What To Do: With Summer looming, festival season kicks off

By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times

Liz Longley

When warm weather arrives in this area, outdoor music concerts are not far behind — especially outdoor, multi-day festivals. One of the earliest festivals on the annual calendar is the Spring Gulch Folk Festival.

From May 19-21, the Spring Gulch Folk Festival will return for another year at Spring Gulch Resort Campground (475 Lynch Road, New Holland, 717-354-3100,www.springgulch.com).

The festival’s host site is a top-flight campground which features Olympic size pools and spa, tennis and shuffleboard courts, mini golf, a dance barn, wooded sites, a laundromat, a state-of-the-art playground, an arcade, a fishing lake, a country store and an ongoing variety of children’s activities.

The Spring Gulch Folk Festival is a family festival in a beautiful camp resort setting — a weekend event featuring live music by top-name folk musicians, sing-a-long campfires, workshops, dancing, and crafts.

The main attraction is the music.

Leading the long list of top caliber artists is Liz Longley, one of Nashville’s most promising new acts. Longley is a Downingtown native who graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Other acts slated to play at this year’s Spring Gulch Festival are John Gorka, Brother Sun, Sam Gleaves & Tyler Hughes, Vance Gilbert, Blue Highway, Guy Davis Band, Adam Ezra Group, and Mark Mandeville & Raianne Richards

The roster also features Snyder Family, John Flynn, Chris Smither,
Ethan Pierce, Kirsten Maxwell, Matuto, Ana Egge, Dave Fry and No Good Sister.

Spring Gulch also offers Amish buggy rides, games, tennis clinics, campfires and many more related activities. As an added attraction, there will be a wide array of organized children’s activities throughout the weekend.

Ticket prices are: Friday, $22 (adults) and $10 (children); Saturday, $48 (adults) and $20 (children); Sunday, $22 (adults) and $10 (children).

The Chester County Studio Tour

The annual Chester County Studio Tour (chestercountystudiotour.com) will be held on May 20 and 21. The tour, which has continued to grow in size and stature from year-to-year, each year, is a showcase for 179 different artists whose work will be displayed at 72 studios in the area.

Some of the artists whose work will be on display at 2016 edition of the event are Lele Galer, Joe Grubb, Lin Webber, Timlyn Vaughan, Annie Strack, David Katz, Christine Oddo, Mary Roach-Bailey, Theresa Haag and Erica Brown.

The list of participating artists also includes Darcie Goldberg, Marie Wolfington Jones, John Pompeo, Susan Yoder, David Oleski, Steve Oliver, Robert Lott, April D’Angelo, Denise Vitollo, Diane Cirafesi and

Tour hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on May 20 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on May 21. The event is free and open to the public.

Brandywine Ballet

From May 19-21, the Brandywine Ballet will bring its annual spring performance to West Chester University’ Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall (South High Street, West Chester, 610-696-2711, www.brandywineballet.org).

This weekend, the Brandywine Ballet will present “Beauty and the Beast.”

This production of “Beauty & The Beast” is a new, full-length work based on the original story by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. Resident Choreographer, Nancy Page has created a whimsical ballet in this new version of the classic fairy tale.

A powerful spell is cast to tell a story of family, love, and passion as Beauty embarks on a journey through the forest and into a magical castle to meet the Beast.

Enchanting characters of water flowers, bluebirds, and roses come to life to tell a tale of overcoming one’s fears and vulnerability, and the lesson that beauty is so much more than skin deep.

“Beauty & The Beast” will be performed May 19 at 10 a.m., May 20 at noon and 4 p.m. and May 21 at 2 p.m. Ticket Prices are $25, $30 and $40.

Wildflower Walk

On May 21, the Schuylkill Canal Association will present a special “Wildflower Walk” from 1-4 p.m. at Lock 60 at Schuylkill Canal Park (400 Towpath Road, Mont Clare, 610-917-8030, www.schuylkillcanal.org).

Visitors are invited to join the Schuylkill Canal Association’s Dave Williams for a guided walk to view wildflowers along the Schuylkill River and ravines.

Weather permitting, this is a moderately-difficult 1.5- hour hike up the first ravine, up a steep hill, along the bluffs, then down a narrow trail, and back to Lock 60 along the Schuylkill River.

The activity is open to adults and children (8 and older) with an adult. Pre-registration is requested. Participants are asked to meet at the Locktender’s House, which is located at Lock 60, the only operating lock of the historic Schuylkill Navigation.

Phoenixville’s annual Dogwood Festival Parade

Phoenixville’s annual Dogwood Festival is coming down the stretch and will be open until May 20.

The 74th 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 21, live entertainment will be provided by John Valerio, Walkabouts and magician Zach Evans.

The main day for activities at the free festival will be May 20 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.

The Skippack Spring Wine Festival

On May 19 and 20, the Skippack Spring Wine Festival (Skippack Pike, Skippack, 610- 584-1155, http://winetober.com) will be held Friday from 5-9 p.m. It will start again at 11 a.m. on Saturday along the main street of the scenic village near the Skippack Creek in Montgomery County.

The popular annual event will feature vendors with a tasty array of wine and food samples along with live music. Tickets for the event, which include food and wine sampling, are $25 on Friday and $30 or $35 on Saturday.

On May 21, the Bethel Township Preservation Society (610-459-4183, http://betheltownshippreservationsociety.com) will present its “11th Annual Log House Tour” at a restored historic log house that is located at 1645 Bethel Road in Garnet Valley.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature colonial demonstrations — quilt making, weaving and spinning, butter making, and basket making.  There will be crafts and a children’s colonial toy display as well as “punched tin” and “bird walk” activities for kids.

The house was built in the late 1600s in the William Penn style that was the prototype for the row houses in Philadelphia.

The log house was continuously occupied until the early 1940s and remained in the “abandoned” category for quite a while. A few years ago, the structure was dismantled log by log and moved to its current home on Bethel Road.

For more than three-quarters of a century, LuLu’s Shriners have been sponsoring an annual circus performance at various locations in the Delaware Valley.

The 76th Annual LuLu Shrine Circus

This weekend, the 76th Annual LuLu Shrine Circus will be held at LuLu Temple (5140 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, 800- 898-LULU, http://lulushrinecircus.com).

Now through May 21, the Temple grounds will be alive with the sights, sounds and smells of a live circus with performances at 7 p.m. on Friday; 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. on Saturday; and noon and 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The performances feature complete “Three Ring Circus” shows on the LuLu Temple’s grounds in an outdoor facility that can accommodate 4,000 spectators. This is a traditional old-time circus — the kind that used to travel the country and set up “Big Top” performance tents wherever it stopped.

There will be trapeze artists, a magic show, a high-wire hula hoop performer, jugglers and an aerial rings act. And, there will be a variety of circus animals including tigers, elephants, ponies and even an acrobatic dog act.

As an added attraction, elephant rides and pony rides will be available before and after the performances.

As always, a popular feature at every show is the zany activity by the LuLu Temple’s “Klownz” which is a group of more than 50 members who not only do the skits for the Circus each year but also perform at Shriners Hospital for Children each month.

Video link for LuLu Shrine Circus — https://youtu.be/MbA1uz8ib0U

Tickets are $24 for adults and $12 for children.

Wilmington Grand Prix

It didn’t take very long for the Wilmington Grand Prix (various locations around downtown Wilmington, 302- 655-6483, http://wilmgrandprix.com) to evolve from a regional bicycle race to one of the premier cycling events in the country.

The Men’s and Women’s Professional Criterium Races will be official stop on USA Cycling’s National Criterium Calendar.

The action starts May 19 with the Monkey Hill Time Trial, a 3.2-mile race against the clock through Wilmington’s Brandywine Park. On May 20, there will be a series of races beginning at 9 a.m. and culminating with the Women’s Pro and Men’s Pro races in the afternoon.

The racing on Saturday will be held in downtown Wilmington on a figure-eight criterium over a one-mile course. The start line and finish line, which are the same, are located in front of the Grand Opera House in the 800 block of Market Street.

On May 21, it will be time for the Seventh Annual Governor’s Ride and the Sixth Annual Delaware Gran Fondo. Last year’s Gran Fondo attracted cyclists from 20 states, including Maine, Florida and Colorado, by offering them a scenic tour through the Brandywine Valley.

The Wilmington Grand Prix’s Street Festival will take place on May 20 beginning with parade that starts at noon. The Street Festival features a Family Fun Zone, a Bike Expo, a “Rock Wall,” sidewalk sales, a VIP Hospitality Tent, a Moon Bounce, and an array of family games and activities.

Linvilla Orchards & the Historical Car Club of Pennsylvania will present an outstanding display of spectacularly restored cars this weekend at their annual Antique Car Show & Flea Market at Linvilla Orchards (137 W. Knowlton Road, Media, 610- 876-7116, www.linvilla.com).

On May 21, the orchard/market/tourist attraction in Media will host the interesting annual springtime event from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The free show, which grows in popularity every year, will be held rain or shine.

Linvilla Orchards has partnered with The Historical Car Club of Pennsylvania (HCCP) for over three decades to present their annual Spring Meet. More than 250 spectacularly restored and maintained antique, classic, and muscle cars will take over one of Linvilla’s big fields.

Visitors to Linvilla Orchards’ car show will be able to get an up-close and personal look at a large selection of antique vehicles — all of which have been maintained in pristine form. There will be cars dating from as far back as the early 1900s. The wide representation of vintage vehicles will include cars all the way up until the 1970s.

As an added attraction, there will be hayrides around the orchard’s grounds and train rides on Linvilla Orchards Playland Express. Other kid-oriented attractions include a playground, a barnyard and face-painting.

The 21st Annual Ambler Auto Show

The 21st Annual Ambler Auto Show (Butler Avenue, Ambler,

http://amblermainstreet.org/event/auto-show-2017/) will be held May 20 from 1-6 p.m. in the center of Ambler.

Billed as “The Best Little Car Show Around,” the annual event has established a reputation as a quality show.

Butler Avenue will close for the event from Lindenwold Avenue to Main Street so that more than 200 classic cars and their owners can compete for a litany of prizes.

The Ambler Auto Show is designed to be a fun, low-pressure event for auto and truck enthusiasts.

Held each year at the beginning of the regional auto show season, Ambler gives the exhibitor a great opportunity to “tune-up” for upcoming shows. Vehicles are positioned along Butler Avenue covering the major shopping area of Ambler.

Visitors to the show have the opportunity to stop and chat with owners to learn more about each vehicle. Vehicles compete for awards in three categories — The Top 50, Major Sponsor Trophy and the Al Whitcomb Best-in-Show Award.

Additionally, all entrants receive a commemorative dash plaque marking their participation in the show.

This is a nice time of year to take a drive through central Bucks County to enjoy the spring colors and celebrate the arrival of warm weather.

Peddler’s Village’s 39th Annual Strawberry Festival

This weekend, it’s an even better time because it’s the weekend of Peddler’s Village’s 39th Annual Strawberry Festival (Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, 215-794-4000, www.peddlersvillage.com).

The 2017 edition of the popular annual event, which will be held May 20 and 21 at the Peddler’s Village complex, features a variety of artisans who will be demonstrating and selling their crafts.

As expected, the free festival will have its focus on strawberries and will feature strawberries served in all sorts of tasty ways.

There will be an array of booths selling strawberry shortcakes, strawberry crumb pies, strawberry rhubarb pies, strawberry cheesecakes and tarts, strawberry shortcake donuts, strawberry cupcakes, donuts, muffins, cookies and chocolate strawberry bombs.

Peddler’s Village Strawberry Tents will have fresh strawberries, freshly baked strawberry pies, and Pennsylvania Dutch strawberry butters.

More than 75 of the region’s finest artisans will exhibit and sell unique handcrafted works on the Street Road Green. Click here to view our Featured Artisans.

Strawberry Fields Fun Area for Kids will feature live musical entertainment, sand art, face painting, kids’ crafts and picnic area. Each afternoon at 3 p.m., people gather on the Main Green to cheer on their favorite contestants in the Strawberry Pie Eating Contests.

The festival will be held from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. both days. Admission and parking are free and the festival is held rain or shine.

Joanna Furnace’s “Iron Works Day & Plant Sale” will be held May 20 from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. at Joanna Furnace (Route 10, Morgantown, 610-286-0388, www.haycreek.org)

Visitors can step back in time 200 years and learn about the Joanna Furnace Iron Works. They will be able to tour the 26-acre site and see living history demonstrations that include metal casting, and blacksmithing.

There will also be open fire cooking/beehive oven demonstrations—sand the early American foods will be available for sampling. Admission to the event is free.

The annual event features a flea market and a plant sale where visitors can purchase herbs and plants for their gardens.

Guests are invited to tour the Joanna Furnace herb garden to learn about these historic herbs. Many of these herbs are coming back in popularity as a healthy alternative to the processed food substitutes and medicines that are purchased in the grocery store today.

An “Ironmasters Breakfast Buffet” will be offered from 7-11 a.m. featuring country sausage, bacon, scrapple, chipped creamed beef, scrambled eggs, pancakes, fruit, toast, juice, coffee and more. Cost is $9.50 for adults, $4.50 for children age 5 to 11 and children under five eat for free.

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend and are willing to think outside the box, you could attend a festival celebrating rhubarb or a kinetic structure derby.

The 2017 Rhubarb Festival

On May 19 and 20, the 2017 Rhubarb Festival will be held at Kitchen Kettle Village (3529 Old Philadelphia Pike, Intercourse, 800-732-3538, www.kitchenkettle.com). The festival starts at 11 a.m. both days.

In Lancaster County, people have been celebrating rhubarb for over 30 years. This is the time of year when Kitchen Kettle Village comes alive with the sweet aroma of rhubarb jam bubbling in its kettles.

Rhubarb is the harbinger of spring in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and every year Kitchen Kettle Village pays tribute with a two-day food festival filled with delicious and sometimes zany events.

The not-your-everyday annual event will feature attractions and activities for people of all ages, including a rhubarb racecar derby, homemade desserts, the “Rhubarb Stroll” mini-parade, a “Rhubarb Whoopie Pie Filling Contest” and more.

The free, family-oriented event will also feature a wide array of homemade rhubarb foods, including rhubarb dips, rhubarb sauces, rhubarb pies and rhubarb drinks.

One of the Delaware Valley’s strangest spring events is the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Arts Festival (http://kensingtonkineticarts.org/).

The annual celebration, which is scheduled for May 20 from noon-6 p.m., showcases human-powered, handmade floats on parade. It also highlights the neighborhood’s creative spirit and community pride.

Just as wacky, artsy, and Kensington as ever, the “best day in the neighborhood” is now known as the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby & Arts Festival.

There will be more than 200 local arts and food vendors, alongside a parade of human-powered sculptural floats.

The Kinetic Sculpture Derby parades mobile sculptures along a three-mile, urban obstacle course through the Kensington and Fishtown neighborhoods and finishes with a messy splashdown in a mud pit.

No stored energy, motors, electricity, pushing, pulling or walking is permitted in order to move the human-powered floats throughout the course. Instead, participants must devise unique, human-generated ways to keep “vehicles” – defined as a device that has wheels or moveable legs – moving at a pace of at least three miles-per-hour.

The friendly, juried competition features six awards: Best Art, Best Costume, Best Engineering, People’s Choice, Best Breakdown and the highly-coveted Judge’s Choice Award.

The festival, which raises money for projects in the area while exposing people to an off-the-beaten-path neighborhood, is located on five blocks along Trenton Avenue from Norris Street to Frankford Avenue.

On May 21, Victory Brewing is presenting its inaugural All Star Craft Beer & Wine Festival at Citizen’s Bank Park (1 Citizen’s Bank Way, Philadelphia,http://www.victorybeer.com).

At the All Star Craft Beer & Wine Festival, guests will be treated to hundreds of amazing craft beer and wine samples from around the world showcased throughout the entire concourse.

Admission includes live band music and DJ entertainment, free parking (S & T lots – view map), two tickets to a Phillies game at Citizen’s Bank Park during the 2017 season ($76 value), free admission to the official after party, and sampling of multiple spirits (bourbon, whiskey, and more), bacon, jerky, and other all-star product vendors.

Participants will also be able to have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience the ballpark like never before by being able to walk the bases and get a professional photo in the Phillies dugout.

Tickets are $49.50.

On May 21, it will be time for the 39th Annual Society Hill Open House and Garden Tour (http://societyhillcivic.org). Society Hill’s annual open house and garden tourwill be held Sunday from 1-5 p.m.

Visitors can partake in a self-guided tour of 10 homes and gardens throughout the neighborhood and get a peek inside of some of the neighborhood’s most impressive homes.

People taking the tour will be able to walk the same streets as Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.

All of the houses’ architectural and interior styles range from the 18th and 19th Century to the most contemporary. And, there is an all-new selection of houses each year.

Tickets for the tour are $35.

The Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival (Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, http://www.rittenhouserow.org), which is one of Philadelphia’s most popular spring festivals, will be held on May 20 from noon-5 p.m. –rain or shine.

Held each year on Walnut Street from Broad Street to 19th Street, the well-attended annual event showcases Philadelphia’s finest fashions, cuisine and entertainment and attracts more than 50,000 people to enjoy the best of Rittenhouse Row.

Dozens of restaurants will set up shop along the sidewalks of Walnut Street to serve up samples of spring fare. In addition to the tasty food attractions, there are a variety of enticing activities including live music, free wine tastings, fashionable shopping and more.

For more than a century, South Philadelphia has been a stronghold of the city’s Italian-American population. Nowhere is it more evidenced than at the South Ninth Street Italian Market (Ninth Street and Washington Avenue vicinity, Philadelphia, 215-278-2903, www.italianmarketfestival.com).

On May 20 and 21, it will be time once again for the annual “South Ninth Street Italian Market Festival.” The festival’s focus will center on specialty food shops, restaurants, taverns and stores.

The festival, which is free, features the annual “Procession of Saints,” along with live entertainment, family events, crafts vendors and food booths.

It will run from 11 a.m-6 p.m. both days and will be held rain or shine.

One of the festival’s most popular attractions is “Albero della Cuccagna” — the “Grease Pole.”  It is a 30-foot high pole greased with lard that is located at the Ninth and Montrose Piazza.

Teams will compete on both days for prizes of meats, cheeses, gift cards and money — prizes that are hanging from the top of the pole.

Now through June 12, 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 $17 for adults, $12 for youth, and $15 for seniors and military.

On May 20, you can take a trip back to a different era in America’s history by attending the 93rd annual “A Day in Old New Castle” in Historic New Castle (off Route 141, New Castle, Delaware, 302-322-5774, http://www.historicnewcastle.com).

The event, which will be held from 10 a.m.-5p.m., is a special activity that not only celebrates history but also has a lot of history of its own.

It is a tradition of home and garden tours in New Castle that dates back almost 100 years — in a town that was founded 350 years ago.

Billed as the oldest home and garden tour in the United States, “A Day in Old New Castle” provides visitors with the opportunity to see what life was like during the historic era when New Castle served as the capital of the fledgling colony of Delaware.

New Castle was where William Penn first set foot in North America in 1682. New Castle was also the home to two of Delaware’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence. This weekend’s event will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the year of “Union and Freedom.”

Visitors will be able to tour the many homes, gardens and public buildings that witnessed the rebirth of America at the conclusion of the Civil War. The cobblestone streets of Old New Castle will be alive with activities.

There will be confederate and union encampments by Union Patriotic League, Garrison of New Amstel and 1st Delaware Regiment.

Live entertainment will be provided by Serenata Strings, Fiscal Year Jazz Trio, Ft. Delaware Coronet Band, and Suzuki Violins.

Other attractions include blacksmithing, historic caricatures, a Colonial brewer, children’s games, bell ringers, a maypole, carriage rides, beer garden, tours of historic Buttonwood School.

Tickets for “A Day in Old New Castle” are $20 for adults and $5 for children (ages 6-12).


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