What To Do: First Fridays filled with fun in the area

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Amazingly, it’s already July. And, the start of the month means that it’s time for First Friday events.

When the first Friday of the month comes around, it’s a good time to spend the evening in West Chester or Lancaster.

On July 5, West Chester will host its version of First Friday (downtown West Chester, http://www.downtownwestchester.com). First Friday activities will take place all day in the county seat and include great shopping opportunities and delicious food offerings. Stores are open late and many of them feature free refreshments and shopping specials.

As an added attraction, there will be free on-street parking after 5 p.m. The remaining First Fridays in West Chester are scheduled for August 2, September 6, and October 4.

Later in the week, Swingin’ Summer Thursday will be held in Downtown West Chester on July 11 from 6:30-9 p.m.

The event will feature food, music, clowns, artists, magicians, jugglers, and lots of family fun.

Live music will be provided by November Lounge and Plastic Shrines.

First Friday in Phoenixville

Phoenixville also ramps it up for the initial Friday each month. On July , Phoenixville First Friday (www.phxfirstfriday.com) will fill the area around Bridge and Main streets with hundreds of revelers.

Visitors to the event will be able to sample some of the region’s best craft brews, grab some local eats, shop at local boutiques, and listen to live music on the street. The featured Main Stage band will be Elle and the John Doe Band.

First Friday in Lancaster

Lancaster also hosts an ambitious First Friday celebration every month. This month’s edition of First Friday Lancaster (https://www.facebook.com/FirstFridayLancasterPa) will run from 5-9 p.m. on July 5 in downtown Lancaster.

Art Galleries stay open longer on Gallery Row on Prince St. Some restaurants offer special menus and there a few that become outdoor cafes just for the occasion. Musicians are found all throughout the city.

The event will feature interesting exhibitions at art galleries, artisan studios and museums. There will also be live performances presented in a variety of genres — professional theater, symphony orchestra and performing groups.

There is a gala First Friday event in Chestnut Hill scheduled for July 5.

First Fridays in Chestnut Hill, which run from 5-8 p.m. feature kids’ activities, live music, and the opportunity to explore unique boutique shops along Germantown Avenue and enjoy local flavors at Chestnut Hill’s acclaimed restaurants.

The roster of participating galleries includes AR Workshop Chestnut Hill, Artist and Craftsman, Bjorn & Co, Borrelli’s Chestnut Hill Gallery, Delphine Gallery,  Gallery on the Avenue, Gravers Lane Gallery, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), The Little Gallery, Windfall Gallery, and Woodmere Art Museum

On July 6, Coatesville is inviting visitors to come to the town to join together and pay tribute to Coatesville’s rich history of togetherness/

The event, which is ghosted by the City of Coatesville (www.coatesville.org),  is billed as “Unity Day and Music Festival.”

The festival, which is free and open to the public, will run from 3-11 p.m. in Gateway Park (East Lincoln Highway, Coatesville). It will feature family activities, live music and a firework display.

Chaddsford Winery (Route 1, Chadds Ford, 610-388-6221, www.chaddsford.com) will present “Red, White + BBQ” now through July 7.

Visitors will be able to enjoy delicious BBQ and frozen treats from local food trucks, live music, and PA-made wine, craft beer, and cocktails.  Weekend drinks features include Sangria Wine Popsicles, Wine Pop-Tails and “The Brandywine Bop + Carbonated Cherry Wine Cocktails.”

The event’s live music schedule will feature Mattie Hubner and Trinidad North on July 5; Nicole Zell and Chris Spousta, and Joshua Howard and Band on July 6 and Marielle Kraft on July 7.

Participating food trucks will be Albie’s Food Truck and Gemelli Gelato.

Admission is free and all wine and food purchases are pay-as-you-go.

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.

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

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.

Laurel Hill Cemetery

On July 5 at 10 a.m., Laurel Hill Cemetery (3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-228-8200, www.thelaurelhillcemetery.org) will present a program called “The Hot Spots and Storied Plots.”

Those who dare are invited to join Laurel Hill Cemetery staff for an informative overview of Laurel Hill’s long and colorful history. The tour will include many of the marble masterpieces, stunning views and legendary stories that make the cemetery a special location.

The walking tour will depart from Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Gatehouse entrance at 3822 Ridge Avenue promptly at 11 a.m. Tickets are $12 and there will be free parking in the lot across the street from the Gatehouse.

“The Hot Spots and Storied Plots” will be presented on fourth Fridays, January through November; and second Saturdays, May through October.

Another activity at Laurel Hill this weekend will be “Gettysburg and Beyond: Laurel Hill’s Ultimate Civil War Tour” on July 6 at 10 a.m.

The pivotal moment in the history of the American Civil War was the decisive Battle of Gettysburg, fought from July 1-3 in 1863, only 120 miles away from the home front of Philadelphia. Many prominent Philadelphians were engaged at Gettysburg, some losing their lives for the nation.

The Union commander at the battle, General Meade, Division Commander General Crawford, Confederates, and many other officers and enlisted men who participated now rest at Laurel Hill. The tour will also highlight the important roles played by volunteer nurses, surgeons, civilians and supporters of the war effort, whom likewise lie under Laurel Hill’s perpetual care.

On July 6 and 7, it will be time once again for Concilio’s Hispanic Fiesta at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia (Delaware Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-922-2FUN,www.delawareriverwaterfrontcorp.com) — one of the oldest annual events in the Delaware Valley.

This weekend, the tourist site along the Delaware River will host the 38th annual staging of the Hispanic Fiesta.

Traditionally, the Hispanic Fiesta features authentic Latin American entertainment, crafts and cuisine. This year, the Hispanic Fiesta will present a wide selection of Latin music, including mariachi, salsa, bachata, merengue, samba, boleros and reggaeton.

Additionally, the Fiesta will showcase artisan crafts and authentic foods from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Colombia, and other parts of Latin America.

Live entertainment on Saturday will be provided by Domination Dance Team, Karina Daza, MUEVETE dance company, BATALA PHL, Silvina Moreno,

Kim Viera, Andre Veloz, and COASTCITY.

Sunday’s entertainers will be Esperanza youth band, ESTILO dance company, Hughes School of Bolivian Dance, Los Bomberos de la Calle, People of Earth, AfroDominicano, Los Rivera Destino, and Lalo Rodriguez.

Hours both days are 2-8 p.m.

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.

If you want to attend the 2019 Kutztown Folk Festival (Kutztown Fairgrounds, off Route 222, Kutztown, 888-674-6136,www.kutztownfestival.com), you still have time – but not much. This is the final weekend. The popular annual event runs through July 6.

The Kutztown Folk Festival, which has been in existence for more than 50 years, is billed as a celebration of Pennsylvania Dutch culture. The multi-day event focuses on 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.

There will also be a lot of attractions for children including puppet shows, make-and-take crafts sessions, visits with baby farm animals, 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. 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.

On July 6, Nemours Estate (850 Alapocas Drive, Wilmington, Delaware, www.nemoursmansion.org) will host “First Saturday Garden Tour: Bloom in July.”

The event, which starts at noon, will feature a colorful stroll through Nemours Estate, the 300-acre former home of Alfred I. and Jessie B. duPont. One of the site’s friendly and knowledgeable gardeners will showcase its summer display and other bedding plants, talk about the history of flower displays over the years, and shed some light on what it takes to create and maintain the displays that make this formal French garden truly unique.
Tour included with regular Nemours Estate admission rates. Space may be limited, tours will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Event is rain or shine but will be cancelled in the case of extreme weather.

Admission to Nemours is $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and $8 for children.

The Delaware Museum of Natural History (4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, www.delmnh.org) is hosting an event on July 6 called “Lunar Observation Party: Man on the Moon” from 7-10 p.m.

Delaware Astronomical Society Members will lead a brief presentation before heading outside to observe the waxing crescent moon and other sights in the night sky through various telescopes. Moon presentations will be held at 7:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. with viewing afterwards.

Museum galleries, exhibits and several crafts, hands-on space stations, and more will be open to encourage visitors to learn more about the moon and the mysteries it holds.

Admission is $9 (ages 3-59), $8 (age 60 and up) and $3 (ages 1-2). Snacks, beverages (including adult beverages) will be available for purchase.
This event is rain or shine! In the event of inclement weather, observations will take place in our indoor planetarium, STARLAB!

On July 7, the Marshall Steam Museum at Auburn Heights Preserve (3000 Creek Road, Yorklyn, Delaware, 302-239-2385,http://auburnheights.org) is presenting “Steamin’ Day at Auburn Heights.”

The site, which features the Marshall Steam Museum and the Auburn Heights Mansion, focuses on steam power when it presents “Steamin’ Days,” which run from 12:30-4:30 p.m.

Combo Tickets, which cover all rides and building tours, are $19 (13 and older) and $12 (age 12 and under). “Mansion Only” tickets are $12 and “Ride Only” tickets are $11.

Special attractions include a “Firing Up” demonstration using a Stanley steam car, tours of the antique-furnished Auburn Heights Mansion (which was built in 1897), rides on the Auburn Valley Railroad and in select antique automobiles from the Marshall Collection.

Also included is entry to the Marshall Steam Museum, which features the world’s largest operating collection of Stanley steam cars along with a 1930s working Lionel electric train display, a hands-on engine display, kids’ activities and exhibits.

This season, each “Steamin’ Day” will feature its own theme, with changing exhibits, activities and crafts so there is always something new to experience. The theme for July 7 is “Featuring a working 1926 Wurlitzer Band Organ.”

Have you ever been to a celebration of the hippopotamus?

You will be able to answer yes to the question if you visit the Adventure Aquarium (1 Riverside Drive, Camden, New Jersey, 856-365-3300, www.adventureaquarium.com) this weekend.

From July 5-7, the Aquarium is hosting its Hippo Festival. This summer, the Aquarium is celebrating its lovely Nile Hippo girls, Button and Genny.

There are even more hippo feedings and chances to learn about our hippos from animal experts. Plus, hippo-sized fun throughout the aquarium with games, storytelling, facepainting and much more!

Hippo Haven will turn into hippo party central with decorations and fanfare, and revelers joining in the fun surrounding the birthday girl’s big day.

Button, born at Parque Zoological de Leon in Mexico on March 22, 1997, is the smaller of the aquarium’s two hippos weighing in at just over 3,000 pounds. Her gal pal, 17-year-old Genny, weighing in at over 4,000 pounds, will join in the festivities.

Admission to the Adventure Aquarium is $29.99 for adults and $21.99 for children.

Malvern Fire Company Fair

From July 9-13, the Malvern Fire Company Fair (Monument Grounds, Monument Avenue, Malvern, 610-647-0693, http://www.pa-carnivals.com/2019/malvern-fire-company-carnival-2019-malvern-pa/) will be held from 6-10 p.m. each night.

The free event features rides, games and fun for the entire family and discount ride coupons will be available at local merchants.

Guests can ride an unlimited number of rides at the 2019 Malvern Fire Company Carnival for just $20 per person per day when purchased online (https://www.innovativeticketing.com/Cart/) before July 8. Armbands are available for $25 at the event.

As an added attraction, there will be a gala firework display on July 12 at 9:30 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, the fireworks extravaganza will be postponed to July 13.

The Morris Arboretum (100 East Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-247-5777, morrisarboretum.org) is having a party on July 11 to celebrate summer with music and ice cream.

Visitors are invited to join the staff as they honor Morris Arboretum founder, John Morris, with a birthday party on Out on a Limb.

The event, which runs from 6:30-8:30 p.m., will feature the musical stylings of the award-winning Late Entry Quartet and ice cream sundaes scooped out by Bredenbeck’s Bakery of Chestnut Hill.

Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for children.

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