What To Do: Off to the races at Willowdale

By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times

Throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, the Brandywine Valley is known for being horse country – an area famous for top-flight equestrian events.

The 2017 equestrian season is already underway with a big annual point-to-point event last weekend in Delaware and this weekend’s Annual Willowdale Steeplechase (Steeplechase grounds, routes 82 and 926, Unionville, 610-444-1582, http://willowdalesteeplechase.org)

This year’s 25th annual staging of the event will be held on May 15 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

The Willowdale Shops, Restaurant Booths, Kid’s Alley Tent and the “Antique and Unique Car Display” are both slated to run all day starting at 10 a.m. The “Silver Tailgate Competition” will start at 11:30 a.m.

The initial competition will be the “Jack Russell Races” at 11a.m. followed by the “Small Pony Race” at 12:15 p.m. and the “Large Pony Race” at 12:30 p.m.

The first of seven steeplechase races will begin at 1:30 p.m. and the racing is scheduled to end between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Gates will close at 6 p.m.

The Willowdale Steeplechase is a first-class steeplechase course that features an uphill approach to the fences. This encourages less speed and more jumping and, as a result, causes less wear and tear on the horses.

This year’s Willowdale Steeplechase has several beneficiaries — Quest Therapeutic Riding Services, Inc., The Stroud Water Research Center and The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine at New Bolton Center. Tickets are $40 at the gate.

Video link for Willowdale Steeplechase — https://youtu.be/TjydsviqIvo.

Phoenixville’s annual Dogwood Festival gets underway on May 15 and will run through 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 15, there will be performances by Gene Galligan & Friends (who also will perform on May 17) and by the band Breaking Curfew.

The Hytha Family Band and Flower Power Band will perform on May 16. The schedule for May 17 schedule features the Audubon Symphony Orchestra.

On May 18, entertainment will be provided by Dog Bite Money and Ray Owens Music. Kendall Phillips will be the headliner on May 19 along with the Rougarou Band.

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.

On May 18, the focus will be on automobiles during “Cruise Night” at Herr’s Snack Foods, (20 Herr Drive, Routes 272 and 1, Nottingham, 610-932-9330,www.herrs.com).

This year, Herr’s Snack Foods is hosting its 18th Annual Cruise Night. Visitors to the event will find that “cruising” is welcomed rather than frowned upon in so many of the area’s municipalities.

The popular annual event, which features free admission and free parking, will get underway at 5 p.m. and continue until dusk.

More than 300 classic cars and hot rods will be on display. Car owners are encouraged to register in the people’s choice contest for first, second and third place “Best of Show” trophies. Spectators will be able to vote for their favorite classic car between 5-7 p.m.

The free event will also feature factory tours, food booths with festival fare, children’s games, music by a disc jockey and a variety of door prizes.


On May 13, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (Route 52, Wilmington, Delaware, 800-448-3883, www.winterthur.org) will be presenting “Azaleas and Bluebells Day.”

Visitors to the site will be able to enjoy the spectacle of thousands of azalea blossoms and acres of wildflowers.

The day’s events will include the opportunity to take photos with Mom in Azalea Woods, shop at plant sales at the Museum Store, and participate in guided and self-guided tours through the azalea display.

“Historic Autos at Winterthur” (which is included free with museum admission) will have its second installment for 2017 on May 13.

This attraction provides visitors with the opportunity to see a variety of vehicles from the past that have been maintained in pristine condition.

There will be different displays every Saturday through the month of May.

The display themes are: May 13: Country Estate Automobiles: A Statement in Elegance (1910s–1949); May 20: Automobiles of the Roaring 20s: Modernity and Mass Production; and May 27: Cars of the 1950s: Winterthur Museum Opens to the Motoring Public.

The displays are open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and are accompanied at each Saturday by related lectures in the museum’s Rotunda.

Winterthur’s new exhibition “Treasures on Trial: The Art and Science of Detecting Fakes,” is a major exhibition offering visitors a Sherlock Holmes-style investigation of some of the most notorious fakes and forgeries of our time.

The thought-provoking exhibition opened on “April Fool’s Day” and will run through January 7, 2018.

“Treasures on Trial” includes 40 examples of fakes and forgeries associated with masters such as Henry Matisse, Coco Chanel, Paul Revere, Antonio Stradivari, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and others. The pieces on display have been drawn from the Winterthur Collection and public and private sources.

The exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to view a broad range of works that provide a rather startling view of the scope and sophistication of the counterfeiting market – including fine art, sports memorabilia, couture clothing, wine and antique furniture.

Winterthur’s other featured exhibition “Embroidery: The Language of Art” looks at how the creation of embroidered objects fits into the changing definitions of art, craft, and design throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The exhibition will be open through June 2, 2017.

Admission to Winterthur is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $5 for children.

Wildflower, Native Plant & Seed Sale

The Brandywine River Museum (Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org) hosts a number of special events each year. One of the most popular is the annual “Wildflower, Native Plant & Seed Sale.”

The well-attended annual event will be held on May 13 and 14 on the Museum’s grounds along the banks of the Brandywine Creek in Chadds Ford.

Visitors to the “Wildflower, Native Plant & Seed Sale” will be able to select items from a wide array of categories and varieties. No plants are collected from the wild and most of them are propagated by Conservancy volunteers.

Many of the plants and seeds on sale at this weekend’s event are difficult — and some are impossible — to find in retail garden centers. Organically grown vegetable plants from Two Gander Farm will also be available.

As an added attraction, Conservancy staff and volunteers will be available to answer questions and provide planting and horticultural information.

All proceeds from the sale benefit the Conservancy’s diverse and beautiful gardens. Admission to the plant sale is free.

Usually, the Wilmington Flower Market, which is held in early May every year, is an event that almost always seems to bring wet weather. So, it comes as no surprise that rain showers have already hit on May 11, the event’s opening day.

This year, the 97th Annual Wilmington Flower Market returns to Rockford Park (Park Drive, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-995-5699, www.wilmingtonflowermarket.org) will continue on May 12 and 13.

The Flower Market, which always runs in conjunction with Mother’s Day, benefits over 50 children’s charities in Delaware.

The 2017 Wilmington Flower Market, which is free and open to the public, will be held Friday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. each day. As is the tradition, the event features crafts, booths, rides, food, fun, live entertainment and plenty of flowers.

The music line-up for May 12 features Jutaun, Jesse Ruben and For King and Country. On May 13, the festival will present Encore Dance, Olivia Rubini, B-Wellz,Michell Lee Williams, Troy Sneed, Sofi Tyler, TreeWalker, CommUnion and Joseph.

Fine Craft Fair

The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen offers a number of craft fairs throughout the state each year. One of the most popular fairs is scheduled for this weekend. Now through May 14, the Guild will present the Fine Craft Fair (Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, 717-431-8706, www.pacrafts.org).

Through a partnership with the Friends of Rittenhouse Square and in conjunction with the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen will bring its signature premier Fine Craft Fair to the scenic park in Center City Philadelphia.

Founded in 1944 at the recommendation of Eleanor Roosevelt, the Pennsylvania Guild is one of the nation’s largest and most recognized craft guilds, specializing in the advocacy and support of more than 1,400 members whose handwork is known for its unparalleled skill and artistry.

Fine craft is often defined as the hand and mind transformation of raw materials into inspired works of art. The finished products may be either traditional or contemporary in style and design. This weekend’s event will feature more than 145 of the Guild’s finest craft artists.

The Fine Craft Fair, which is free and open to the public, will focus on hand-crafted jewelry, contemporary furniture, functional and decorative pottery, designer clothing, fine porcelain, blown glass, limited edition photography, sculpture, paintings, watercolors, oils, graphite and pastels.

There will be 150 white tent canopies lining the sidewalks of Rittenhouse Square’s park when the Guild returns to Philadelphia with its sixth juried Fine Craft Market. This year will also include an “Emerging Artist” section and a hands-on activity free for all ages, sponsored by the Guild workshop program.

According to Brandi Clark, executive director of the Guild, “Fine craft is a window to other places, other times, to the way the craftsmen see the world. There’s a story behind each creator and why they make what they do, why they make certain color or design choices. When you buy from them in person, you find out a wealth of detail that changes the way you look at the world.”

Fair hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free. Street and garage parking is readily available.

The Germantown Second Saturday Festival (http://www.freedomsbackyard.com) will be held on May 13 from noon-5 p.m. at Historic Market Square Park (Germantown Avenue and School House Lane, Germantown)

Historic Germantown and Germantown United CDC is beginning its 2017 Second Saturday series featuring all 16 Historic Germantown sites, which will be open monthly (May thru October).

The event highlights the many thriving cultural, civic and business activities that make Germantown an exciting place to visit.

Special attractions at Saturday’s event will be a special dance performance by The Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble, live music; an arts and crafts marketplace; historic re-enactors, family-friendly programs and free bus tours to Historic Germantown sites.

The roster of musical talent includes popular local artists Danie Ocean Band, Bethleham and Sad Patrick, Jim and Andrew Dragoni. Germantown resident Yolanda Wisher, the City of Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate, will host the festivities.

Chinese Lantern Festival

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.

Spruce Street Harbor Park

The “Opening Weekend Celebration” at Spruce Street Harbor Park (301 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, 215-922-2386, www.delawareriverwaterfront.com)is scheduled for May 12 and is free.

Named one of the best places to visit in Philadelphia by national press, Spruce Street Harbor Park features colorful hammocks, floating gardens, beautiful lights, refreshing craft beer, and food from popular Philly restaurants, making it a summer gathering space for locals and visitors alike.

More than 50 colorful handmade hammocks are strung throughout the park to create a relaxing place to spend summer days and nights. Located in the Marina at Penn’s Landing, the Oasis consists of three landscaped barges, a net lounge, and floating gardens.

This year, the park opens with the first-annual UNIVESTival from May 12-14 with fun activities both on and off the water.

There will be a tightrope and aerial show by Philly Circus, live music, a magic show and craft booths by local arts companies. The entertainment schedule features DJ King Britt on May 12, Son Little on May 13 and Trinidelphia on May 14.

The 14th annual Spring Art Star Craft Bazaar will be held on May 13 and 14 at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing (101 South Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia,www.artstarcraftbazaar.com).

More than 140 vendors will be selling their wares at the free two-day pop-up event along the Delaware River.

Shoppers can expect affordable and quality handmade goods such as pottery, jewelry, home goods, bath and body products, stationery, clothing, lighting, furniture, baby goods, pet accessories, bags, prints, and fine art.

The show will also feature live music by local bands who will be playing throughout the day on the River Stage at the Great Plaza.

Video link for Art Star Craft Bazaar — https://youtu.be/sq17QcTerPo.

Celebrate Pride Festival

From May 14-21, it will be time for the week-long New Hope and Lambertville “Celebrate Pride Festival.”

The event, which straddles the Delaware River from New Hope in Pennsylvania to Lambertville in New Jersey will kick off on May 14 with the “Rainbow Flag Day & Festival Opener” in New Hope and Pride “PIG OUT 2” in Lambertville.

The “Rainbow Flag Day & Festival Opener” will take place at 11:30 a.m. with the unfurling of the 15 x 25-foot Rainbow Equality Flag atop the historic Hotel building home of Starbucks.

Some of the other special events at the 14th annual staging of the event will be the “Lipstick Monday Pride Drag Show” on May 15, the “LGBT History Exhibit Opening Reception & Fundraiser” on May 16, “Bob’s Famous Open Mic Night! PRIDE!” on May 17, “Remembering Stonewall” on May 18, and “Pride Delaware River Cruise” on May 19.

May 20 will be the day with the major festivities – “Pride Parade,” “Pride Fair,” “Best Cocktail Contest Crawl,” Dena Underwood Live on Piano and “New Hope Celebrates Pride Dance Party at The Raven.”

Video link for “Celebrate Pride Festival” — https://youtu.be/kB1xsNRcIuE.

One of the more interesting traditional springtime events in Pennsylvania Dutch country is the Rough and Tumble Engineers Historical Association’s annual “Spring Stream Up” (Rough and Tumble, 4977 Lincoln Highway East, Kinzers, 717-442-4249, www.roughandtumble.org).

“Spring Steam-Up” is scheduled for May 12 and 13 from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. One of the highlights will be sessions of “Plowing with Steam and Gas Tractors.” This activity will be held only if weather is favorable to plow.

There will be a variety of displays featuring steam engines, gas engines, steam tractors, gas tractors and antique cars. Also featured will be a model shop, a saw mill, two steam trains and blacksmithing demonstrations at the museum’s blacksmith shop.

“Tractor Games” are scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m. A “Parade of Power” will be presented on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. followed by a “Garden Tractor Pull” immediately after the parade. A “Children’s Pedal Tractor Pull (35 lb – 80 lb)” will be held on Saturday at 1 p.m.

“Spring Steam-Up” is looked at as special event each year at Rough and Tumble — a time to get the steam engines out of hibernation and fire them up. It is also a time for the plowing to begin.

Video link for Spring Steam Up — https://youtu.be/p2mcLqqfKyk.

Tickets for “Spring Stream Up” are $5 for adults and $2 for children (ages 6-12).

The Ironmaster’s wife at the Joanna Furnace Iron Works (Furnace Road, Morgantown, http://www.haycreek.org/) will host the site’s 11th annual Victorian Tea on May 13 at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

This year, guests will participate in a program entitled “A Woman’s Place in Postwar Society,” which focuses on the roles women played in the years following the Civil War.

To demonstrate the ways women filled those voids, volunteers will present seamstress, nurse, laundress, and postmistress impressions as they would have appeared in Post-Civil War society.

The Victorian Tea service is a formal event that includes light fare and tea served on fine china and tables covered with pressed linens. Volunteers will dress in period clothing to greet and serve guests.

To follow the tradition of the Ironmaster’s family, the event is a “low tea” service. That means the tea service will include the same light fare the ironmaster’s wife would have served to her most important guests.

The term “low tea” means guests were seated at a low table, typically in the drawing room or sitting room of an estate. Volunteers will use traditional recipes to make the light fare which they will serve to guests – and teach guests about proper tea etiquette that was expected during low tea.

Guests are encouraged to wear their “Sunday Best.”  Victorian dress, gloves, and hats are optional. Admission for the Victorian Tea is $22.

   Send article as PDF   

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.