What To Do: Spring — no really — is finally here (probably)

By Denny DyroffEntertainment Editor, The Times


If spring in the Delaware Valley this year were a baby in the womb, the doctors would surely have been working on induced labor by now. The vestiges of a long, grueling winter refuse to go away and spring continues a rectangle to emerge.

According to the latest weather forecasts, warmer temperatures are on their way.

A good way to celebrate the belated arrival of spring is a visit to Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library(Route 52 just south of the Pennsylvania state line, Wilmington, Delaware, 800-448-3883, http://www.winterthur.org).

Follies: Architectural Whimsy in the Garden” is a new attraction that opened on April 1 – which is fitting because the nature of the attraction almost seems like a joke.

An outdoor attraction, “Follies: Architectural Whimsy in the Garden” offers visitors a one-mile track they can ride through on trams or walk in about 45 minutes. Along the track, they will see the 13 follies, which include a Chinese house, a Gothic-inspired tower, a fiery red Ottoman tent, and Winterthur’s own fairie cottage — all set within Henry Francis du Pont’s majestic garden.
Follies are architectural constructions, often extravagant or picturesque, positioned within the landscape to amuse, frame a view, or pique your curiosity. Henry Francis du Pont, who developed Winterthur’s expansive gardens from 1902-1969, was familiar with follies throughout America and Europe and incorporated several into his own garden plans.

The follies at Winterthur are positioned so that visitors can observe them – up-close or from the tram – and, at the same time, scope out 75 acres of Winterthur’s colorful gardens.

The new follies include: Needle’s Eye—Inspired by a folly constructed in the 18th century in Yorkshire, England, the Needle’s Eye floats on a pond adjacent to Winterthur’s main drive, creating reflections in the water and capturing visitors’ interest as they enter the estate; Neoclassical Folly—Modeled after the portico, or entrance, to a Greek temple or public building, this is and is a common design in garden architecture. The formality of the structure contrasts sharply with Winterthur’s meadow surrounding it; Mirrored Folly—This mirror-clad building reflects the surrounding Pinetum and is inspired by the porte cochère (covered entrance) of Winterthur’s historic train station; Ottoman Tent—An interpretation of a Turkish tent, reflecting the fashion for tents and other decorative arts inspired by the Ottoman Empire, this folly is similar to examples of 18th-century exotic tents can be seen in England, France, and Northern Europe, preserved in museums and gardens; Gothic Tower—A Gothic-inspired folly that is similar to the towers, sham castles, and fake ruins, these were very popular in European landscapes in the 1700s and 1800s. These towers would be highly visible and would give a sense of age and importance to the property; Chinese Pavilion—This structure is inspired by the Chinese House at Stowe Landscape Garden in Buckinghamshire, England. Stowe’s Chinese House is an example of the 18th-century fascination with Chinese objects and ornament. The illustrations on the exterior of Winterthur’s Chinese Pavilion are selections taken from the wallpaper in the Chinese Parlor, which visitors can see on a tour of the house; and Green Folly—Constructed using Winterthur tree trunks, beech twig thatching, and other woodland embellishments, this folly features plant materials from the Winterthur estate and was designed to reflect the spirit of the garden.

The existing follies in the Winterthur Garden are: Latimeria Summerhouse—Set in Winterthur’s Peony Garden, this pagoda-topped gazebo was saved from destruction by Henry Francis du Pont from the Latimeria estate in Wilmington and installed in the garden in 1929; Umbrella Seat and Pagoda Gate—Also from Latimeria, these charming objects greet visitors as they enter the garden from the path from the Visitor Center; 1750 House—Henry Francis du Pont relocated the façade of a historic house from New Castle, Delaware, to Winterthur in the 1960s. The structure presides over the Conservatory lawn and borders Azalea Woods; Brick Lookout—This little building is an example of how Henry Francis du Pont repurposed architectural elements. It once served as a shed at the entrance court for the museum in the 1940s and 1950s. When a new brick folly was built in the 1960s and placed on Sycamore Hill, the shed’s tin roof and cast iron eagle were moved to cap the structure; Bristol Summerhouse—Located atop Sycamore Hill and presenting sweeping vistas of the property, this summerhouse was re-created by Henry Francis du Pont in the 1960s based on a structure he had seen at The Lindens in Bristol, Rhode Island; and Faerie Cottage—This folly is constructed with repurposed items from the estate, including iron and stone elements from earlier gardens. The Faerie Cottage is located in Enchanted Woods, a unique children’s garden created for children of all ages to enjoy and explore.

“Follies: Architectural Whimsy in the Garden” will be open daily through January 5, 2020. Winterthur opens daily at 10 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday. During the exhibition, the garden will be open until dusk. Tickets are included with admission, which is $20 adults, $18 students and seniors, and $6 children (ages 2-11).

On April 28, there will be an event in downtown Kennett Square that its organizers describe as “a sweet little art community event in beautiful historic Kennett Square.”

The event is officially known as “Artists on the Square” and it will run from noon-5 p.m.  in the area bordered by South Broad Street, Apple Alley and Sycamore Alley.

The art show features a variety of artists who work in painting, abstract, illustration, jewelry, garden, henna, and “Faerie Hair.”

Other attractions include sidewalk chalk art, kids’ activities, the KBC Beer Garden, the “Student Art on the Square Art Show” and live music.

“Sheep and Wool Day” at Springton Manor Farm (860 Springton Road, Glenmoore, 610-942-2450, www.chesco.org/ccparks) is an event that has become a popular annual spring tradition in Chester County.

This year’s “Sheep and Wool Day” is a free family event that will be held on April 28 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Visitors will be able to observe demonstrations of sheep shearing along with weaving and spinning demonstrations.

The well-attended annual event will also feature a crafts area with family games, wagon rides, farm displays, face painting, a corn crib, artisan displays, kids’ crafts and period games and more than 20 food and craft vendors.

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s Mobile Agriculture Education Science Lab will offer hands-on learning about food, farming and other agriculture-related products.

Visitors can also check out the young animals in Springton Manor Farm’s Great Barn and tour the Agricultural Museum to learn about seasonal tools used on Chester County farms from the 1700s to the 1900s.

The Chester County Master Gardeners will hold a plant sale with vegetables, herbs and native plants, and the Chester County Food Bank will showcase their partnership with Springton Manor with its onsite Outdoor Classroom.

Throughout the day, Ridley Creek State Park’s Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation will demonstrate butter making, spinning and dyeing.

There will also be demonstrations of spinning, weaving and knitting by Lancaster Spinners & Weavers Guild and Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers and rug hooking with Brandywine Rug Hooking Guild.

Chester County 4-H Clubs will provide animal exhibits including ponies, milking goats, cows and swine. Chester County Animal Response Team will demonstrate how they prepare for emergencies and disasters affecting animals. Chester County Library will conduct three-legged races and egg and spoon toss games. Meet Smokey the Bear, play in the corn cribs, make sand art, have your face painted, and appreciate the significance of the tractors.

Items for sale by craft vendors include jewelry, bird houses, soaps and lotions, felt and wool products, jellies, photography, tote bags and more.

There will be a $5 fee for parking.

There will be two other nature-related special events at Chester County parks this weekend.

On April 29, Warwick Park (382 County Park Road, Pottstown, 610-469-1916) will host a “Wildflower Hike.”

The event, which is slated to start at 10 a.m., will focus on wildflowers in bloom. Visitors taking part in this easy hike will be able to see Warwick’s wide variety of spring flowers along the Horse Shoe Trail.

Also on April 29, Nottingham Park (150 Park Road, Nottingham, 610-932-2589) will present an activity called “Beauty of the Barrens.”

At the event, which starts at 1 p.m., guests can listen to the tale of geologic drama that gave birth to globally-rare serpentine soils, including those in Nottingham County Park.

They will be able to learn why this soil exists and how its shallow, mineral-laden composition in turn formed into delicate-yet hardy native grasses and wildflowers.

On April 29, Norristown Farm Park (West Germantown Pike and Barley Sheaf Drive, 2500 Upper Farm Road, Norristown, 610-270-0215, www.montcopa.org) will host a “Full Moon Hike” starting at 7:15 p.m.

Participants will be able to find out why April’s full moon is sometimes called the pink moon or the fish moon. The full moon name is applied to the entire month and is often tied in to what is happening in nature. This will be a meandering walk to enjoy the sounds and smells of spring.

On May 2 at 8 a.m., the park, which is located in the West End of the county seat of Montgomery County, will present “Morning Bird Walk with Kevin.”

Warblers and other songbirds that have spent the winter in southern climates are arriving daily. The only time of the year you can see and hear many of the warbler species is during migration. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars.

On April 29, Mt. Cuba Center (3120 Barley Mill Road, Hockessin, Delaware, 302-239-4244, www.mtcubacenter.org) is hosting an event called “Wildflower Celebration” from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Visitors to Mt. Cuba can enjoy a magnificent display of spring ephemerals at the Center’s annual celebration of the season. Guests can stroll through the native plant gardens at the peak of their glory and enjoy live music, gardening activities, and family programming. A variety of food selections are available for purchase and the first 1,000 families receive a free native plant.

Some of the event’s featured attractions are “Butterfly Creation Station,” “Native Orchids of Delaware,” “Straight Talk on Trees,” “Build-A-Flower,” “The Mulch Pit,” “Nature Play,” and “Tadpole Viewing Station.”

Live Music will be provided by Flatland Drive Bluegrass Band and Matthew Smith. Other entertainment will be “Children’s Storytime” and a “Tree Climbing Demonstration.”
Free parking for this event is at 1003 Old Wilmington Road, just east of Brackenville Road. From the parking area, shuttle buses and a walking path provide access to the garden. Due to the rolling terrain and mulched paths at Mt. Cuba Center, the use of wheelchairs is limited. Pets are

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) has “Spring Blooms” running through May 26. Visitors can enjoy hundreds of lush acres featuring burgeoning gardens of daffodils, tulips, magnolias, azaleas, flowering cherries and more than 240,000 flowering bulbs.

In the indoor part of “Spring Blooms”, lilies, delphiniums, hydrangeas and other spring blossoms fill the conservatory with color. Also featured are Longwood’s grand treehouses, whimsical Topiary Garden, and colorful Idea Garden.

Daily visitor programs, including gardening demonstrations, behind-the-scenes tours, and talks add to Longwood’s charms. Children will enjoy the many activities in the outdoor Children’s Area, and the imaginative fun of the Indoor Children’s Garden.

If you’re wondering what’s in bloom right now, the list includes Hoop-petticoat Daffodil, Rehmannia, Darwin Hybrid Tulip, Orchid, Virginia Bluebells, Nasturtium, Aechmea, Foxglove, Big Leaf Hydrangea, and Double Weeping Higan Cherry.

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $23 for adults, $20 for seniors and $12 for students.

Delaware Museum of Natural History (4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-658-9111, www.delmnh.org) is hosting a special “Arbor Day Celebration” on April 28 from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

The museum is inviting visitors to come join in a celebration of trees. Participants can walk through the woods and learn about why trees are so important, ways to identify trees, how trees grow, tasty treats we get from trees, tree arts and crafts and much more.

 M. LaBare Certified Arborist and Verdant Plant Health Care will plant a large Dawn Redwood at noon and can answer questions about how to plant your own tree or what to look for in a planting contractor.

The museum’s special outdoor Story Time features “The Tree Lady” by H. Joseph Hopkins, one of this year’s Longwood Gardens Community Read featured books.

This event is free with paid admission to the Museum. Admission to the museum is $9 with tickets for seniors priced at $8 and toddlers admitted for $3.

The Yellow Springs Art Show got its start back in 1973 as a free event featuring a variety of artists displaying their work on clotheslines.

It has changed immeasurably since then and has become one of the largest and most prestigious annual art shows in the Delaware Valley.

The Yellow Springs Art Show, which is still free and open to the public, is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. The popular annual event now features more than 185 participating artists — including more than 20 artists who are new to the show this year.

The show is running April 28 through May 13 in Historic Yellow Springs Lincoln Building (Art School Road, Chester Springs, 610-827-7414 or www.yellowsprings.org). Show hours are from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.

The 2018 Yellow Springs Art Show will have on display over 3,000 pieces of fine art in a wide range of media and styles – oils, watercolors, bronze sculptures, pastels, landscapes, still life, three-dimensional works, seascapes and abstract.

All proceeds benefit arts education, environmental protection and historic preservation of the 300-year-old village of Historic Yellow Springs.

If you’re looking for something different in films, you’ll be able to it at this weekend’s 14th Annual West Chester Film Festival (484-639-9237, www.westchesterfilmfestival.com).

The highly-respected film festival will run from April 27-29 at a variety of locations around downtown West Chester. Tickets are $10 per two-hour block of films — $7 with Senior Citizen or valid Student I.D.

There is also a “Festival Pass” for $55 which lets you into as many film blocks as you can handle.

The mission of the West Chester Film Festival is “to entertain, enlighten and educate the public through the presentation of global independent and innovative short film and interactive workshops by hosting an annual International Short Film Festival.”

The organizers’ short-term goal is to present a self-sustaining annual film festival.

The festival will feature works in a variety of film genres, including comedy, documentary, experimental/art, animation and drama. Entries have been submitted from all over the world, including works by filmmakers from Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States.

The 2018 edition of the festival will present approximately 100 independent short films — all of which are 30 minutes or less in length. The three-day event will include film screenings, interactive workshops and social events.

Activity gets underway at 5 p.m. on April 27 with the “Opening Night Party” at The Social (117 East Gay Street, West Chester).

The well-attended annual event will be screening short films and hosting festival events at two venues in downtown West Chester — Chester County Historical Society (225 North High Street) and Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts (226 North High Street).

In addition to just viewing films, those attending the festival will be able to get the inside story behind the films by talking with the filmmakers. The festival will present lectures and workshops by industry professionals along with the annual “Filmmakers Meet and Greet” on April 28 at 5:30 p.m. at Pietro’s Prime (125 West Market Street).

On April 28 and 29, Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-388-6221, www.chaddsford.com) is hosting an event called “Baconfest.”

This fan-favorite event is back by popular demand for a fourth year and is sure to make any bacon lover’s dreams come true.

Visitors can enjoy an abundance of pork-centric culinary creations, prepared by some of the best food trucks in the bacon business, then quench their thirst with a variety of tasty Chaddsford wines.

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

The first 1,000 visitors each day will receive a free keepsake wine glass and exclusive coupon towards a wine purchase. And, every visitor will have the opportunity to take a picture with Wilbur — the eight-foot pig statue. 

The schedule for live music is – April 28: Matt’s Machine with Neil McGettigan from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and Larry Roney from 3:30-6:30 p.m., and April 29: The Road Tapes from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and Slim and The Perkolators from 3-6 p.m.

On April 28, walking can be good for you and good for the animals of the Brandywine Valley SPCA. That’s because Sunday is the day for the BVSPCA’s 31st Annual Walk for Paws at West Goshen Community Park (1023 Fern Hill Road, West Chester, www.ccspca.org).

The Walk for Paws is one of the local SPCA’s most important fund-raising events. All proceeds benefit animals, programs and services at the Chester County SPCA. Because fund-raising is the goal, the organizers encourage everyone to gather pledges and win prizes.

This year’s Walk for Paws combines the traditional walk with festival fun for everyone in the family.

Festival events include a beer garden, food trucks, local vendors, games for dogs and introductions to the SPCA’s adoptable animals. Activities geared for youngsters include face painting, kids’ games and live entertainment.

A 5K Run will be held at this year’s Walk for Paws event, which will also include the traditional mile-long walk and family-friendly outdoor festival.

Participants can also register in person on the day of the event. Registration for the 5k run opens at 7 a.m. and the race begins at 8 a.m. Registration for the mile-long walk and festival opens at 9 a.m. and walkers depart at 10 a.m.

Video link for “Walk for Paws” — https://youtu.be/HDQcs7nwmUA.

Registration fee for the walk is $25 for adults, $15 for children (ages 6-17) and $30 for runners.

The Seventh Annual Center City Jazz Festival (http://ccjazzfest.com/) is scheduled for April 28 from 1-7 p.m. and one ticket allows participants to have access to more than 20 bands that are scheduled to play throughout the day.

The popular annual festival, which is part of Philly Celebrates Jazz, will feature six hours of live performances at five downtown locations which are all within walking distance of each other.

The Center City Jazz Festival will take place at Franky Bradley’s (1320 Chancellor Street), Chris’ Jazz Café (1421 Sansom Street), Fergie’s Pub (Upstairs, 1214 Sansom Street), Milkboy Philadelphia (Upstairs, 1100 Chestnut Street) and TIME Restaurant (1315 Sansom Street).

Philadelphia has an extraordinary jazz heritage, beginning with Ethel Waters and extending to John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Stan Getz, the Heath Brothers, Dizzie Gillespie, Sun Ra, McCoy Tyner, Grover Washington Jr. and other music luminaries, all of whom set the stage for the vibrant jazz scene the City still enjoys today.

The goal of Philly Celebrates Jazz is to further stimulate the current jazz scene and encourage people of all ages to participate and support institutional jazz programs.

The schedules for the venues are: Fergie’s Pub — 1:00-2:00 V. Shayne Frederick, 2:30-3:30 Diane Monroe & Tony Miceli Duo, 4:00-5:00 Lena Seikaly, and 5:30-6:30 Ken Fowser; Milkboy-Philadelphia — 1:00-2:00 Luke O’Reilly, 2:30-3:30 Dai Miyazaki, 4:00-5:00 Marcus Strickland And Twi-Life Delta, and 5:30-6:30 BIGYUKI; Chris’ Jazz Café — 1:15-2:15 Nicole Saphos, 2:45-3:45 Sharel Cassity, 4:15-5:15 Arturo Stable, and 5:45-6:45 Dave Kikoski; Franky Bradley’s — 1:30-2:30 Ella Gahnt, 3:00-4:00 Lucas Brown Quartet, 4:30-5:30 Yuhan Su, and 6:00-7:00 Danny Janklow ; and Time Restaurant — 1:45-2:45 Yesseh Furaha-Ali, 3:15-4:15 Dave Manley, 4:45-5:45 Chrome Els, and 6:15-7:15 Jeff Bradshaw Quartet.

Gilbert & Sullivan and the Ardensingers go together like tortilla chips and salsa or ham and cheese — and they have the history to prove it.

The Ardensingers have been presenting the works of Gilbert & Sullivan continuously since 1948 at their historic Gild Hall (2126 The Highway, Arden, Delaware, 484-319-2350, www.ardensingers.com).

From April 27-May 5, the Ardensingers are performing Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Patience” — one of the team’s legendary musical comedies.

“Patience,” which is also known as “Bunthorne’s Bride,” is a comic opera in two acts with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. The opera is a satire on the aesthetic movement of the 1870s and ’80s in England and, more broadly, on fads, superficiality, vanity, hypocrisy and pretentiousness; it also satirizes romantic love, rural simplicity and military bluster.

First performed at the Opera Comique, London, in April 1881, “Patience” moved to the Savoy Theatre in October 1881, where it was the first theatrical production in the world to be lit entirely by electric light.

Here’s the story of “Patience” — Just one year ago the young ladies in the village were engaged to soldiers in the 35th Dragoon Guards, but they’ve since embraced “aestheticism” and have lost their hearts to the “fleshly” poet, Reginald Bunthorne.  In a private moment, Bunthorne reveals that he’s actually an aesthetic sham, but craves the attention he receives as a poet. 

He’s in love with the simple village milk-maid, Patience.  When the Dragoon Guards arrive in the village on leave, they’re bewildered by the change of circumstances, and the equilibrium is further upset by the arrival of an “idyllic” poet, Archibald Grosvenor, who was a childhood friend of Patience. 

With two poets as rivals, the Dragoon Guards determine to become “aesthetic”, too, if that’s what it takes to win the women’s hearts.  In typical G&S fashion, everybody is paired with a suitable partner by the end of the play.  It is a light-hearted spoof of all who take their art a little too seriously.

Performances are scheduled for April 21, 22, 28 and 29 at 8 p.m. and April 23 and 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $7 for children.

On April 28, the American Swedish Historical Museum (1900 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-389-1776, www.americanswedish.org) is hosting Spring Ting Dinner & Auction 2018.

The special fundraiser features a silent auction, a three-course Swedish dinner and a talk by Outstanding Achievement Award recipient, Swedish journalist Carina Bergfeldt.

The event will run from 6-9 p.m.

Founded in 1926, the American Swedish Historical Museum in South Philadelphia is the oldest Swedish museum in the United States. 1926 marked the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and Americans from all backgrounds were celebrating their heritage and their contributions to the United States of America. The museum’s founder, Dr. Amandus Johnson inspired a group of committed, successful Swedish-Americans to build the Museum as a permanent monument to Swedish contributions in the United States.

The Museum is located on land that was once part of a seventeenth-century land grant from Queen Christina of Sweden to Swedish colonist, Sven Skute. The Museum’s architect, Swedish-American John Nydén, combined architectural features from three prominent edifices in his design. He modeled the main building after a seventeenth-century Swedish manor house, Eriksberg in Södermanland. The copper cupola atop the building is inspired by the one on Stockhlom’s City Hall, and the arcades which flank the Museum are patterned after those at George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon.

The Museum’s 20,000 square foot interior is currently divided into twelve exhibition galleries, reference library, curatorial storage and archives, offices, museum store, large dining room/conference area and kitchen.

On May 2, the Garden Bros Circus will visit the area for a four-performance run at Santander Arena, 700 Penn Street, Reading,   www.gardenbroscircus.com).

The 2018 tour features an all-new Garden Bros Circus show.

This year’s production is packed with breathtaking special effects, concert style lighting and three rings filled with excitement, laughter and memories that families will cherish.

The circus has brought the very best performers from 18 countries to make a cast of more than 60 performers. Garden Bros Circus presents a fast-paced 90-minute show in a theatrical European three-ring setting.

The list of performances includes the Human Pyramid, elephants, daring aerial artists, six motorcycles in the Sphere of Fear, the “Crazy Cossack Horse Riders,” Chinese acrobats, death-defying Trapeze, contortionists, clowns, and jugglers.

Performance times are 4:30 and 7:30 each day. Ticket prices are $25 for adults and $10 for children (ages 3-13).

Anyone who is into comic books, action figures, anime, trading cards, Cosplay or pop culture in general should make plans to attend this weekend’s Great Philadelphia Comic Con, which is being held now through April 29 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (Station Avenue, Oaks, www.philadelphiacomiccon.com).

The fourth annual GPCC is the largest independent comic and pop culture convention in eastern Pennsylvania and is being hosted by the same organization which has run The Great Allentown Comic Con for the past eight years.

Some of the names on the show’s huge roster of special guests are Brent Spiner, Val Kilmer, Nafessa Williams, Claudia Christian, Brimstone, Taylor Gray and Romy Sharf. A wide array of authors and artists will be participating in the three-day event along with a slew of cosplay idols.

Show hours are from 3-8 p.m. on April 27, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on April 28 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on April 29. Tickets are $25 on Friday, $45 on Saturday and $30 on Sunday. Three-day passes are $59.95.

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