What To Do: A Willowdale weekend

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Without question, the Brandywine Valley is known for being horse country. It has established its reputation as an area known for staging top-flight equestrian events.

The 2019 equestrian season had its unofficial start last weekend with a big annual point-to-point event in Delaware – even if the horse racing events got shelved because of the weather and the muddy course.

This weekend, the spotlight will be on the Annual Willowdale Steeplechase (Steeplechase grounds, routes 82 and 926, Unionville, 610-444-1582,http://willowdalesteeplechase.org).

This year’s 27th annual staging of the event will be held on May 12 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

The Willowdale Shops, Restaurant Booths, Kid’s Alley Tent and the “Antique Car Display” are all scheduled to run all day starting at 10 a.m. The “Silver Tailgate Competition” will start at 11:30 a.m.

The initial competition will be the “Jack Russell Races” at 10:30 a.m. followed by the pony races at 11:30 a.m. The first of seven steeplechase races will begin at 1:30 p.m. and the racing is scheduled to end between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Gates will close at 6 p.m.

The Willowdale Steeplechase is a first-class steeplechase course that features an uphill approach to the fences. This encourages less speed and more jumping and, as a result, causes less wear and tear on the horses.

This year’s Willowdale Steeplechase has several beneficiaries — Quest Therapeutic Riding Services, Inc., The Stroud Water Research Center and The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine at New Bolton Center. Tickets are $40 at the gate.

On May 11, the Brandywine Battlefield Park (1491 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, http://brandywinebattlefield.org/) will offer visitors a living history experience.

From 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the historic site will present “Encampment Day 2019” – an event that focuses on the daily life and experience of a soldier in Washington’s Army.

Visitors to the park can experience life in an 18th-century military encampment and interact with soldiers from the American Revolution. They will also be able to observe different historical demonstrations and learn about different aspects and logistics of an 18th-century army.
Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $8 for children (ages 5-12). Active Military and immediate family will be admitted free.

On May 12, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (Route 52, Wilmington, Delaware, 800-448-3883, www.winterthur.org) will be presenting “Azaleas, Bluebells and Follies Day.”

Visitors to the site will be able to enjoy the spectacle of thousands of azalea blossoms and acres of wildflowers.

The day’s events will include the opportunity to take photos with Mom in Azalea Woods, shop at the “Azalea Sale” at the Museum Store and participate in guided and self-guided tours through the azalea display.

People visiting Winterthur on Saturday will also be able to enjoy the site’s first-ever outdoor exhibition — “Follies: Architectural Whimsy in the Garden.”

Visitors will have the opportunity to take a stroll through the vibrant colors of the garden and marvel at the architectural wonders of garden follies.

Winterthur’s featured exhibition is “Costuming THE CROWN,” featuring 40 iconic costumes from the Emmy® award-winning Netflix series, a dramatized history of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. This original Winterthur exhibition is on view in the Galleries now through January 5, 2020.

Admission to Winterthur is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and students and $6 for children.

The Brandywine River Museum (Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org) hosts a number of special events each year. One of the most popular is the annual “Mother’s Day Brunch.”

The well-attended annual event will be held on May 12 at the Museum’s grounds along the banks of the Brandywine Creek in Chadds Ford.

Guests can treat their moms to a delicious buffet brunch with a view, then enjoy the museum’s outstanding collection of Wyeth and American art.

The event features an elegant brunch buffet with locally sourced American cuisine and a festive Mimosa and Bloody Mary bar.

The brunch will run from 9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. in the Millstone Café. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for children (ages 12 and under).

The Morris Arboretum (100 East Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-247-5777, http://www.business-services.upenn.edu/arboretum/index.shtml) is holding its annual Plant Sale on May 11 from 10 a.m-3 p.m.

As usual, the Morris Arboretum Plant Sale will have a fabulous selection to satisfy all your planting needs. Unusual annuals, new perennial cultivars, fabulous woody plants and heirloom roses will make this Plant Sale one you won’t want to miss.

Arboretum staff offer expertise you won’t find anywhere else. Professional horticulturists will be on hand throughout the sale to answer your questions and make recommendations for your home garden. Look for the folks in the red aprons.

Plant offerings include annuals, perennials, woodies, roses, clematis, dividend plants and rhododendrons.

Morris Arboretum’s “Plant Sale Public Sale” is open to all members of the public.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum (2451 Kissel Hill Road, Lancaster, 717.569.0401, www.landisvalleymuseum.org) is holding its annual Herb & Garden Faire on May 10.

Landis Valley is transformed into a gardener’s paradise at this annual sale.

With more than 80 vendors of heirlooms, natives, and other hard-to-find varieties as well as herbal skin care products, garden art, and jewelry spread out over the historic village area of the site, it’s a delightful shopping experience that’s quickly becoming a Mother’s Day weekend tradition. 

Visitors can also grab a bite from the Faire’s food vendors, listen to beautiful music, or tour gardens run by the museum’s Heirloom Seed Project.  

The Herb & Garden Faire will run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. No pets are allowed.

Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for youth (ages 6-11) and free for ages 5 and under. Tickets will be available at the door.

The Yellow Springs Art Show got its start back in 1973 as a free event featuring a variety of artists displaying their work on clotheslines.

It has changed immeasurably since then and has become one of the largest and most prestigious annual art shows in the Delaware Valley.

The Yellow Springs Art Show, which is still free and open to the public, is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. The popular annual event now features more than 185 participating artists — including more than 20 artists who are new to the show this year.

The show is running April 27 through May 12 in Historic Yellow Springs Lincoln Building (Art School Road, Chester Springs, 610-827-7414 orwww.yellowsprings.org). Show hours are from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.

The 2019 Yellow Springs Art Show will have on display more than 3,000 pieces of fine art in a wide range of media and styles – oils, watercolors, bronze sculptures, pastels, landscapes, still life, three-dimensional works, seascapes and abstract.

All proceeds benefit arts education, environmental protection and historic preservation of the 300-year-old village of Historic Yellow Springs.

Wilmington Flower Market

Usually, the Wilmington Flower Market, which is held in early May every year, is an event that almost always seems to bring wet weather. So, it comes as no surprise that rain showers have already hit on May 9, the event’s opening day.

This year, the 99th Annual Wilmington Flower Market returns to Rockford Park (Park Drive, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-995-5699,www.wilmingtonflowermarket.org) for a three-day run from May 9-11.

The Flower Market, which always runs in conjunction with Mother’s Day, benefits over 50 children’s charities in Delaware.

The 2019 Wilmington Flower Market, which is free and open to the public, will be held Friday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. each day.

As is the tradition, the event features crafts, booths, rides, food, fun, live entertainment and plenty of flowers.

The music line-up also features I See Magic, Megan Knight, Nick Howard, Michael Franti, Nothing but a Nightmare, Cherry Crush, OBB and Andy Grammer.

The 2019 Phoenixville Beer & Wine Festival will be held May 11 at Kimberton Fairgrounds (762 Pike Springs Road, Phoenixville, phoenixvillebeerwinefestival.com).

The event, which is scheduled to run from noon-4 p.m., features unlimited sampling of more than 150 beers, wines, ciders, mead and spirits along with a full slate of live music. All paid attendees will receive a souvenir tasting glass.

Some of the participating breweries are Yards Brewing Company, Sweetwater Brewery, Pennsyltucky Brewing Company, Pottstown United Brewing and Bog Turtle Brewery.

Tickets are $45 with $10 admission for designated drivers.

On May 11, Brandywine Ace Pet & Farm (1150 Pocopson Road, West Chester, 610-793-3080, http://www.acehardware.com/local/brandywineace) is presenting a special event – “Paint and Plant.”

Participants will learn how to make unique planters and other items with pots to give to their mothers and other special women in their lives. All the tools and materials will be available at the farm and pet center along the Brandywine Creek.

The event, which will run from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., is free and open to the public.

Another special activity on Saturday will be the Pet Nail Trims from 9-11 a.m.

Dog and cat owners are invited to bring their pets in for their nail trims. Nail trims are only $15.99 and no appointment is necessary.

The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen offers a number of craft fairs throughout the state each year. One of the most popular fairs is scheduled for this weekend. Now through May 12, the Guild will present the Fine Craft Fair (Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, 717-431-8706, www.pacrafts.org).

Through a partnership with the Friends of Rittenhouse Square and in conjunction with the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen will bring its signature premier Fine Craft Fair to the scenic park in Center City Philadelphia.

Founded in 1944 at the recommendation of Eleanor Roosevelt, the Pennsylvania Guild is one of the nation’s largest and most recognized craft guilds, specializing in the advocacy and support of more than 1,400 members whose handwork is known for its unparalleled skill and artistry. 

Fine craft is often defined as the hand and mind transformation of raw materials into inspired works of art. The finished products may be either traditional or contemporary in style and design. This weekend’s event will feature more than 145 of the Guild’s finest craft artists.

The Fine Craft Fair, which is free and open to the public, will focus on hand-crafted jewelry, contemporary furniture, functional and decorative pottery, designer clothing, fine porcelain, blown glass, limited edition photography, sculpture, paintings, watercolors, oils, graphite and pastels.

There will be 150 white tent canopies lining the sidewalks of Rittenhouse Square’s park when the Guild returns to Philadelphia with its sixth juried Fine Craft Market. This year will also include an “Emerging Artist” section and a hands-on activity free for all ages, sponsored by the Guild workshop program.

Fair hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free. Street and garage parking are readily available.

The Germantown Second Saturday Festival (http://www.freedomsbackyard.com) will be held on May 11 from noon-4 p.m. at Historic Market Square Park (Germantown Avenue and School House Lane, Germantown)

Historic Germantown and Germantown United CDC is beginning its 2018 Second Saturday series featuring all 16 Historic Germantown sites, which will be open monthly (May thru October).

The event highlights the many thriving cultural, civic and business activities that make Germantown an exciting place to visit.

Special attractions at Saturday’s event will be a live music; an arts and crafts marketplace; historic re-enactors, family-friendly programs and free bus and walking tours of Historic Germantown sites.

Season Opener will feature special activities at member sites including “Pay-What-You-Wish Admission” at all 18 sites, special items on display from the Historic Germantown Archives, extended hours at Awbury Arboretum AdventureWoods Playground and “Juneteenth Themed Activities” at Johnson House.

Chinese Lantern Festival

Now through June 30, Franklin Square (http://historicphiladelphia.org/chineselanternfestival/) will come alive every night with its Chinese Lantern Festival featuring more than two dozen illuminated lanterns – all constructed by lantern artisans from China.

Chinese-inspired performances will take place in Franklin Square twice nightly. Performances, which celebrate Chinese performance art and entertainment, are 30-minutes long and are scheduled for 7 and 9 p.m.

Festival hours are 6-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Admission is $18 for adults, $12 for youth, and $15 for seniors and military.

The “Opening Weekend Celebration” at Spruce Street Harbor Park (301 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, 215-922-2386, www.delawareriverwaterfront.com)is scheduled for now through May 12 and is free.

Named one of the best places to visit in Philadelphia by national press, Spruce Street Harbor Park features colorful hammocks, floating gardens, beautiful lights, refreshing craft beer, and food from popular Philly restaurants, making it a summer gathering space for locals and visitors alike.

More than 50 colorful handmade hammocks are strung throughout the park to create a relaxing place to spend summer days and nights. Located in the Marina at Penn’s Landing, the Oasis consists of three landscaped barges, a net lounge, and floating gardens.

There will be a tightrope and aerial show, live music, a magic show and craft booths by local arts companies.

Another popular event in this area of the waterfront will get underway this weekend – “Seafarin’ Saturday” at the Independence Seaport Museum (211 S. Columbus Blvd. Philadelphia, 215-413-8655, www.phillyseaport.org).

The attraction features nautical activities and adventures of distant shores for the whole family. Children will have a variety of options – from making pirate battle rattles to sailor valentines and a lot more.

“Seafarin’ Saturdays” will be held every Saturday inside the Museum from 1:30-3:30 p.m. All activities are free with admission.

The Seafarin’ Saturday this weekend has “Morse Code” as its theme. Participants can find out why Morse code was important for ships and learn how to write their own names in Morse Code.

Admission to the museum is $18, Adults; $14, Seniors (65 & over), $14 Children (3–12), College Students or Military (active & retired); and free, Children (two and under).

The 16th annual Spring Art Star Craft Bazaar will be held on May 11 and 12 at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing (101 South Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia,www.artstarcraftbazaar.com).

More than 140 vendors will be selling their wares at the free two-day pop-up event along the Delaware River.

Shoppers can expect affordable and quality handmade goods such as pottery, jewelry, home goods, bath and body products, stationery, clothing, lighting, furniture, baby goods, pet accessories, bags, prints, and fine art.

The show, which runs from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. each day, will also feature live music by local bands who will be playing throughout the day on the River Stage at the Great Plaza.

One of the more energetic traditional springtime events in Pennsylvania Dutch country is the Rough and Tumble Engineers Historical Association’s annual “Spring Stream Up” (Rough and Tumble, 4977 Lincoln Highway East, Kinzers, 717-442-4249, www.roughandtumble.org).

“Spring Steam-Up” is scheduled for May 10 and 11 from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. One of the highlights will be sessions of “Plowing with Steam and Gas Tractors.” This activity will be held only if weather is favorable to plow.

There will be a variety of displays featuring steam engines, gas engines, steam tractors, gas tractors and antique cars. Also featured will be a model shop, a sawmill, two steam trains and blacksmithing demonstrations at the museum’s blacksmith shop.

“Tractor Games” are scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m. The “Garden Tractor Pull” and the “Children’s Pedal Tractor Pull” will be held on Saturday at 1 p.m.

“Spring Steam-Up” is looked at as special event each year at Rough and Tumble — a time to get the steam engines out of hibernation and fire them up. It is also a time for the plowing to begin.

Tickets for “Spring Stream Up” are $5 for adults and $2 for children (ages 6-12).

The Ironmaster’s wife at the Joanna Furnace Iron Works (Furnace Road, Morgantown, http://www.haycreek.org/) will host the site’s 12th annual Victorian Tea on May 11 at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

The Victorian Tea service is a formal event that includes light fare and tea served on fine china and tables covered with pressed linens. Volunteers will dress in period clothing to greet and serve guests.

To follow the tradition of the Ironmaster’s family, the event is a “low tea” service. That means the tea service will include the same light fare the ironmaster’s wife would have served to her most important guests.

The term “low tea” means guests were seated at a low table, typically in the drawing room or sitting room of an estate. Volunteers will use traditional recipes to make the light fare which they will serve to guests – and teach guests about proper tea etiquette that was expected during low tea.

This low tea offers the following homemade foods — finger sandwiches, scones, tea cakes and fresh fruit while being served punch and teas.

In addition, guests will enjoy a special program by Mrs. Ruth Williams, a historic arts advocate, who renders portraits in miniature of people from the 1800’s

Guests are encouraged to wear their “Sunday Best.”  Victorian dress, gloves, and hats are optional. Admission for the Victorian Tea is $22.

It’s Mother’s Day on May 12 and a number of the area’s tourist rail lines are celebrating the holiday with special excursion trains.

The West Chester Railroad (610-430-2233, www.westchesterrr.net) is running its Mother’s Day Express on May 12 at noon and 2 p.m.

Families can take mom on a 90-minute round trip train ride from West Chester to Glen Mills and return on her special day. During the brief layover in Glen Mills, riders will be able to explore the historic Glen Mills train station as well as the rail line’s picnic grove along the Chester Creek. All Moms ride for a special reduced fare!

You can also purchase lunch for you and mom to enjoy on your trip. Each lunch includes your choice of ham and cheese or a turkey and cheese hoagie, your choice of beverage, chips, applesauce cup, and cookies. All of this comes packed in a reusable insulated lunch bag with the West Chester Railroad logo. Buy your lunch and mom can get one for half price.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $13 for children (ages 2-12) and $5 for moms.

The New Hope and Ivyland Railroad (32 West Bridge Street, New Hope, 215-862-2332, www.newhoperailroad.com) is running its Mother’s Day Weekend Breakfast Train on May 11 and 12. The train ride departs from and returns to the New Hope Train Station.

Guests will dine in the railroads early 1900’s first class parlor car and be served a buffet style gourmet brunch including assorted fresh breads, fruits, French toast, an assortment of breakfast meats, scrambled eggs and potatoes, and fresh fruit. Coffee, tea and water is also included. Guests will be able to purchase alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from our onboard full-service bar.

All Mothers receive a complimentary flower and mimosa.

Mother’s Day Breakfast fares are: Adult (Age 12+): $78.99; Child (Age 3-11): $71.99; and Infant (Age 0-2): $9.99.

The African American Museum in Philadelphia (701 Arch Street Philadelphia, 215-574-0380, www.aampmuseum.org) is hosting a special event for youngsters on May 12.

“May Macy’s Family Fun Day!” which features interactive workshops for ages 5 and up, will run from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

In honor of Mother’s Day Weekend, Macy’s Family Fun Day features the theme “Nurture and Grow!”

Perfect for ages 5 and up, Macy’s Family Fun Day program will incorporate an exciting array of interactive art activities. The line-up of activities will include: “Tissue Paper Flowers,” “Nature-Themed Jewelry,” and “Flower Crowns.”

Thanks to the generosity of Macy’s the first 250 people will receive FREE entry to the museum for this event!

General Admission to the museum is $14 for adults and $10 for youth, students and senior citizens.

The Seventh Annual Philadelphia Fleadh will be held on May 11 at Pennsylvania Army National Guard Armory & Readiness Center (2700 Southampton Road, Philadelphia, www.PhillyFleadh.com).

Voted one of five most authentic Irish destinations in America by Good Morning America, The Philadelphia Fleadh is a Celtic music and dance festival with 13 bands, traditional music sessions, Celtic Flame’s Feis at the Fleadh, dance performances, and a ceili.

The event, which will run from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., will feature food, spirits and merchant vendors along with a kids zone with bounce houses, face painting and balloon animals and much more.

Admission is $20.

The annual Spring Fair at Fitler Square Park (23rd and Pine Streets, Philadelphia, www.fitlersquare.org) is scheduled for May 10 and 11`.

The event, which will run from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, is held in the area surrounding the fountain in Fitler Square Park and features a raffle of goods and services from local restaurants and shops.

Throughout the park are treasures for everyone — flowering plants and herbs for your garden, gently used books and children’s clothing, delicious baked goods, foods and drink, Fitler Square T-shirts and stationery, and inexpensive white elephant items. Around the perimeter of the square, over 30 vendors create a vibrant craft and flea market.

The schedule for live entertainment features Kamara, STAR Band, and the Philadelphia School Singers on Friday and City Lights, Philadelphia Dance Academy and DJ Coleman on Saturday.

Admission is free, and the Fair is held rain or shine.

Dogwood Festival

Phoenixville’s annual Dogwood Festival gets underway on May 13 and will run through May 18.

The 76th annual staging of the springtime fair will take place at the historic Reeves Park Bandshell (Main Street between third and Fourth avenues, Phoenixville, 484-928-0052, www.phoenixvillejaycees.org) with live entertainment each night.

On May 14, the music will be served up by Sparkle & Rust and Gene Galligan while May 15’s show will have The Flower Power Band. Acts slated for May 16 are the Audubon Symphony Orchestra and Ray Owen.

The Hytha Family Band and Flower Power Band will perform on May 17. The schedule for May 18 features the Rougarou Band while May 19’s slate includes String Band and John Valerio.

The main day for activities at the free festival will be May 18 with a parade and other festivities running from noon-3 p.m. and live entertainment starting at 4 p.m. The parade, which is one of the festival’s showcase events, is slated to get underway at 11 a.m.

A popular annual local event is scheduled for later in the week.

On May 16, the focus will be on automobiles during “Cruise Night” at Herr’s Snack Foods, (20 Herr Drive, Routes 272 and 1, Nottingham, 610-932-9330,www.herrs.com).

This year, Herr’s Snack Foods is hosting its 20th Annual Cruise Night. Visitors to the event will find that “cruising” is welcomed rather than frowned upon in so many of the area’s municipalities.

The popular annual event, which features free admission and free parking, will get underway at 5 p.m. and continue until dusk.

More than 300 classic cars and hot rods will be on display. Car owners are encouraged to register in the people’s choice contest for first, second and third place “Best of Show” trophies. Spectators will be able to vote for their favorite classic car between 5-7 p.m.

The free event will also feature factory tours, food booths with festival fare, children’s games, music by a disc jockey and a variety of door prizes.

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