What To Do: Many area events honoring MLK jr this weekend

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.

This is the weekend that America pays tribute to Civil Rights pioneer Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Weekend will be celebrated on January 15 at the Eastern State Penitentiary (2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-236-3300,www.easternstate.org) from 11 a.m.-4:45 p.m.

Visitors will be able to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and contemplate the significance and ongoing relevance of his 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail” during an in-person, all-day event at Eastern State Penitentiary.

They can listen as guest speakers read excerpts from “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and texts by other civil rights movement leaders directly impacted by incarceration.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama on April 12, 1963, for demonstrating without a permit. During his 11 days in jail there, he wrote “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in response to a letter published by Alabama clergymen that criticized King’s use of jail time to demonstrate civil injustice.

In the letter, written with a contraband pencil in the margins of a newspaper, Dr. King explains why he chose to use prisons as a tool in his civil rights movement. The letter became a manifesto for civil disobedience, stating, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and marked an important turning point in the civil rights movement.

The words of Frederick Douglass, Angela Y. Davis, Malcolm X, and Ida B. Wells will illuminate Dr. King’s place within a long lineage of leaders in the struggle for racial equality. Each passage centers around a specific theme and encourages reflection and group discussion. Seating is limited and is first-come, first-served.

From noon-2 p.m., there will be family programming designed with children and their caregivers in mind. Educators will host story times featuring children’s books written by and about civil rights movement leaders. There will also be specially designed hands-on activities.

The event is free for children under 12 and $17 for all others.

Other special Martin Luther King, Jr. events this weekend are MLK Celebration Concert Featuring The Voices Tribute to Motown at World Cafe Live, Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend Celebration at The African American Museum in Philadelphia, Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Festival at Woodmere Art Museum.

2024 Philadelphia Auto Show

From January 13-21, the Auto Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia is presenting the 2024 Philadelphia Auto Show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (12th and Arch streets, Philadelphia, www.phillyautoshow.com).

The automotive industry’s latest creations are on display at the Pennsylvania Convention Center during the annual Philadelphia Auto Show, running for nine days. Showgoers get an up-close look at hundreds of classic, luxury and exotic cars — and even have the opportunity to climb behind the wheel of some.

Spanning more than a half-million square feet, the 2024 Philadelphia Auto Show display floor will include several new features as well as time-honored fan favorites. This year marks the 122nd edition of the event.

Guests will again be invited to check out the latest and greatest developments from some of today’s leading vehicle manufacturers in “The Showroom,” which will be in Halls A, B and C of the PA Convention Center.

Custom Alley will showcase a wide array of tricked-out rides, bikes and the latest in after-market excitement.

Ticket prices range from $11-$17.

The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (Station Avenue, Oaks, 800-677-4677, www.phillyexpocenter.com) will be the site of three very different events this weekend – events focusing on model trains, marijuana, and timber.

There will be a lot of model trains and a lot of toys on display and for sale when Greenberg’s Train & Toy Show visits the area for a two-day stop at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center.

The show, which is scheduled for January 13 and 14, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. both days, will feature a number of operating train displays, including Allegheny Western Lines HO Scale Layout, Philadelphia N-Trak N Scale Layout, Royersford Modular Model Railroaders HO Scale Layout, Atlantic Division TCA O Gauge Layout, and Strasburg Model Railroad HO Scale.

Also featured will be North Penn O Gaugers O Gauge, North Penn S Gaugers S Gauge, South Eastern Pennsylvania Garden Railway Society G Scale, Strasburg Model Railroad Club LEGO® Train Club, Keystone N Trak N Scale and Railroad in a Box HO Scale.

This weekend’s show will also offer free clinics on a wide variety of topics, including track work, using accessories and using a digital command control. There will be a large number of dealers with toys, trains, accessories and hobby publications. Other features include hourly door prizes.

Tickets for adults are $12 for Saturday and $11 for Sunday. Children (12 and under) are admitted free.

The Expo Center is also hosting the Oaks Canna Fest this weekend.

Oaks Canna Fest

On January 13 and 14, the Oaks Canna Fest brings together more than 200 local and national vendors showcasing the leading-edge trends in alternative health products and services. Medical cards are not required for admission although onsite Medical Certification is available.

Visitors can renew themselves with a visit to licensed massage therapists and enjoy artisan crafted wine samples and unique handcrafted artwork.

With the Admission Pass, participants receive an exclusive “Welcome to Canna Fest” shopping bag, access to all special events, and the Canna Fest Event Guide.

The Event Guide is your key to an enhanced Canna Fest experience with Seminar Schedules, Product Coupons, Vendor Location Maps, and the Special Event details. Cannabis Educational Forums include cooking with Cannabis and Making Your Own Gummies.

Other weekend activities include guest speakers, door prizes, “Canna games,” guided yoga and reiki classes, live entertainment, cooking classes, crystal healing, chakra balancing, sensory meditation spaces and legalization news and resources.

Admission is $15.

The Log Home and Timber Frame Show is scheduled to run today through January 14.

Visitors to “The Log and Timber Home Design-Build Expo” will explore the beauty and craftsmanship of log homes and timber frame homes.

They will be able to attend free seminars on the hour all weekend long on a variety of topics.

The show will feature a great mix of Log Home and Timber Frame companies, rustic furniture makers and suppliers including Care and Maintenance and Windows and Doors.

Show hours are 1-7 p.m. on January 12, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on January 13 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on January 14.

Admission to the show is $12.

Chaddsford Winery (Route 1, Chadds Ford, 610-388-6221, www.chaddsford.com) is presenting “Reserve Tastings – Festive Faves” on select Saturdays and Sundays in January.

Guests will join the CFW Crew for an intimate and educational 60-minute experience in the Barrel Room. The trained staff will guide them through a pre-selected tasting of five widely diverse and award-winning wines from across our portfolio. The selections will be paired alongside seasonal local cheeses and other accoutrements to enhance your tasting experience.

The staff will also discuss topics such as grape growing conditions at our partner vineyards and the onsite winemaking process from production to aging and bottling.

The following is the 2024 Pairing Line Up – Greeting Wine: 2022 Sparkling White; 2022 Chardonnay with Maine Crisp Buckwheat Crackers (contains nuts), Brie, and Local Smoked Fall Honey; 2021 Pinot Noir with Smoked Gouda and New Jersey Dried Cherries; Spiced Apple with Pumpkin Spice Bon Bon from Éclat Chocolate; Warm Holiday Spirit with Chocolate Cranberry Scone from OsoSweet Bakery & Café.

The “Wine, Cheese & Honey Pairings at Penns Woods” at Penns Wood Winery (124 Beaver Valley Road, Chadds Ford, 610-459-0808,http://www.pennswoodswinery.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 four 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.

Tickets cost $40 per person and reservations are required.

This weekend is a special time at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, www.ansp.org).

The museum is presenting “Science Storytime” on January 13 and 14 starting at 11 a.m. each day.

Each week will feature a science story and a hands-on craft to try.

Visitors can enjoy some of the following topics –

Grandmother Fish: a child’s first book of Evolution by Jonathan Tweet Craft: Trace fossil medallions.

What do you do with a tail like this By Steven Jenkins Craft: Lizard Tail Craft.

Hank’s Big Day By Evan Kuhlman Craft: Roly Poly paper plate.

Jump up and dance as we read “Dinosaurrumpus” by Tony Mitton and get crafting with dinosaur pasta pals.

Other upcoming “Science Storytime” dates are February 17 and 18 and March 9 and 10.

“Science Storytime will take place at the Aquatic Reptile Nook in Dinosaur Hall.

Museum admission is $27 for adults, $24 for seniors and $23 for children (ages 2-12).

The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum (8601 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, www.fws.gov/refuge/John_Heinz) has several attractive events scheduled for this week.

“Bird Walk with Chuck Root and Emily Dodge” will be held on January 13 at 9 a.m.

Visitors can take an educational walk with two of the site’s knowledgeable volunteers and discover the 300+ species of birds that use the Refuge during their migration routes.

The walk will begin at the archway at the Visitor Center and will last approximately one hour on flat surfaces.

On January 14, “Plant Walk with Dick Cloud” is scheduled to get underway at 1 p.m.

The Sikh Center of Delaware (1107 South Dupont Highway, New Castle, Delaware, https://www.facebook.com/sikhcenterofdelaware) is hosting a special event called “Lohri” on January 13.

Lohri is essentially a harvest festival mostly celebrated in Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh. People celebrate it with great fun, excitement, and enthusiasm.

The customs and traditions may slightly vary from one region to another but basically all of them are attached to the harvesting of the Rabi crops. The North Indian people celebrate this festival to mark the end of winter solstice. The harvested fields and front yards are lit up with flames of bonfire and people sit around it and engage in singing, dancing, and merry making.

The event will get underway with “Path” with Rehraas Sahib followed by Kirtan & Ardaas. Ther will be tea, snacks and other refreshments at 6 p.m. The Lohri celebrations are scheduled from 6:30 p.m. onward.

Sesame Place (100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, www.sesameplace.com) may be closed for park rides and activities but there’s still furry fun to be had.

This weekend’s special event will be “Captain Cookie’s Pirate Feast,” the first of five themed dining experiences throughout January and February.

“Captain Cookie’s Pirate Feast,” which will run now through January 15, is a nautical-themed celebration. Captain Cookie hosts this delicious buffet meal and some special pirate festivities for the whole family to enjoy.

There will also be a special meet and greet on the way into “Captain Cookie’s Pirate Feast!”

Other upcoming special dining events are Abby’s Magical Magician Ball Dine (January 20 and 21), Ernie’s Birthday Bash Dine (January 27 and 28), Elmo’s Rockin’ Birthday Dine (February 3 and 4) and My Fuzzy Valentine Dine (February 10 and 11).

Tickets for the dining events are $39.99 (ages 10 and older) and $19.99 for children (ages 2-9). Advanced dining reservation is required.

A well-attended Bucks County attraction is the “Holiday Light Show” at Shady Brook Farm (931 Stony Hill Road, Yardley, www.shadybrookfarm.com)

The farm features a three–million-light Holiday Light Show with “Dashin’ Through the … Lights,” a family-friendly two-mile drive-through on Thursday and Friday nights.

The main display allows visitors to drive or (weather permitting) ride in wagons past post-sundown displays including illuminated tunnels.

The “Holiday Light Show” is open now through January 27.

Timed tickets, which start at $30, are required.

How would you like to get rid of your Christmas tree in a sustainable and extremely adorable way?

A great way is to gift it to a goat.

The Philly Goat Project’s annual Christmas Tree-Cycle festival/fundraiser (www.phillygoatproject.org) returns with a special event where you can donate your tree to local goats to enjoy. The family-friendly events, which start this weekend, run from noon-2 p.m. all three days.

On January 14, the event will be held at The Farm at Awbury Arboretum (6336 Ardleigh Street, Philadelphia) and January 20 at Laurel Hill West Cemetery (225 Belmont Avenue, Bala Cynwyd).

The event features free s’mores, hot cocoa and all the goat cuddles you want. There is a suggested donation of $20 per Christmas tree which helps support community programs. And you don’t need a tree to join in the fun.

On January 13, Laurel Hill Cemetery (3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-228-8200, www.thelaurelhillcemetery.org) will present “Hot Spots and Storied Plots” walking tour at 10 a.m.

In life and in death, we all have stories to tell, and what better place to hear tales of wonder than Philadelphia’s most famous home of the dead?

This tour provides an informative overview of Laurel Hill’s long history, which includes many of the marble masterpieces, stunning views, and legendary stories about Laurel Hill.

“Hot Spots and Storied Plots” is the perfect introduction for anyone who enjoys beautiful art, scenic nature, and fascinating history. An experienced graveyard guide will offer a unique perspective.

The Tour Guide will be Shayne Russell.

This tour departs from Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Gatehouse entrance at 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia.

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 mid-January. 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 $10 for adults and $6 for children (ages 3 and under) at Choo Choo Barn — Traintown U.S.A.

A popular annual Philly holiday tradition can be found at the Rothman Orthopaedics Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park (1 South 15th Street, Philadelphia,http://ccdparks.org/dilworth-park).

Back in November, some of Philadelphia’s favorite winter traditions return to Dilworth Park. Visitors of all ages can enjoy a dramatic seasonal transformation as fountains are replaced by the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute Ice Rink and reindeer topiaries take up winter residence on the Greenfield Lawn.

In addition, a full lineup of free entertainment is featured, including the Deck the Hall Light Show, the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market and Rothman Orthopaedic Institute Cabin.

Dilworth Park’s winter season began in November with the opening of the Wintergarden on the Greenfield Lawn and the Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink and Cabin.

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.

Winter has arrived and the Blue Cross RiverRink (Delaware Avenue at Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-925-RINK, www.riverrink.com) has come back to life.

Unlike most of the suburban ice rinks, RiverRink features public skating. 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.

For 29 seasons, Winterfest has been Philadelphia’s favorite Winter tradition on the Delaware River Waterfront, inviting visitors for a chance to indulge in flights of fancy under thousands of sparkling lights in a winter wonderland with spectacular views of the Delaware River. Cozy up in comforting warming cabins, firepit stations, boardwalk rides and games for the young and young-at-heart, delicious food and hot beverages, the signature holiday tree, and, of course, ice skating on our NHL-sized rink. Winterfest is a top destination for anyone looking to rekindle family traditions.

The Winterfest site is free to enter and open to the public. Amenities such as ice skating and cabin and firepit experiences can be reserved in advance. Winterfest is open seven days a week including holidays through March.

There are also a lot of ongoing non-holiday events in the area this weekend.

Grim Philly’s “Dark Philly History Tour” (www.grimphilly.com) will be held every evening throughout the winter.

Participants can walk with tour guides from the grounds of America’s first White House, Congress, and Liberty Bell to homes and sites of Hamilton, Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and more than 10 other Founding-Fathers. The surprising dirt of espionage, murder, sexual license and blackmail highlight the secrets of 1776 with a ghost story or two along the way. This tour is highly researched. And your guide is a historian.

Tickets are $35.

Ghost Tour of Philadelphia (215-413-1997, www.ghosttour.com), Ghost Tour of Lancaster (717-687-6687, www.ghosttour.com) and Ghost Tour of Strasburg (717-687-6687, www.ghosttour.com) operate throughout the winter and offer an eerily entertaining evening of true ghost stories and real haunted houses.

The Ghost Tour of Philadelphia, which is based on the book, “Ghost Stories of Philadelphia, PA.,” is a candlelight walking tour along the back streets and secret gardens of Independence Park, Society Hill, and Old City, where ghostly spirits, haunted houses, and eerie graveyards abound.

Participants can discover the ghost lore of America’s most historic and most haunted city with stories from the founding of William Penn’s colony to present-day hauntings.

The activity is open year-round – weekends, December-February; every night, March-November. Tickets are $24.

The Ghost Tour of Lancaster and the Ghost Tour of Strasburg are based on the book, “Ghost Stories of Lancaster, PA.”

Participants in the Ghost Tour of Lancaster explore the long-forgotten mysteries of one of America’s oldest cities, with haunting tales of otherworldly vigils, fatal curses, and star-crossed lovers. The tour provides the opportunity to experience 300 years of haunted history from the Red Rose City’s thorny past. Tickets are $20.

The Ghost Tour of Strasburg is a candlelight walking tour of the quaint and historic town of Strasburg in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Visitors will experience an entertaining evening with a costumed tour guide spinning tales of haunted mansions, eerie graveyards, and spirits that roam the night … in a town lost in time. Tickets are $20.

“TreeTrails Adventures Trevose” (301 West Bristol Pike, Trevose, treetrails.com/trevose-pa) is an adventure park full of fun challenges for outdoor adventurers of all ages.

Participants can experience the rush of TreeTrails Adventures as they swing through the trees of the new adventure park. They will be able to discover the excitement of climbing and zip lining above the forest floor with family, friends, co-workers, or teammates.

The park, which is based at Phoenix Sport Club in Bucks County, offers two ways to experience climbing – TreeTrails Adventure Park and KidTrails Park. Young explorers can enjoy miniaturized courses in the adjacent KidTrails Park.

General Park Admission prices are: Main Park Adult Tickets (Ages 12+), $59; Main Park Youth Tickets (Ages 7–11), $51; KidTrails Tickets (Ages 4–7), $12.

Wonderspaces at the Fashion District (27 North 11th Street, Philadelphia, philadelphia.wonderspaces.com) is an experiential, interactive arts venue.

Building on the success of annual pop-up shows in San Diego, and its first permanent location in Scottsdale, Arizona, Wonderspaces opened a 24,000 square foot gallery space in Philly two years ago.

Wonderspaces features 14 art installations that all play with the idea of perspective.  The artwork ranges from award-winning virtual reality short film about a dinner party-turned-alien abduction, to a room where visitors digitally paint the walls with the movement of their bodies.

New artworks rotate in and out every few months, creating an ever-evolving, year-round show.

Tickets are for entry at a specific date and time. Visitors are welcome to stay as long as they please during operating hours. The average time spent experiencing the show is 90 minutes.

A few installations contain flashing lights, images, and patterns that may trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. All visitors must sign a waiver prior to being admitted into the space. Adult supervision is required for visitors under 16.

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