What To Do: Philadelphia Flower Show blooms this weekend

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, the Times

The Philadelphia Flower Show

Spring and its beautiful flowers will be here soon. But, you don’t have to wait another five or six weeks to be awestruck by the beauty of Mother Nature’s floral offerings.

All you need do is make a visit to this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (12th and Arch streets, Philadelphia, 215-988-8899, www.theflowershow.com).

The festive event, which opens on March 3 and runs through March 11 this year, has “Wonders of Water” as its theme for 2018.

The show, which is presented every year by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, celebrates its 189th anniversary in 2018, treats visitors to a spectacle of floral displays in every size, style and shape imaginable.

The 2018 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, “Wonders of Water,” will celebrate the beauty and life-sustaining interplay of horticulture and water.

America’s leading floral and garden designers will create tropical jungles, temperate forests, native woodlands and arid landscapes, showcasing the astounding plants that thrive in each environment, from exquisite orchids and flowering vines to luminescent desert blooms.

The show will feature 10 acres of exhibition halls with floral displays and vendors.

Floral competition is always a major drawing card at the annual show. The 2017 Flower Show will feature a large number of garden displays and thousands of plants and floral designs entered in various competitions. These entries will be reviewed and rated by a staff featuring over 200 expert judges from across the nation.

The show’s biggest attraction each year is the massive “Marketplace” featuring over 150 vendors from all over America and several European nations. They will be selling flowers, orchids, floral-inspired furniture, sheds, artwork and unique garden-related crafts and supplies.

Throughout the week, hundreds of gardening experts will provide learning opportunities in the Lecture Series.

Be prepared for large crowds during the weekend hours. If you want a more leisurely visit, plan to visit the show during the week. Also, take public transportation if possible. Vehicular traffic in the area is frequently a nightmare and parking lots tend to fill up early even though they are charging exorbitant fees.

Tickets for the Philadelphia Flower Show are available online in advance for $32 and at the door for $40.  Tickets are $20 in advance and $24 at the door for students with valid ID and $17 ($19 at the door) for children ages 2-16.

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens has the blues – but that’s a good thing.

From March 3-25, Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) is presenting its “Winter Blues Festival.”

Blue is one of the rarest colors in the plant world and Longwood Gardens honors blue flowers with a special celebration. The site’s horticulturists have researched, acquired, and grown hundreds of blue-hued blossoms and foliage to adorn the Orangery and Exhibition Hall.

Longwood Gardens is not just celebrating the blues visually. Every Saturday, visitors to Longwood can hear the sounds of the blues when the venue presents a series of blues artists performing live in the Conservatory.

Free concerts will be performed by the Bob Beach Duo on March 3 (noon-3 p.m.) and 10 (2-5 p.m.) and Stevie & the Bluescasters on March 17 and 24 (2-5 p.m., both days).

The schedule of ticketed live blues concerts includes Lurrie Bell on March 2, Ruthie Foster on March 16 and Rory Block on March 29.

If you’re looking for a brief break from winter, remember that it is always spring in Longwood’s conservatory.

Every year in February and March, Longwood celebrates the one of the world’s most popular plants – the orchid. The festive celebration of the ultra-popular plant is called “Orchid Extravaganza” — an annual event that is running now through March 25.

The largest family of flowering plants in the world is the orchid — a flower that is acclaimed as one of the most beautiful, delicate and graceful flowers in the world. The Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew list over 20,000 accepted species with about 800 new species added each year. Additionally, horticulturists have more than 100,000 hybrids and cultivars.

The celebration of the orchid species features thousands of orchid blooms along with a variety of displays and special exhibits throughout its four-acre conservatory. “Orchid Extravaganza” will also feature stunning displays of orchids in planting beds, containers and innovative exhibits.

As one of the first plant collections at Longwood, orchids have held a place of distinction since 1922. The site’s talented horticulturists celebrate the beauty and variety of orchids with an artful display that includes a towering 12-foot-tall archway, a spectacular orchid curtain, and hundreds of vibrant Vanda orchids adorning the Silver Garden.

Approximately 5,000 colorful orchids hang from baskets, create inspiring arrangements and adorn unique forms throughout “Orchid Extravaganza.”

Another attraction is “OrKid Day,” which is scheduled for March 17. Each “OrKid Day” includes a kids’ performance, craft sessions and the “Orchid Sorting Game.”

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $23 for adults, $20 for seniors and $12 for students.

For two weekends only, the Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-388-6221, www.chaddsford.com) will present its exclusive “Reserve Tasting + Tour” program at half-price.

During the program, visitors will gain comprehensive knowledge about Chaddsford’s wine-making philosophy, production facility and growers. The tour will conclude with an artisanal wine and food pairing featuring small bites and three small-batch Artisan Series wines.

The special Reserve Tours, which include a traditional wine tasting, are held on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. They are limited in size and last about 45 minutes. So, tour participants must be at the winery at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour.

The traditional wine tasting flights are: Dry Red Wine Flight with 2015 Proprietors Reserve Red, 2015 Harbinger, and 2014 Artisan Series Fusion;

Dry White Wine Flight with 2015 Proprietors Reserve White, 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, and 2014 Barrel Select Chardonnay; and Sweet Wine Flight with Sunset Blush, Sangri-la Sangria, andNiagara.

Tickets for Reserve Tours are $20 (when booked in advance online) and $25 (onsite while supplies last). To take advantage of the special offer, use code “MARCHTOUR” when you reserve your spot online and save 50 per cent off for each ticket.

On March 2, it will be time for another installment of Kennett Square’s First Friday Art Stroll in downtown Kennett Square (http://historickennettsquare.com/recreation-culture/art-stroll/).

Kennett Square’s 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.

There will be an opening reception for Mala Galleria (206 East State Street, Kennett Square, 202-591-6548) on March 2 from 6-9 p.m.

Mala Galleria features fine art, handmade jewelry, and crafts by local, national and international artists and craftspeople. The exhibit this month is entitled the “Wonders of Water” featuring works by Peter Quarracino, Madeleine Kelly, Portia Mortensen, Sarah Yeoman, Annette Alessi, Meghan Bergman and Jill Beech.

The Art Stroll runs from 6-9 p.m. on the first Friday of each month. After 5 p.m. on Friday, visitors can take advantage of free parking anywhere in the Parking Garage and at any street meter.

There will also be First Friday happenings in Lancaster tonight.

Lancaster’s popular First Friday (http://www.visitlancastercity.com/first-friday/) is an arts extravaganza that runs from 5-9 p.m. on March 3. Visitors to downtown Lancaster will have the opportunity to discover innovative exhibitions, performances and perhaps a few surprises as they walk the streets lined with trees and distinctive architecture.

Unique boutiques and excellent restaurants complement the art galleries, artisan studios, museums, performing groups, professional theater, symphony orchestra and art college that form Lancaster’s arts community.

Another First Friday event this weekend will take place in Old City Philadelphia (230 Vine Street and locations throughout Old City Philadelphia, 215- 625-9200, www.oldcitydistrict.org).

On the first Friday of each month — year-round — Old City’s galleries, studios, shops and restaurants open their doors for First Friday, in an epic exhibition of the neighborhood’s vibrant arts scene.

Old City Arts Association launched First Friday in 1991 to introduce Philadelphia to the improving neighborhood and the artists and designers who were bringing it back to life. Two decades later, Old City is a nationally recognized arts destination, named in 2013 as one of the country’s top ArtPlaces by the ArtPlace Foundation.
On the first Friday evening of every month, the streets of Old City fill with art lovers of all kinds who wander among the neighborhood’s 40-plus galleries, most of which are open from 5-9 p.m.


On March 2 from 6-9 p.m., the Barnes Foundation, (2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, www.barnesfoundation.org, 215-278-7200) is presenting a show featuring the vocal harmonies of Hegazy, the brainchild of twin sisters and singer-songwriters Leila and Omnia Hegazy. The twins bring a unique blend of driving guitars, smoky keyboards, and infectious pop melodies.

Raised in Staten Island, New York, Leila and Omnia Hegazy began writing music together at age 11. As teens and adults, they pursued separate careers in music, with Leila focusing on R&B and Omnia on pop-rock. The sisters reunited in 2012 and began collaborating again, cultivating a fresh sound that blends the genres.

There will also be First Friday celebrations in Ambler (https://firstfridaysinambler.wordpress.com) and York (www.downtownyorkpa.com).

“Super Bowl Fever” hasn’t subsided much for Philadelphia Eagles fans.  If you’re out and about, you’ll probably encounter someone wearing Eagles gear at least once every 10 minutes.

The fervor will continue this weekend with an event sure to fan the flames.

Eagles quarterbacks Caron Wentz and Nick Foles are the two main autograph guests this weekend’s Philadelphia Sportscard & Memorabilia Show, which is running March 2-4 at the Valley Forge Casino Resort (First Avenue, King of Prussia, 610-524-0822, http://www.phillyshow.com).

The show will feature dealers from all over the country who will be selling a wide array of sports-related items such as game-used equipment, autographed balls, posters, magazine, game programs and autographed pictures. – and plenty of Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl memorabilia. Visitors can also find a huge selection of collectors’ supplies including protective sheets, binders, ball protectors and display cases.

The primary theme for this weekend’s show is “Five Decades of Eagles.” Some of the other Eagles who will be autograph guests are Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson, Alshon Jeffery, Corey Clement, Brandon Graham, Nigel Bradham, Mychal Kendricks, Jason Kelce and Jalen Mills.

Another major focus of the show will be trading cards — especially baseball cards. Show attendees will be able to find everything from ultra-rare vintage Honus Wagner and Babe Ruth cards to the latest releases. All sports will be represented, including football, soccer, ice hockey, basketball, wrestling, Olympics and UFC.

Show hours are 2-8 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday.

Admission to the show is $8 per day or $18 for a weekend pass.

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

If you want to enjoy a session of skating this season at the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest (Delaware Avenue at Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-925-RINK, http://www.delawareriverwaterfront.com/places/blue-cross-riverrink-winterfest), you better act quickly.

This weekend will be the swan song for the rink’s 2017-2018 season. March 4 marks the season finale. When Sunday’s final session concludes, that’s it – that’s the end until next winter.

Unlike most of the suburban ice rinks, RiverRink features only public skating. Ice skating is the only use of the ice – no hockey leagues, no lessons, just public ice skating.

RiverRink has taken the ice skating experience on the Delaware River waterfront to another level 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 this weekend are 1 p.m.-12:30 a.m. on Friday, 11 a.m.-12:30 a.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. on Sunday. Skating admission prices are $13 and include skate rental.

If you prefer an ice-cold beer to an ice-cold rink on Saturday, you could move a few blocks southeast from Delaware Avenue to the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

There you will find one of the most highly-rated beer festivals in the nation.

The ultra-popular Philly Craft Beer Festival will run from 12:30-5 p.m. (VIP)/1:30-5 p.m. (General Admission) on March 4 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard (4747 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, http://www.phillycraftbeerfest.com).

Philly Craft Beer Festival

The award-winning Philly Craft Beer Festival will feature more than 200 of the best craft breweries — local, national and international.

These breweries will be offering samples of their finest brewing achievements to event attendees at two sessions, a VIP session and a General Session.  The VIP Session offers serious beer enthusiasts an extra hour and an opportunity to taste some rare and highly desirable beers that will not be poured during the general session.

When participants arrive, they will receive a souvenir five-ounce tasting glass with a two-ounce pour line. Ticket holders are welcome to sample any beer that the brewers have.

Participating food trucks will be Kono Pizza, Baby Blue’s B*B*Q, Humpty’s Dumplings, HH, P.W. Whelihan’s, and Philly Fry.

The event will be held outdoors under tents at the Navy Yard — rain or shine.

Tickets are $75 for VIP, $46 for general admission and $12 for designated drivers.

“Paleopalooza,” which is billed as a “weekend extravaganza of fossils”, is a festival featuring exhibits of fossils, dinosaur drawing lessons, trilobite races and talks by prominent paleontologists.

The 2018 edition of the event will be held March 3 and 4 at the Academy of Natural Sciences (1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, 215- 299-1000, www.ansp.org).

The annual event, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, will showcase rare fossils from the museum’s world-renowned collections including fossils belonging to President Thomas Jefferson.

The Franklin Fountain and Shane Confectionery present “Wunderkammer: Cabinet of Curiosities” as one of this year’s highlights.

The legendary Philadelphia sweetshop presents appetizing artifacts, fossil fare, and ice “age” cream, as they create a curious cabinet of confections right before your eyes. Observe as the edible “Wunderkammer” is constructed, freely sample bites of sweets that might bite back, and after 4 p.m. join in the feeding frenzy as the public is let loose to consume the delectable display.

Paleontologist Jason Schein will give a presentation on what it takes to dig up dinosaurs in the American West.

During “Closer Look: Live Reptiles,” which will be presented ffrom10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m., visitors will have the opportunity to meet some of the live reptiles that call the Academy home, learn about these remarkable relatives of the dinosaurs and compare them to the fossils on display nearby.

Popular activities for the little ones include “Storytime with Marty “The Mesozoic” Moose” at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., and “Meet Buddy from Dinosaur Train” – a meet-and-greet with everyone’s favorite theropod, Buddy the Dinosaur from “Dinosaur Train.”

There will be two special auditorium shows — “Rad Reptile Relatives: Dandy Dinos and Bodacious Birds” (1 and 3:30 p.m.), and “Dinosaurs of the Bighorn Basin Dinosaur Project” (2:30 p.m.)

Other activities include “Guided Tours of Dinosaur Hall,” “Fossil Preparation,” “The Fossil Hunt,” “Modeling Monsters: Paleo Physics,” “Fossil Club Displays,” and “Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World.”

Ticket prices are $19.95 for adults, $16.95 for seniors and $15.95 for children (ages 3-12).

For all you parents who are looking for indoor activities to temporarily offer some relief from your kids’ cabin fever, consider crossing the Delaware River for a visit to the Adventure Aquarium (1 Riverside Drive, Camden, New Jersey, 856-365-3300, www.adventureaquarium.com).

If you go during the next few weeks, you’re in for an added treat – “Winter Family Days.”

At “Winter Family Days,” visitors will be able to take advantage of the Aquarium’s family-friendly pricing offer — “Buy 1 Adult Ticket, Get 1 Child Ticket FREE.”

To participate in this offer, you must purchase one full-priced adult ticket to receive one free child admission. It is an “Online Offer Only” and is valid until March 23, 2018. It cannot be combined with any other special offers or discounts.

Families who visit the Aquarium will have the opportunity to explore and discover hippos, penguins, stingrays, sharks and more – all in one visit.

Some of the popular, family-friendly attractions are “Sea Turtle Cove,” “Caribbean Currents,” “Hippo Haven,” “Creature Feature,” “The Grotto,” “Touch a Shark,” “Ocean Realm,” “Stingray Beach Club,” “Shark Bridge,” “Piranha Falls,” “Penguin Island,” “Shark Realm,” and “Little Blue Beach.”

Admission to the Adventure Aquarium is $29 for adults and $21 for children (ages 2-12). Children under two are admitted free with a paying adult.

In other museum activity geared for youngsters, the Garden State Discovery Museum: (2040 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, 856-424-1233, www.discoverymuseum.com) is presenting a special program called “Passport to Discovery” on selected weekends now through the end of March.

On March 3 and 4, the program will be “Passport to Discovery: Ireland.”

It will be a day for the “Wearing of the Green” – the green associated with the Emerald Isle rather than the green associated with Philly’s pro football team. Kids will be able to learn about the island country known for shamrocks, leprechauns, St. Patrick and step dancing.

“Passport to Discovery: Animals of the Americas” is slated for March 10 and “Passport to Discovery: Polynesia” will be presented on March 17.

“Brunch with the Bunny” will be held on March 18 and the “Discovery Easter Egg Hunt” is set to take place on April 1

Admission to the museum is $13.95 for adults and children (12 months and over) and $12.95 for seniors. Children visiting the museum must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older.

On March 3, West Chester University will host the Sixth Annual Philadelphia Flute Day Fair (https://www.philaflutesociety.org/fairevents). The event will be held at Swope Music Building and the Performing Arts Center, which is located at 817 South High Street in West Chester.

The Flute Day Fair will be filled with a variety of events including concerts, flute choirs, master classes, exhibits, workshops and presentations.

Some of the music acts that will be performing and/or presenting workshops are PROJECT Trio, The BETA Quartet, Camden Beavers, and the Festival Flute Choir.

Other special attractions are: “Playing Irish Music on Silver or Irish Flute” presented by Mary Kay Mann; lecture “The Musical Brain” by Randy Rosenberg; “FluteXpansions: Expanding Warm-Ups” by Shanna Gutierrez; and the “Finale Flute Choirs Concert” with the Student Honors Flute Choir and the Festival Flute Choir.

The Philadelphia Flute Day Fair will also feature a variety of exhibitors including The Flute Loft, The Flute Pro Shop, J.L. Smith/Flute World, Landell Flutes, Warfield’s Fine Flutes, and Windworks Studio of Philadelphia.

Tickets are $15 for guests. Additionally, an Exhibit Hall Pass is available for $5 for those who do not plan to attend events but wish to visit the exhibits.

If you’re thinking about getting an RV — or any type from a home-away-from-home on wheels — then you should check out the Greater Philadelphia RV Show & Sale which is running now through March 4 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Avenue, Oaks, 800-290-6886, www.phillyrvshow.com).

Visitors to the show will be able to shop at exhibits by many of the top dealers of Southeastern Pennsylvania without having to drive all around the area to do so. The dealers will all be assembled together under one roof so comparison shopping becomes an easy task.

In addition to exhibits displaying all types of RVs, the show will also feature supplier booths, camping information and dealers specializing in parts and accessories.

The roster of participating dealers includes Stoltzfus RV & Marine (West Chester), RV Value Mart, Shady Maple RV, and Stoltzfus RV (Adamstown).

The line-up also includes Berks-Montgomery Camping Center, Hitch RV, Fretz Enterprises, Indian Valley Camping Center, Family Camping Outlet, Miller Trailer Sales, Showhauler, Tom Schaeffer’s RV Center, Campers Inn and Boat-n-RV Superstore.

Show hours are noon-8:30 p.m. on March 2, 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. on March 3 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on March 4. Tickets are $11 with children (under 12) admitted free.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast who is strictly a fisherman, you can check out the “Fly Fishing Show” which is being held March 3 and 4 at the Lancaster Convention Center Lancaster Convention Center (3 East Vine Street, Lancaster, 866-481-2393, www.flyfishingshow.com).

The list of special attractions at the 2018 show includes seminars and demonstrations presented by many of Pennsylvania’s finest fly-fishing celebrities along with a number of national celebrities. There also will be a huge vendors’ area with an array of fishing-related products on sale.

The International Federation of Fly Fishers will be offering free fly fishing instruction at the FFF Learning Center located at the FFF booth.  Basic fly casting, fly tying and knot tying will be taught throughout the day on both Saturday and Sunday.

The International Fly Fishing Film Festival will be held on March 3 starting at 6 p.m. Tickets for the film fest are $15.

There will also be booths featuring authors of books on fly fishing with a roster that includes Joe Humphreys, Bob Clouser, Gary Borger, George Daniel, Bob Popovics, Bob Romano, Jason Randall, Henry Ramsay, David Van Wie, Rabbit Jensen, Jerry Kustich, Sheila Jones, Ed Engle, and Tom Gilmore.

The show will be open from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Sunday. Adult tickets are $15 for one day or $25 for a two-day pass. Tickets for children (under 12) are $5.

On March 3, Wheatland (230 North President Avenue, Lancaster, 717- 392-4633, www.LancasterHistory.org) will present a special living history event called “Young Buck & Mary: A Love Affair.”

President James Buchanan was responsible for raising two wards — a niece, Harriet Lane, and a nephew, James Buchanan Henry (who was known as “Young Buck”).

Young Buck had a series of love affairs throughout his fascinating life, but none were more special than the relationship with his first love, Mary Nicholson Henry. Their time together, and happy marriage, was cut short by her untimely death in 1863.

Visitors to Wheatland during these presentations will see Young Buck as an older man in a first-person narrative as he reminisces about his true love with Mary, and discusses his life experiences as the nephew to the president.

The March Living History at Wheatland takes place on March 3, with programs on the hour at 1noon, 1, 2,and 3 p.m. Advanced reservations are strongly recommended, and guests are advised to arrive 15 minutes prior to their tour entry time for check-in.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and $8 for students (ages 11-17).

On March 3, the Fair Hill Nature Center (630 Tawes Drive, Elkton, Maryland, fairhillnature.org) is hosting a special event called “Maple Sugaring.”

Visitors will be able to learn how real maple syrup — not maple-flavored pancake syrup — is made. Demonstrations and maple sugaring tours are presented throughout the morning at the old-fashioned maple sugaring festival.

The tours show how authentic maple sugar is made — a process that involves tapping the trees and boiling down the sap. And, they will be boling real maple syrup from Fair Hill Maple trees

If you’ve ever wondered why real maple syrup is such an expensive item, look at the numbers. It takes about 40 gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of syrup and it takes about 30 years for a sugar maple tree to grow large enough to tap.

As an added attraction, visitors to the educational event also will be able to try out some real maple syrup on pancakes and as maple sugar candy.

Tickets are $10 or “Maple Sugaring,” which will run from 10 am.-noon.

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