What To Do: First Friday of 2020 is a busy one

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

If you want to get out of the house and do something fun this weekend, you do have some interesting options.

The first Friday of the month is a good time to check out a First Friday event. This weekend, two good choices are Kennett Square and Lancaster.

January 3 will be the opening day of the 2020 season for the Kennett Square Winter Farmers Market (https://historickennettsquare.com/).

The market, which is open along State Street, will be held on bi-weekly on Fridays through April 24.

On January 3, the market will be open from 3-5:30 p.m.

This month’s edition of First Friday Lancaster (https://visitlancastercity.com/first-friday) will run from 5-9 p.m. on January 3 in downtown Lancaster.

The event will feature attractive 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.

West Chester Growers Market

The opening of the 2020 season of the West Chester Growers Market (North Church and West Chestnut streets, West Chester, http://www.westchestergrowersmarket.com/) is scheduled for January 4.

The market, which is the first and longest-running, outdoor producer-only market established in southeastern Pennsylvania, will be open from 10 a.m. until noon (rain, snow, or shine).

Producer-only means that that the fruits, vegetables, herbs, plants, chicken, beef, pork, eggs and cut flowers that are sold at the market must be farmed by the farmer that you meet at market and that the cheeses, salsas, sauces, pies, jams, pasta, honey, maple syrup, breads, and soap on sale there can only come from the local artisans who make them.

The farmers and artisans want to meet you, shake your hand, share their stories and talk about the importance of eating locally grown sustainable foods and purchasing locally produced goods.
Farmers, growers, and artisans participating on January 4 will be Big Sky Bread, Butterfly Farm Pet Treats, Cocky Gourmet Confections LLC, Conebella Farm, Crisp Microgreens, Fahnestock Fruit Farm, Lancaster Hummus Co., and Lindenhof Farm,

Also featured will be Maiale Deli and Salumeria, Nutty Novelties, Oley Valley Mushrooms, Queens Farm, Tally Ho Coffee, Taste of Puebla, Vera Pasta, and Yomi Bites.
The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Avenue, Oaks, 484-754-3976, www.phillyexpocenter.com) will host “Jurassic Quest” from January 3-5.

“Jurassic Quest” which is billed as “The Largest Exhibition of Lifesize, Moving, Museum-Quality Dinosaurs in North America!”, features “The All-New Ancient Oceans Exhibit!”

“Jurassic Quest” is America’s largest and most realistic dinosaur event. Guests will walk through the Cretaceous period, the Jurassic Period and The Triassic period and experience for themselves what it was like to be among dinosaurs of all kinds. It is the only dinosaur event that has true to life size dinosaurs – more than 80 true-to-life size dinosaurs.

In collaboration with leading paleontologists, each dinosaur was painstakingly replicated in every detail. Whether their prehistoric counterpart had skin that was scaly, had feathers or fur, Jurassic Quest has them right. The dinosaurs roar and move — some even walk around.

In addition to the life-like dinosaur exhibits, there are many attractions and activities for all kinds of dinosaur fans.

Visitors will be able to dig up fossils like a real paleontologist, see real dinosaur fossils dating back over 60 million years, and ride on the back of a huge 24-foot T. Rex or the spiky, overgrown Carnotaurus.

There is a large variety of dinosaur themed rides throughout the event including inflatable mazes, huge slides, and the multitrack Dino Bungee Pull. “Jurassic Quest” has a Dinosaur Petting Zoo where little ones can pet dinosaurs that are more their size.

Hours are 3-8 p.m. of Friday and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $24 ($22 for seniors).

Every Friday and Saturday in January, the Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-388-6221, http://www.chaddsford.com) will present “Murder Mystery Nights 2020” from 6:30-9 p.m. each night.

Here is the scenario as posted by the winery – “After laying his claim in the East End, Jack the Ripper’s killing spree fills the dodgy streets of London with panic and fear.  But as the fall weather sets in, the murders begin to subside.   The townspeople grow hopeful that Jack’s finally buggered off and his horrific reign of terror has ended.

Then, on a bitter cold night in November, a baffling murder occurs.

Scotland Yard proves to be straight rubbish, unable to solve the crime.  Has Jack the Ripper returned or has another chap taken his place?

London needs your help!  Polish up your looking glass and help them uncover clues to pinpoint the killer and the motives.

Along with an evening of mystery and suspense, you’ll enjoy bloody good hors d’oeuvres and downright brilliant PA wine!

Share this first-rate experience with your best lads – and don’t forget to don breeches and frocks that are fit for the Queen.”

The “Menu and Pairing Lineup” features Charcuterie Board with ’17 The White Standard and ’17 The Red Standard, Cucumber Finger Sandwiches with ’17 Sauvignon Blanc and Chaddsford White, Shepherd’s Pie with ’17 Merlot and ’16 Pinot Noir, Salt Beef Slider with PA Craft Beer, Corn Chowder with ’16 Sur Lie Chardonnay and ’17 Harbinger and dessert with coffee and tea.

Tickets are $60, and reservations are required.

The “Wine, Cheese & Honey Pairings at Penns Woods” at Penns Wood Winery (124 Beaver Valley Road, Chadds Ford, 610-459-0808, http://www.pennswoodsevents.com) provide a nice way for visitors to enjoy a winter weekend day.

Penns Woods Winery is joining forces with local cheese makers and local honey artisans to present exclusive pairings of wine, cheese and honey. The tastings will feature five premium Penns Woods wines, each paired with various cheeses and honey from local farms.

The mouth-watering tastings will be held every weekend in January from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sundays. As an added attraction, live music will be featured on January 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 19, 25, and 26 from 2-5 p.m. each day.

Tickets cost $28 per person in advance and reservations are required. Cancellations must be made within 72 hours or ticket holders will be charged the full amount of the tasting. Reservations are made and kept on the hour.

Greater Philadelphia Spring Home Show

If you’re a handyman and are interested in repairing, refurbishing or upgrading your home, then plan a visit to the Greater Philadelphia Spring Home Show this weekend at the Valley Forge Casino Resort (1160 First Avenue, King of Prussia, 888-433-3976, www.acshomeshow.com).

The annual show, which is produced by American Consumer Shows, will open on January 3 and continue through January 5. Hours are from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-6p.m. on Sunday. The event features free admission and parking.

The event is geared for homeowners in all stages of remodeling, landscaping and decorating their homes. Visitors to the show will be able to check out new products and receive expert advice from professionals. The show’s “Kitchen Showcase” features the latest styles and trends installed by knowledgeable, professional, local contractors.

At the popular annual event, homeowners will find a wide array of ideas and inspiration for enhancing their home’s functionality, aesthetic appeal, comfort and overall value. The show offers hundreds of exhibits featuring product demonstrations, sample displays of interior and exterior vignettes and a wide variety of related merchandise.

There will be exhibitors representing a huge range of categories, including architects, masonry, lighting, painting, roofing, floors, air conditioning, lighting, home theaters, financing, appliances, plumbing, heating, paving, waterproofing, siding and even spas.

Three Kings Day

The Kimmel Center (Broad and Spruce streets, Philadelphia, 215-731-3333, www.kimmelcenter.org) is teaming up with the Consulate of Mexico and the Mexican Cultural Center to present a special “Three Kings Day” celebration on January 4 at 4 p.m.

Together, they are offering an invitation to partake in one of the most widely-celebrated holidays among Hispanics and Latinos – to join in a reenactment of the story of the Three Wise Men.

Visitors to this free event will be able to enjoy an evening of activities, piñatas and a piece of traditional “Rosca de Reyes” bread, which will be the largest one ever made in Philadelphia.

Rosca de Reyes, which translates to “Kings’ Ring,” is an oval-shaped pastry traditionally eaten to celebrate Epiphany on January 6. Epiphany is also known as El Día de Reyes (“Kings’ Day”) — a day to commemorate the arrival of the three Magi or Wise Men.

The tradition of placing a figurine of the Christ child in the cake goes back centuries. The baby Jesus hidden in the bread represents the flight of the Holy Family as it fled from King Herod’sMassacre of the Innocents.

Whoever finds the baby Jesus figurine is blessed and must take the figurine to the nearest church on February 2 (Candlemas Day, Día de la Candelaria). In the Mexican culture, this person also must host a dinner which includes tamales and hot chocolate.

On January 6 from 3-5 p.m., there will also be a free “Three Kings Day Celebration” at Taller Puertorriqueño (2557 North Fifth Street, Philadelphia, 215-423-6320, tallerpr.org). Taller Puertorriqueño’s El Día de Reyes comes to el Barrio on January 6 with live music, gift giving, and a parade.

The celebration will feature a musical procession filled with song and merriment. After the performance, children will receive gifts in tradition of the holiday.

In keeping with the tradition, the children must bring a small box with grass. Because this activity is for children, the child must be present to receive the gift. It is mandatory that children pre-register.

Philadelphia Loves Bowie Week” (https://phillylovesbowie.wordpress.com/) is back for its third season

From January 3-12, Philadelphia once again shows its love for David Bowie night after night after glorious night. More than a dozen activities will be happening across the city to celebrate and remember a man who changed the world.

There has always been a connection between Bowie and Philadelphia because Philly embraced him from the very first tour. Ziggy Stardust’s shows at the Tower Theater sold out in record time.

Bowie recorded three albums – “David Live,” “Young Americans,” and “Stage” — and filmed the video for “Modern Love” in the City of Brotherly Love.

The organizers of “Philadelphia Loves Bowie Week” also use this week as a portal to raise awareness and funds to help benefit cancer research in Bowie’s memory — to benefit the children at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The festive week will kick off with the “Philly Loves Bowie Week WXPN Kick-Off Concert” at the World Cafe Live  (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia).

he Owls of Pennsylvania

On January 5, Norristown Farm Park (2500 Upper Farm Rd, Norristown, 610-270-0215, https://www.montcopa.org/874/Norristown-Farm-Park) will host an event called “The Owls of Pennsylvania” at 2 p.m.

At this informative indoor program, visitors will be able to learn what makes owls unique among raptors.

An educator from Elmwood Park Zoo will bring a great-horned owl and a screech owl. This is a great way to see a wild owl at close range.

Suggested donation is $3 per person.

On January 3, Auburn Valley State Park (3000 Creek Road, Yorklyn, Delaware, www.destateparks.com/History/AuburnValley) will host “Open House Tours” starting at 1 and3  p.m.

Visitors to the park will be able to tour the Auburn Heights Mansion. The mansion is the former home of the Marshall family and is furnished with original family furniture. The tour includes the two main floors of the mansion.

Auburn Valley State Park

Please note that there are steps to get into the mansion and one flight of stairs during the tour. The tour lasts approximately 45 minutes. Reservations recommended, but not required.

Tickets for the tour are $8 for adults and $4 for children (under 13).

The park will also host one of its Estate Walks beginning at 11 a.m.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about Auburn Heights while enjoying the beautiful grounds. Wearing comfortable shoes is advised for the free event.

Now though January 5, people can get in a happy mood by visiting HAPPY PLACE (HappyPlace.me).

Live Nation Philadelphia has brought HAPPY PLACE, an interactive, immersive pop-up exhibit with larger-than-life installations and multi-sensory themed rooms, to the King of Prussia Mall where it will run now January 5, 2020.

HAPPY PLACE is filled with multi-sensory immersive rooms inducing smiles and laughter, plus larger-than-life, one-of-a-kind installations including seven-foot stilettos made of a million candies and six-foot tall mirrored X and O letters surrounded by a wall of one thousand red lips. It features more than 15,000 square feet of playful spaces and cheerful moments.

HAPPY PLACE is created for an audience for all ages. Minors under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Tickets start at $30 for adults and $20 for children (ages 4-12).

This weekend’s schedule also features activities at the Center City Parks District’s Rothman Orthopaedics Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park (1 South 15th Street, Philadelphia,http://ccdparks.org/dilworth-park).

The Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park is an unparalleled entertainment experience on Philadelphia’s center stage in a wonderfully urban and unique setting. Open seven days a week, the rink offers wintery fun for all ages, with a full slate of programs.

Hours are Monday-Thursday: Noon-9 p.m.; Friday: Noon-11 p.m.; Saturday: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; and Sunday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Admission is $3 for kids (10 and under) and $5 for adults. Skate rental is $10.

It’s a sure sign that winter has arrived when season opens for the Blue Cross RiverRink (Delaware Avenue at Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-925-RINK, www.riverrink.com).

Unlike most of the suburban ice rinks, RiverRink features public skating exclusively. Ice skating is the only use of the ice. This winter, RiverRink takes 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 are 1-10:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 1 p.m.-12:30 a.m. on Fridays, 11 a.m.-12:30 a.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. on Sundays. Skating admission prices are $4 for admission and $10 for skate rental.

For those of you who hate to say goodbye to the holiday season, you’re in luck because there is one more holiday weekend on the calendars of sites around the area.

Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) is presenting “A Longwood Gardens Christmas” now through January 5.

The exhibit features spectacular lights, lavish decorations, holiday music and colorful displays featuring thousands of brilliant poinsettias, brightly decorated trees and fragrant flowers — all inside the heated Conservatory.

The colorful annual event, which appeals to the entire family, also has a lot of outdoor attractions such as fountain shows and nighttime light displays. Longwood’s Christmas celebration also includes a wide array of seasonal music — holiday concerts, organ sing-alongs and carillon performances.

The organ sing-alongs will be featured in the Ballroom either three or six times a day. There will also be performances by choirs and musicians almost every evening throughout December.

When darkness arrives at Longwood, a night-blooming garden of more than a half-million lights strung on close to 100 trees with approximately 40 miles of wire comes to life. A carillon with 62 cast bells plays holiday music every half hour during daylight hours. Longwood’s Open Air Theatre fountains dance to holiday music each half hour — temperature permitting.

As always, admission by “Timed Ticket” — tickets issued for specific dates and times. Timed ticketing limits the number of people in the Gardens at any given time and allows guests to enjoy minimal lines and a better viewing experience.

Visitors to “A Longwood Gardens Christmas” can also check out Longwood’s Garden Railway — a whimsical display set into motion with G-scale model trains. This is the 17th year that the railway has delighted visitors with special water features and custom trains traveling in and out of bridges and tunnels.

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $30 for adults, $27 for seniors (ages 62 and older) and college students and $16 for students (ages 5-18).

“A Brandywine Christmas”, which runs now through January 5 at the Brandywine River Museum (Route 1, Chadds Ford 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org), is an annual event that is fun for the entire family.

The museum’s ever-popular “critter” ornaments will be used to decorate holiday trees, wreaths and diorama settings throughout the museum. The intricately designed ornaments are made from all-natural materials by museum volunteers and have found homes on trees at the White House and the Smithsonian Institution.

“A Brandywine Christmas” also features an extensive O-gauge model. Five moving trains operate at all times and include a 60-car freight train winding past a village, stone quarry, oil refinery, mountains, Herr Foods plant, running waterfall and animated skating scene.

Special events include a “Sensory-Friendly Train Morning” on January 4.

Admission is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors (65 and older) and $6 for children.

Now through January 5, the Philadelphia Zoo (3400 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, https://philadelphiazoo.org/) will host LumiNature, a gigantic holiday season light experience that transforms the entire Zoo into a magical journey of lights, music, sounds and surprises.

LumiNature will feature 12 experiences that include hundreds of illuminated penguins, oversized bold-colored illuminated flowers, a 21-feet tall brilliant colored snake, giant cat eyes glowing in the dark of night, and a 25-foot tree made entirely of lit flamingo lawn ornaments.

LumiNature will be Philadelphia’s Zoo’s first major night-time installation and also represents Philadelphia Zoo’s first-ever major light and sound installation.  LumiNature, which was designed exclusively for Philadelphia Zoo, is a $3.5M investment and has been in the works for over two years.

According to Philadelphia Zoo Chief Marketing Officer Amy Shearer, “This tailor-made fantastical adventure brings the joy of animals, nature and the holiday season together in a way that will take your breath away. And of course, seasonal fare, strolling performers, unique retail, hot chocolate and ever-warming adult beverages will spark the holiday spirit in everyone.

“This is a first for Philadelphia Zoo and I can tell you, we are all very, very excited! LumiNature is made possible by the generous support of key donors excited to bring this one-of-a-kind spectacular to our region.”
Dancing lights, sounds and media throughout the Zoo will create magical illusions of big cats and peacocks coming to life; flamingos flocking on a 25-foot-tall tree; and all four seasons hosting their very own party. LumiNature is designed to inspire a sense of wonder and connection as all these elements come together in this first-of-its-kind experience.

LumiNature will feature more than 600,000 lights, 6.5 miles of power cord, 500 colorful illuminated flamingos and a 25 feet tall flamingo holiday tree, 200 festively lit penguins, 45 completely custom LED light structures and a 21-foot snake.

Tickets are $24 for adults and $19 for children.

Now through January 5, “Wild Lights” will be presented at the Elmwood Park Zoo (Harding Boulevard, Norristown, www.elmwoodparkzoo.org).

Visitors are invited to celebrate the holiday season with the return of “Wild Lights” to Elmwood Park Zoo featuring millions of lights that will shine throughout the zoo’s entire 16 acres.

Each night of “Wild Lights” will feature live entertainment, including unique animal encounters, performances, character appearances, and more.

Guests will be able to take a stroll through Snowflake Central and be dazzled by Rainbow Runway. They also can check out a giant video show in the giraffe yard, and marvel at the custom decorations in the Wonder Way Christmas Tree exhibit.

Another attraction will be a visit Santa’s Workshop for photos with the big man himself.

Admission is $14 for adults and $9 for children.

One of the best holiday events in the area is the annual “Yuletide at Winterthur.” This year’s 40th annual staging of the event, which runs through January 5 at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (Route 52, Wilmington, Delaware,800-448-3883, www.winterthur.org).

Revel in the beauty and warmth of the holidays and explore treasures of Christmases past with displays of holiday traditions from the 1800s to the early 20th century, including displays of: the earliest types of colorful lights decorating house exteriors; the du Pont family holiday celebrations; and the evolution of Christmas trees over the decades from the 1880s to 1960s.
One of visitors’ favorites every year is the 18-room dollhouse mansion created by designer and philanthropist Nancy McDaniel over a period of 30 years. It features amazing intricate details in each room and is even decorated for the holidays.

As always, the rooms will be enhanced with the floral displays so essential to du Pont’s decorating, and with special Christmas trees inspired by the beauty of the Winterthur garden – including the popular Dried Flower Tree in the Conservatory.

Timed Yuletide Tour reservations are required. Admission to Yuletide at Winterthur is $20 for adults, $180 for seniors (age 62 and older) and $6 for children (ages 2-11).

The Glencairn Museum (1001 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn, 267-502-2600, www.glencairnmuseum.org) is a Bucks County museum featuring religious art and area history museum.

The museum, which was formerly the home of the fabled Pitcairn family, is presenting its “Christmas at Glencairn” holiday celebration now through January 5.

Glencairn was built almost a century ago for the family of Raymond and Mildred Pitcairn, members of a congregation of a Christian denomination known as the New Church. Bryn Athyn was founded in the late 19th century as a New Church religious community.

“Christmas at Glencairn” features special exhibitions, a “Christmas in the Castle” tour, a Christmas concert and other holiday activities. The “World Nativities” exhibition is on display in Glencairn’s North Porch, Great Hall, Upper Hall and Bird Room.

The 45-minute “Christmas in the Castle” guided tours focus on the way Christmas was celebrated at Glencairn during the Pitcairn couple’s 40 years in the house. Guided tours cost $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. The suggested donation for self-guided tours is $5.

Founded more than 50 years ago, Choo Choo Barn — Traintown U.S.A. (Route 741 East, 226 Gap Rd, Strasburg, 717-687-7911, www.choochoobarn.com) presents a 1,700-square-foot train layout featuring over 150 hand-built animated figures and vehicles and 22 operating trains. The majority of trains that are running in the display are “O Gauge” trains but there are also some HO Gauge trains as well as one N Gauge train.

Several of the original pieces and animations are still on the display today, including the ski slope, ski lodge and ice skaters, Dutch Haven, the Willows, the two-lane moving highway (in front of Dutch Haven), the farm with the tobacco barn, the Strasburg Fire House, the church beside Dutch Haven and a few other houses.

The layout features a special Christmas display now through January 20. The homes and businesses along the tracks have been decked out with holiday trim. And, there are 55 hidden Santas — one for each year the site has been open — located around the display for visitors to find.

Tickets are $8.50 for adults and $5 for children (ages 3 and under) at Choo Choo Barn — Traintown U.S.A.

Several historic sites in Montgomery County have their own holiday celebrations.

Pennypacker Mills (3 Haldeman Road, Perkiomenville, 610- 287-9349, www.historicsites.montcopa.org) is hosting “Victorian Holiday Tours” now through January 5 while “Twelfth Night Tours at Pottsgrove Manor” (100 West King Street, Pottstown, 610-326-4014, www.historicsites.montcopa.org) are also running now through January 5.

Pennypacker Mills will offer free tours of the 18-century mansion used by General George Washington as temporary headquarters during the Revolutionary War. The home will be decorated for an old-fashioned Victorian Christmas and will feature the warm glow of oil lamps, festive decorations and a candy-making demonstration.

The event at Pottsgrove Manor features guided tours through an elegant 18th-century Georgian mansion that is decked out in period holiday decorations. Tour guides will discuss Twelfth Night celebrations and Christmastide traditions.

Visitors will be able to view the parlor and kitchen as it would have been during colonial times when the Potts family prepared for their holiday guests. They will also be able to check out the servants’ quarters and see the rustic holiday celebrations as enjoyed by the household staff.

Suggested donations for these events are $2.

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