attended show features comic books, trading cards and other collectibles — vintage and current. It also hosts a number of special autograph guests.

Guests for Sunday’s event will be David Newbold (Marvel artist — “Runaways”) and Micky Fiedler & Alex Rivera (Artists – “Playful Dad’s Initiative”).

The diverse collectibles event, which is the area’s longest running comic convention, will host dealers from all over the Northeast who will have sales booths featuring Gold & Silver Age comics, gaming cards such as Yuh-Gi-Oh and Magic the Gathering, action figures, 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. Show admission is $3.

Most Halloween activities have headed back into hibernation and won’t be seen again for another 10 months. A few will continue through this weekend – or a little bit longer. The following is a look at what’s left on the Halloween event calendar.

One of the area’s most popular corn mazes is running now through November 7 at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm (150 Cherry Hill Road, Ronks, 717-687-6843, www.cherrycrestfarm.com). 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.

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.

“Field of Screams” (Stone Battery Road, Lancaster, 717-285-7748, www.fieldofscreams.com), which is open now through November 7, 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.

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 69th season on November 5.

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 1 — 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).

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.

The AMT’s 2016 show “Winter Wonderland” 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 Saturdays throughout December. Show length is two hours and 15 minutes with a short intermission. Tickets are $42.

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 4-6, features authentic Eastern European cuisine. Visitors to the 2016 “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.

You also will be able to enjoy similar food items on November 5 at the Church Bazaar at Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church (1406 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont, Delaware, 302-798-4455, www.sspeterandpauluoc.org).

The menu of food items which can be eaten onsite or purchased to go includes Holubtsi (Ukrainian stuffed cabbage rolls), Kovassa (Ukrainian-style kielbasa), Halushki (cabbage and noodle), Pyrohy (Ukrainian pierogies), Borscht (beet soup), Mushroom Soup and authentic handmade Ukrainian bakery items such as nut rolls, Pascha and poppy rolls.

There will also be church tours, pysanka for sale and a variety of other vendors with cultural and religious items for sale. The free event runs from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

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