From Norristown to Philly to Cape May to Lewes, there's something for everyone this Memorial Day Weekend. WHYY's Robin Bloom shares her picks.
Memorial Day Weekend Fun
The PHAIR Pop-Up 3 day open air artisan market comes to the Oval Thursday, May 22, 5pm-9pm, Friday, May 23, 5pm-9pm, and Saturday, May 24, 12pm-7pm with a wide variety of art and handmade vendors, food trucks, live music, and the Claymobile, at Eakins Oval, Ben Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. Free and open to the public.
Picnic at the Race Street Pier is this Friday, May 23, 6pm-10pm, as the pier is transformed into public picnic grounds with blankets, music, lawn games and free food and drinks (free picnic baskets for the first 20 guests). Delaware River Maritime Day is Saturday, May 24, 10am-6pm, with exhibits, demonstrations, vendors, tours of the SUNY Maritime College's training ship the Empire State VI and the dredger boat The McFarland, competitive boat races, swan and kayak rides and more, Great Plaza. Free and open to the public. On Sunday, May 25, Jam on the River returns to the River Stage at Great Plaza after several years, welcoming the "unofficial" start to summer with Lotus (pictured), GRiZ, Papadosio, Conspirator, Zoogma and Grimace Federation. Memorial Dei 2014 is Monday, May 26, 11am-10:30pm, with live music, food, craft beer and more at Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church, Columbus Boulevard and Christian Street.
The grand opening of Morris Arboretum's popular summer Garden Railway Display is this weekend with the theme "Who Lives Here?," 16 new dwellings (celebrating 16 years) with clues built into each home to engage young and old in figuring out who resides in each structure, created with natural materials, on a quarter-mile track, nestled among woody plants and colorful flowers in the Arboretum's garden, 100 Northwestern Avenue, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia. Grand opening celebration is Saturday, May 24, 1-3pm, with children's activities and free ice cream. Special upcoming weekends include Circus Week, June 28 through July 6 and August 23 through September 1, and Thomas the Train Engine & Friends Weekend, July 12-13 and August 2-3.
Head to the other side of the river for the Camden Children's Garden's annual Fit & Fun Family Festival, highlighting easy and fun ideas for a healthy lifestyle, with music, crafts, a veggie make-n-take planting activity and educational activities that support healthy living, Saturday and Sunday, May 24 & 25, 1-4pm, 3 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ.
The National Constitution Center pays tribute to the men and women who have given their lives in defense of the Constitution and its legacy of freedom with activities that explore how Americans today honor our military heroes this Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 24 through Monday, May 26, with special shows, flag etiquette workshops, flag ceremonies, flag folding activity, karaoke, make and take crafts and more, included with museum admission, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia. On Tuesday, May 27, 6:30pm, Vietnam veteran turned U.S. Senator James Webb visits.
Historic Philadelphia offers special weekend activities including the brand new Colonial for a Day - offering visitors the chance to dress in authentic 18th century costumes (pictured), Liberty 360 3D Show in the PECO Theater, and one of a kind tours of Independence Hall after hours, 6th & Chestnut Streets. Meet Betsy Ross and see a flag raising, daily starting Saturday, May 24. Also, storytelling at Once Upon a Nation benches, Military Muster, Declaration Reading, Navigating Night: Life after Dark in Colonial Philadelphia exhibit, and more in Old City, Philadelphia.
The Wildwoods International Kite Festival returns this weekend, Friday, May 23 through Monday, May 26, called the largest kite festival in North America, as kite makers from around the world showcase their creations. Events include an illuminated kite fly, kite exhibits, workshops, auction, competition, mass ascension, and more, taking place inside the Wildwoods Convention Center and on the beach at Rio Grande Avenue in Wildwood, NJ.
Longwood Gardens welcomes summer with the annual Fireworks and Fountains, kicking off this weekend with illuminated fountain shows, fireworks and concerts scheduled throughout the summer. Big Band & Broadway starts things off on May 24 and Celebrate America returns on July 4. Additional shows include A Touch of Classical: Tchaikovsky, Abbacadabra: The Magic of ABBA, Rachmaninoff: Power & Passion, and Ladies & Gentlemen...The Beatles. Includes all day admission to the Gardens. Enjoy the new Meadow Garden, opening June 13 with 3 miles of walking trails, learning pavilions, a restored farmhouse, wildflower plantings and more, Route 1, Kennett Square, PA. Grab a Treasure Trail Passport for admission to 11 Brandywine Valley attractions, valid May 24 through September 1. Includes map.
The 43rd annual Antiques Show returns to the Brandywine River Museum of Art this Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-26, with over thirty prominent antiques dealers showcasing a variety of American and English furniture, glass, folk art, quilts, and other fine collectibles. Events include dealer talks, a preview reception, Friday, May 23, a Saturday, May 24 breakfast and tour of the new exhibit, "Wilhelm Schimmel: A Bold Piece of Work," featuring hand-carved wooden sculptures by the German immigrant who lived and worked in Cumberland County, PA, on display through June 22 at U.S. Route 1, Chadds Ford, PA. Grab a Treasure Trail Passport for admission to 11 Brandywine Valley attractions, valid May 24 through September 1. Includes map.
Delaware By Hand Spring Show
The Biggs Museum of American Art hosts the 9th annual Delaware By Hand Spring Show, spotlighting the First State's fine arts and crafts community, Saturday, May 24, 10am-4pm, in the park at the Zwaanendael Museum, Lewes, DE, featuring a wide array of works for sale by 50 artists including furniture, wood, metal, glass, ceramics, photography, fiber, sculpture, baskets, printmaking, jewelry and painting.
Head south for the Cape May Music Festival, celebrating 25 years with offerings from orchestral and chamber music to jazz, brass band, and Irish music. Artists include McDermott's Handy performing traditional Irish Music, as well as classics from the Bay-Atlantic Symphony, Atlantic Brass Band, the New York Chamber Ensemble and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players. Bach's Lunches, mini-concerts offered by members of the Bay-Atlantic symphony, offer an alternate intimate environment where concert goers can enjoy afternoon concerts and elegant tea luncheons. Jazz at the Emlen Physick Estate & A Night in New Orleans featuring Kermit Ruffins are in collaboration with the Exit 0 International Jazz Festival. The Festival kicks off Sunday, May 25 through Thursday, June 12 at various venues in Cape May, NJ. Presented by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC).
"The Screwtape Letters" at Lantern Theater Company
Lantern Theater Company explores the philosophical and visceral landscape of Hell with a revisiting of C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, closing out their 20th anniversary season, May 27-June 15. The multimedia adaptation by Philadelphia actor and playwright Anthony Lawton incorporates tap dancing, fire-eating and whip-work to illustrate the seven deadly sins in Screwtape's poetic letters. The satire stars Lawton along with Sarah Gliko as Toadpipe the secretary, at St. Stephen's Theater, 10th & Ludlow Streets, Philadelphia. Related program and events include post-show discussions on June 1 and June 8 and open caption performance on June 13.
11th Hour Theatre Company's "Altar Boyz"
11th Hour Theatre Company satirizes the phenomenon of boy bands and the popularity of Christian-themed music in contemporary American culture with the hit musical Altar Boyz. The joyful comedy about a fictitious Christian boy-band on the last night of their tour tells the heartfelt story of temptations being tested and young boys discovering their place in fame and fortune. Directed by Megan Nicole O'Brien and starring Robert Hager, Adam Hoyak, Billy Kametz, Michael Linden, and Nicholas Park, and onstage through June 1 at The Arts Bank at the University of the Arts, Broad and South Streets, Philadelphia.
Neil Simon's "Chapter Two" at Bucks County Playhouse
Onstage at Bucks County Playhouse is Neil Simon's Chapter Two, the funny and touching comedy about love the second time around. Marsha Mason (who starred in the 1979 film) directs an all-star cast including Joey Slotnick, Anastasia Griffith, Nadia Bowers, and Michael Nathanson, through June 15 at 70 South Main Street, New Hope, PA. BCP is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
"The 39 Steps" at Theatre Horizon
Theatre Horizon takes on Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, a zany adaptation by Patrick Barlow. The Tony and Drama Desk award-winning gem is a quirky take on the Hitchcock classic 1935 whodunit spy film that combines suspense, comedy, and treachery to entice and entertain audiences. Four actors play over 150 characters with quick change scenarios. Directed by Matt Pfeiffer (of Theatre Exile) and starring Philadelphia favorites Genevieve Perrier, Steve Pacek, Damon Bonetti, and Adam Altman at 401 DeKalb Street (Arts Hill), Norristown, PA.
Passage Theatre Company's "Tamer of Horses"
Passage Theatre Company stages a new version of Tamer of Horses by Trenton native and playwright William Mastrosimone. The play about Hector (Reynaldo Piniella), an illiterate runaway who finds shelter in a barn owned by a black couple (Edward O'Blenis and Lynette R. Freeman) on a rural farm in New Jersey, won the NAACP Award for Best Play of 1987 and originally premiered at The Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick in 1985. Through excerpts from Homer's The Iliad and the kindness of strangers, Hector is inspired to learn and grow. Directed by Adam Immerwahr, the production is already extended through June 8, Mill Hill Playhouse, 205 E. Front Street, Trenton, NJ.
Rothko to Richter: Mark-Making in Abstract Painting from the Haskell Collection
Princeton University Art Museum explores the fascinating intricacies and evolution of abstract painting from the mid to late 20th century with Rothko to Richter: Mark-Making in Abstract Painting from the Haskell Collection, opening this weekend. The exhibit provides an exclusive look at 27 paintings by significant American and European artists who pushed the limits of experimentation, including Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Mark Rothko, Frank Stella, Joan Mitchell, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell, and Jean Dubuffet. On loan from the collection of Princeton alum Preston H. Haskell III and accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, through October 5, Princeton, NJ. Pictured: Midday by Hans Hofmann (1956).
Fabric Workshop & Museum's Philadelphia Photographers – 3 solo exhibitions
Fabric Workshop and Museum offers internationally renowned artists the resources to create new work in experimental materials in all media and focuses its spring exhibition on the work of three Philadelphia Photographers - Will Brown, David Graham, and Ray K. Metzker. Brown's street photography is on display through July 20 at 1214 Arch Street, First Floor, Philadelphia. Graham's colorful, surreal and sometimes bizarre depictions of American landscape and culture as well as Metzker's black-and-white cityscape and landscape images can be seen through late summer at the New Temporary Contemporary, 1222 Arch Street, Philadelphia. Pictured: David Graham's National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, Hayward, Wisconsin.
Last chance to see "Treasures from Korea"
There's still time to catch Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392-1910, the first comprehensive survey in the United States devoted to the art of an era that profoundly shaped the culture of Korea, on display through this Monday, Memorial Day, May 26. The Philadelphia Museum of Art was the first and only East Coast venue for more than 150 works on view (many that are unlikely to travel to the U.S. again), drawn primarily from the collection of the National Museum of Korea, along with loans from public and private collections. Featured objects include ritual vessels, ceramics, illustrated books, metalwork, ceremonial screen paintings, sculpture, lacquer, furniture, costumes, textiles, photographs, and national treasures that are new to American audiences. The exhibit is accompanied by a fully illustrated scholarly catalogue, Ben Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.
Tricia Whiting contributed reporting to this week's Guide.