What To Do: Kutztown Folk Festival highlights busy week

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

This is the weekend that one of the summer’s most popular annual Pennsylvania events gets underway.

The 70th Annual Kutztown Folk Festival (Kutztown Fairgrounds, off Route 222, Kutztown, 888-674-6136,www.kutztownfestival.com) opens on June 29 and runs through July 7.

Settlers from Germany played a major role in the early history of Pennsylvania and their influence is still being felt. These pioneers and their customs are honored each summer at a Pennsylvania German folk festival in Kutztown — an event that has been around for more than a half-century and is still growing.

The popular annual event, which is billed as a celebration of Pennsylvania Dutch culture, features traditional crafts, food, music and folk life.

The festival features country auctions, parades and bands, fiddling, live music and dancing, comedy, storytelling and historical seminars. Daily activities include displays of farming and gardening, churches and weddings, folk life, Pennsylvania Dutch dialect and folklore, furniture, spinning and weaving, country cooks and candle making.

The festival also offers non-stop entertainment with country auctions, parades and bands, fiddling, live music and dancing, comedy, storytelling and historical seminars. Additionally, over 200 juried folk artists and traditional American craftsmen will be participating with both sales and demonstrations.

For the first time, the Kutztown Folk Festival will host an authentic Harvest Home celebration at the Union Church. Visitors can step back in time and witness this fascinating Pennsylvania Dutch tradition of adorning the local church with harvest decorations, fruits, and vegetables in celebration of a successful harvest and safe storage of food before winter.

Exclusive to the 2019 festival, the National Museum of Industrial History will feature a 100-year-old, fully operating printing press. Festival attendees will be able learn the history of the printing press and create their own one-of-a-kind printed festival souvenir.

New for 2019, families will be able to explore a 30’x20’ garden-sized model train exhibit presented in conjunction with the Allentown and Auburn Railroad, along with train memorabilia and educational displays. Kids can also enjoy the Children’s Farmyard Theater, petting zoo, craft areas, pony rides, hay maze, horse-drawn carousel, and more.

There will also be a lot of attractions for children including puppet shows, make-and-take crafts sessions, real-life haystacks, story time sessions, a hay maze, sing-alongs and a variety of hands-on activities.

As always, there will be plenty of booths featuring Pennsylvania Dutch food treats and beverages, including family style feasts, shoo-fly pies, sausage sandwiches, pastries, country chicken dinners, strawberry shortcake, funnel cakes, ox roasts, sarsaparilla and chicken potpie.

The festival will open its gates each day at 10 a.m. and run until 8 p.m. Admission to the festival is $14 for adults, $13 for senior citizens and $5 for students (13-17) with children (12 and under) admitted free.

West Chester Railroad

The West Chester Railroad (Market Street Station, West Chester, 610-430-2233, www.westchesterrr.net) is running its special “Summer Picnic Special” trains every Sunday now through September 22.

The round-trip train ride travels to the village of Glen Mills and back and lasts for 90 minutes. During the brief layover in Glen Mills, riders can explore the historic Pennsylvania Railroad station and have a snack in the railroad’s picnic grove along the Chester Creek.

Riders can order a boxed lunch when they purchase their tickets online. Sandwich choices are ham and cheese hoagies, turkey and cheese hoagies, and PB&J. All lunches, which are made fresh, come with chips, fruit, drink and cookies.

Additionally, the lunches are packed in a special reusable lunch bag emblazoned with the WCRR logo. Tickets for the train rides are $15 for adults, $13 for children ages 2-12 and free for kids under two.

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) is a great place to enjoy nature’s summertime living flower show.

The biggest attraction at Longwood right now is the Festival of Fountains, which is running now through September 30.

With fountains that jet as high as 175 feet, gardens filled with colorful summer blooms, shade-friendly trees, exotic day and night blooming waterlilies, and live music outdoors, Longwood gardens has something for everyone.

The fountain project took two years and $90 million in renovations. The fountain features more than 1,300 jets and streams, a similar amount of LEDs, a variety of flame features and a wide array of plants from around the world.

Longwood’s popular Main Fountain Garden has returned for a second season after attracting more than 600,000 guests last year with its 1,719 jets twirling and dancing to music. At night, Illuminated Fountain Performances return featuring a selection of dynamic new shows and past favorites.

In addition to the Main Fountain Garden, Longwood is also home to a collection of other fountain gardens, including the enchanting Italian Water Garden and Open Air Theatre fountains, which also perform daily.

The ultra-popular Festival of Fountains features the gardens in their summer splendor. Flowering annuals and perennials abound, as well as the breathtaking Waterlily Display that showcases aquatic plants from all over the world.

The main special event this week will be “Fireworks and Fountains” on July 3. Another popular activity this weekend will be a concert by Roseanne Cash on June 30.

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

Wags & Wine

A special event called “Wags & Wine” will be held on June 29 at the Brandywine River Museum (Route 1, Chadds Ford 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org).

The party, which will run from 2-6 p.m., is geared for dogs and their owners.

Guests are invited to come to the museum’s courtyard with their canine friends to enjoy local wines from 1723 Vineyards, Galer Estate Winery and White Horse Winery.

Also featured will be a selection of foods created by Chef Mike Kline of the Millstone Cafe, as well as games and live music by the Jayplayers.

The event’s menu will feature Deviled Eggs; Cornbread; Mexican Street Corn, Lime, Cotija,; Broccoli Salad, Cranberry, Carrot ; Watermelon & Tomato Salad, Feta, Orzo; Grilled Bratwurst,  Peppers, Onions; Eggplant Roulade, Ricotta, Marinara; Cali BLT Sliders, Lime Mayo, Avocado; Peach BBQ Chicken; and Strawberry Shortcake.

Event is free to attend. Food and wine will be available for purchase. Museum admission is an additional cost.

Highland Orchards Farm and Market

On June 29, Highland Orchards Farm and Market (1000 Marshallton Thorndale Road, West Chester, http://www.highlandorchards.net) will host “BBQ & Bluegrass.”

Visitors will be able to eat, drink and jam to bluegrass and then enjoy some berry picking. Food trucks, wine and beer vendors, crafters, All 4 Paws Pet adoptions will be on-site to share in the fun.

Guests can pick their own blueberries or pick up some fresh produce in the market. Apple cider donuts and fruit pies are available in Highland Orchards’ bakery.

Live music will be provided by Blue Octane and Blades of Grass. The food truck roster features Big Boize BBQ, 22BBQ, Delicious Craving, Munchy Machine, Baked Cookies and Dough, Hardy Funnel Cakes
Beverages
will be provided by Harvest Ridge Winery, Rebel Seed Cider, Dressler Estate, and more. Levante Brewing at Highland Orchards Beer Garden will be serving beer all day!

Celebrate Lancaster

“Celebrate Lancaster” (717-291-4758, http://www.visitlancastercity.com), which will be held on June 28 in downtown Lancaster, is designed to display the culture and diversity of Lancaster and the people who live and work here.

Attendance has grown to close to 15,000 in recent years for the festival — an event that offers local food, local wine and beer, entertainment, fireworks, and a festive atmosphere in downtown Lancaster.

From 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., more than 20 food vendors will be selling their tasty treats along North Queen Street and in Lancaster Square.

Later in the day, there will be live music on two stages at Penn Square and Binns Park from 5-10 p.m. Additionally, the festival will have two pub areas featuring beer and wine.

The event will come to a festive conclusion with a gala firework display at 10 p.m. from the top of the Duke Street Parking Garage.

The Morris Arboretum (100 East Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-247-5777, morrisarboretum.org) is celebrating Circus Week at the Garden Railway from June 29-July 7 this year.

Visitors to the Arboretum’s special event can see the circus trains chugging around the quarter-mile track with their cargo – a cargo of circus animals such as elephants, pandas and tigers.

They will be able to hear the call of the ringmaster while watching the miniature trains the brightly colored trains transport the “Big Top” that includes a chicken railroad car playing the ever-popular “Chicken Dance” song.

Children of all ages will delight in the circus trains and this year’s Railway theme, “Time in the Garden,” that features a “Hickory, Dickory, Dock” clock, a rabbit with the book, “Alice in Wonderland,” an hourglass sculpture and a sundial.

Admission to the Garden Railway is free with arboretum admission, which is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $10 for youth (3-17 years). Children under 3 are admitted free.

The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival’s run has been extended.

Now through July 14, 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.

On June 29, the Reading Terminal Market (Reading Terminal Market, 51 North 12th Street, Philadelphia, www.readingterminalmarket.org) will host the Philly Ice Cream Scoop.

The event will bring together local independent ice cream artisans with Reading Terminal Market merchants to celebrate Philly’s rich ice cream heritage.

Some of the featured ice cream artisans will be Bassetts Ice Cream, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Franklin’s Fountain, Lil’ Pop Shop, Zsa’s Ice Cream, Miller’s Twist and Sweet Charlie’s.

Some of the featured ice cream treats will be ice cream Whoopie Pies, ice cream floats, chocolate Funnel Cake topped with ice cream, waffles and ice cream and chocolate-dipped ice cream sandwiches.

Other activities include ice cream demonstrations, ice cream eating contests, ice cream shuffleboard, arts and crafts booths, and a free photo booth.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will run from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The 2019 Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Festival at Rockwood Park (4651 Washington Street Extension, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-690-5555, www.rockwoodicecream.com) is one of northern Delaware’s oldest — and most popular — summertime outdoor events.

The festival will be held at historic Rockwood Park on June 29 from noon-9 p.m.

This weekend’s event will feature cool taste treats produced by Caffe Gelato, Dino’s Water Ice, Ice Cream Shoppe, Kilby Cream, Kona Ice, UDairy Creamery, and Woodside Farms Creamery.

Festival food will include hamburgers, ribs, cheesesteaks, vegetarian dishes, water ice, ethnic food items, beer and wine.

The Children’s Zone will feature robotics demonstrations, live animals, trapeze artists, a stilt walker, face painting, activities and games.

Main Street Rockwood will feature more than 50 artisans, nonprofits, retailers and businesses. Limited parts of the mansion will be open for free tours. Friendly dogs on leashes are welcome at the festival and on the shuttle buses.

The roster of live entertainers includes Wilmington Concert Opera, Hall & Spadola, Evan Fox Band, Blues Reincarnation Project, Chaplin the Kid, Susquehanna Floods, and Spokey Speaky.

Tickets for the festival are $5 for adults with children (under 12) admitted free with the purchase of an adult ticket. Free parking and shuttle from the Rockwood Office Park at 501 Carr Road.

Hagley Museum and Library (Buck Road East entrance via Route 100, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-658-2400, www.hagley.org) is presenting a special “Cannon Firing Demonstration” on June 30 at 1, 2, and 3 p.m. in the Machine Shop area.

The family-oriented event is fun, loud, exciting and educational.

Cannon firings in the Hagley Powder Yards demonstrate how black powder was made and used.

The demonstrations, which take place next to the Millwright Shop, are included with site admission tickets — Adults: $15; Seniors (age 62 and up): $11; Students $11; Children 6-14: $6.

As an added attraction, an in-depth, hands-on tour focused on gunpowder production, which ends with an explosive finish, is available on Hagley’s Sights, Sounds and Smells Walking Tour.

There will be six other dates for cannon firings at Hagley this year — July 4 and 29, August 25, September 29, October 27, and November 11.

Hagley’s Nineteenth-Century Faire

Another special event this weekend will be Hagley’s Nineteenth-Century Faire, which is scheduled for June 29 from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Visitors will be able to step back in time to enjoy a festive fair with carnival games, period dancing, fresh lemonade, hand-cranked ice cream and more.

The Schuylkill Canal Association’s Canal Day has evolved into one of the area’s traditional early summer events — an event that is always staged on the last Sunday in June.

Mont Clare, which is located just across the Schuylkill River from Phoenixville, will be hosting its 37th Annual Canal Day on June 30.

Canal Day will run from 9-5 p.m. at Lock 60 and in St. Michael’s Park (Mont Clare, 610-917-0021, http://www.schuylkillcanal.org).

The one-day festival, which is free but has a $5 parking fee, will also feature the 30th Annual Schuylkill River Trail Run and the 19th Annual Canal Joust.

All the traditional events will be happening again this year.

In addition to the trail run and the joust, the festival will have a “Canoe & Kayak Races,” food vendors, kids’ games and crafts, “Canal Stories and Songs,” bingo, a kids’ fishing derby, and historic re-enactors.

There will be live music from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

There will also be lock openings throughout the day. Visitors can listen to the Locktender’s presentation, learn about life on the canal and watch the opening of the only working lock on the Schuylkill River.

On June 29, the Philadelphia Taco Festival will be held at the Xfinity Live (Pattison Avenue,  Philadelphia, https://www.tacofests.com/philadelphia-taco-festival/?ref=festivals).

The third annual staging of the event will feature tasty tacos from more than 25 restaurants along with tequila tastings. There will also be a beach-themed margarita bar where bartenders will be serving both frozen and classic margaritas.

General admission includes entry to the event and access to live music (including authentic Mariachi bands), more than 25 taco vendors, a tequila sampling tent, the margarita bar and a chili pepper eating contest.

Tickets for the adult-only event are $14.95. All tacos and beverages are pay-as-you-go.

Independence Day is just around the corner but, unfortunately, there is no Independence Day Weekend this year because July 4 falls on a Thursday.

This means there will be some adjustments for the time period when June slides into July. There will still be a wide variety of holiday activities – they just won’t be weekend activities.

Area residents know that the arrival of the Independence Day signals the arrival of Downingtown Good Neighbor Day (Kerr Park, Downingtown, 610-285-1119,www.goodneighborday.com)

The 41st Annual Downingtown Good Neighbor Day will be held on July 4 at Kerr Park in Downingtown from 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Activities will get underway with a “Prayer and Flag Ceremony” at 7:40 a.m. and then it will be time for the races.

The 41st Annual Run for Life (5K, 10K & 15K) and the 24th Annual 5K Freedom Walk are scheduled for 8 a.m. while the 24th Annual Kids-K Fun Run starts at 10 a.m.

The large array of crafts, food and vendors’ booths will open at 8 a.m. Carnival rides, amusement games and festival food will be available from 10 a.m. until closing.

Other activities scheduled for the pre-noon hours are the Annual Bicycle Decorating Contest at 10:30 a.m., the Big Wheel Race and the Canoe Race at 10 a.m. Then, at 12:30 p.m., it will be time for the 30th Annual Duck Race and music by Walt Kinsey & Friends Band.

A number of other music acts are scheduled throughout the day, including the Pennsylvania Surfers from 2-3 p.m., the Moondawgs from 3:30-4:30 p.m., Jeff Dominick from 5-6 p.m. and School of Rock! from 7-8:30 p.m.

The day’s festivities will conclude with a Tom Edwards Productions Entertainment Show from 8:30-9:30 p.m. and a fireworks grand finale at dusk.

Additionally. The “Red, White and Food Drive” will take place from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. with donations of non-perishable food items requested.

Every year, Independence Day is celebrated in style in the southern part of Chester County when Nottingham County Park (150 Park Road, Nottingham, 610-932-2589,www.chesco.org/ccparks) presents its annual Freedom Fest.

The 28th Annual Freedom Fest will be held on June 29 from 6-11 p.m. at Nottingham County Park, which is located six miles south of Oxford, off U.S. Route 1 just above the Maryland State Line.

A number of activities are slated to get underway at 6 p.m. Freedom Fest will feature live music by Angelee and Half Past Seven.

The gala aerial firework display — a spectacular 30-minute show — is scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m.

Visitors will be treated to a show that also features ground displays set to patriotic tunes and a grand finale incorporating the traditional raising of the American Flag.

Food vendors at the event will be Haute Wheels, Wandering Chef, Foltz Pretzels, On the Roll, M&M BBQ, Saloon 151, Albie’s Fresh Burgers & Crab Cakes, Nooners Wood Fired Pizza, Baked Cookies and Dough, Mom Pops, and Rita’s Water Ice.

Visitors may also bring a picnic of their own menu items and are advised that — because of security concerns — all coolers, bags and similar items are subject to being searched.

Because it is a county park, no alcoholic beverages or pets will be permitted.

Field seating is available for both the concert and fireworks. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early and to bring blankets and lawn chairs. There will be a $10-per-vehicle parking fee at Nottingham County Park and Herr’s Corporate Center.

In the event that weather prohibits the setup or safe shooting of the fireworks show, Freedom Fest will be postponed to June 30. Parking vouchers will be distributed at the parking locations.

Wawa Welcome America

Wawa Welcome America (www.welcomeamerica.com), which runs June 29 through July 4, is a festival of free events in Philadelphia in celebration of our nation’s birthday — a huge party that hits its peak with an abundance of festivities on Independence Day Weekend.

Activities on June 29 include “Free Museum Day” (which continues all week) and U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Concert & Waterfront Fireworks.

The schedule for June 30 includes Philadelphia’s Historic District Block Party, “Gospel on Independence,”  Circus Midway at FringeArts, and Fort Mifflin Freedom Blast!.

Highlights on July 1 are U.S. Army Field Band Concert & Waterfront Fireworks, PECO Go 4th & Learn at Penn Park, and Photo POP Philly: Sweet Paradise at The Bourse.

Activities on July 2 include Wawa Hoagie Day, “Live Nation Kid Nation,” and Kimmel Center’s Great American Party on the Plaza. July 3’s highlights are Photo POP Philly: Sweet Paradise at The Bourse, “HERstory: Uplifting Every Voice,” Girls Like Nicet Girls Like Nicethings Pop-UP Art Exhibithings Pop-UP Art Exhibit, and “POPS on Independence.”

Featured events on July 4 are Celebration of Freedom Ceremony, Salute to America Independence Day Parade presented by the Philadelphia International Airport, Party on the Parkway and the grand finale — Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert & Fireworks.

Festive fireworks displays will be presented by several of the area’s professional baseball teams.

The Reading Fightin’ Phillies (First Energy Stadium, 1900 Centre Avenue, Reading, http://www.milb.com) will play the Portland Sea Dogs on June 28 and 29 at 6:45 p.m. each night. Both games will be followed by “Stars & Stripes Mega Blast,” which is billed as the largest fireworks show in the stadium’s history.

The Lancaster Barnstormers (Clipper Magazine Stadium, 650 North Prince Street, Lancaster, 717-509-3633, http://www.lancasterbarnstormers.com) will play the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at 7 p.m. on June 29 and then have a gala fireworks show following the completion of the game.

On July 3 at 7:05, the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Frawley Stadium, 801 Shipyard Drive, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-888-2015, http://www.milb.com) will play the Potomac Nationals and then present a fireworks extravaganza after the game.

The Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Coca-Cola Park, 1050 Ironpigs Way, Allentown, https://www.milb.com/lehigh-valley) will have a game on July 3 with the Buffalo Bisons followed by the Great American Blast fireworks show.

Another interesting way to check out a fireworks display is being offered by the Wilmington and Western Railroad (Greenbank Station, 2201 Newport-Gap Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-998-1930, www.wwrr.com).

On July 4, the Wilmington & Western Railroad will run a special “Fireworks Express.” Passengers will board at Greenbank Station and the train will depart at 7 p.m. for Hockessin, which is presenting a festive Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza. The excursion takes about four hours. Tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $18 for children (ages 2-12). Children under 2 can ride for free.

On July 4,  it’s time for the Red, White & Blue BBQ Bash at Peddler’s Village (Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, 215-794-4000, www.peddlersvillage.com).

From noon-5 pm., Peddler’s Village will be serving up All-American grilled favorites and featuring live music, family entertainment, and kids’ activities.

Visitors can pig out on traditional house-made pulled pork BBQ sandwich with black cherry bourbon BBQ sauce, glazed BBQ ribs, bratwurst with onions or kraut, hot dogs, hamburgers and cheeseburgers, grilled corn on the cob and French Fries.

There will be live music performed by the Galena Brass Band as well as a variety of old-fashioned games for the family.

Other activities will be “Watermelon Eating Contest,” “Water Balloon Toss,” “Fun Station,” hula hoops, bubble-making area, corn hole, yard darts and more. Additionally, the Shops at Peddler’s Village will be open from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

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