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July 22, 2014

This Week At The Oval: Our Top Picks For Events, Classes And Entertainment At The Pop-Up Park On The Parkway, July 23-27

The Oval Philadelphia

Visit The Oval, a transformed surface parking lot on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, this week for free movies, classes and daily fun. (Photos by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

Seeking fun in Philadelphia’s summer sun? The Oval has you covered like SPF 45.

The pop-up park on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is open Wednesday through Sunday through August 17, and has a full calendar of free daily educational programming, tons of free live entertainment, a daily lineup of food trucks and an awesome beer garden.

Each day, the agenda revolves around a theme: Wednesday are all about wellness, Thursdays focus on arts and culture, Fridays are for food and flicks, Saturdays bring game day and Sunday is for family fun.

This week, alfresco games are high on the agenda with a bocce league and free boot camp classes, plus the weekly beer garden brings cold brews for the over-21 set Wednesday through Saturday.

Remember, there are food trucks on-site at The Oval Wednesday through Friday, too, so no worries about accessible snacks (but we recommend bringing cash).

For our complete overview of the action at The Oval, check here. For a complete schedule of the multitude of daily events, check the online calendar.

Read on for our top picks of not-to-miss happenings at The Oval this week.

Boot Camp Class: Wednesday, July 23, 6-7 p.m. Sure, the beer garden is enticing, but why not start your Wednesday evening with a work out. The fitness-minded folks at Free Fitness Philly host an hour-long boot camp-style work out to kick off the evening. Challenge yourself to make it through the tough work out.

• Cornhole and Bocce League: Wednesday, July 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Join a group of serious lawn-game enthusiasts for cornhole league presented by Philly Sports Network and a bocce ball league presented by Major League Bocce. With the beer garden area’s expansive lawn, the space makes a perfect lawn game court. Game on.

Swing Dance Class: Wednesday, July 23, 7-8 p.m. So you think you can dance? Sharpen those skills or pick up some new tricks with a free swing dance class taught by instructors Peggy Leiby and Ret Turner. Grab a partner and get dancing! Suitable for all ages.

Art Class with Fleisher Color Wheel: Thursday, July 24, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The artsy crew from Fleisher Art Memorial bring out ColorWheels, a set-up equipped with the supplies and tools to create on-the-spot works of art. This time around ColorWheels artists will show kids and adults alike how to create woven magic carpets out of paper, and make wearable art in the spirit of the Association for Public Art’s installation at The Oval, Magic Carpet.

Smith Memorial Playground Play Wagon: Friday, July 25, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Join the good people of Fairmount Park’s Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse for an interactive afternoon of educational play. Both kids and parents will have a ball playing with ropes, blocks, bubbles and crafts while learning about the importance of interacting with children. Look out for healthy and kid-friendly fare from food trucks like Zea May’s Kitchen, Mac Mart Cart, Lil’ Dan’s and Lil’ Pop Shop from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

School of Rock Performance with Awesome Fest: Friday, July 25, 6:30-9 p.m. To get the crowd psyched for that evening’s screening of School of Rock, the Awesome Fest presents live youth band performances from four groups of pint-sized musicians. Check here for the complete lineup.

(Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

Last year, The Oval popped up on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with a beach-themed placemaking installation. In 2014, The Oval summer season runs July 16 through August 17 with a whimsical installation by artist Candy Coated, a beer garden and full calendar of events. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

More picks for this week at The Oval, below. (more…)

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July 22, 2014

Our Picks For Where To Dine Alfresco During University City Dining Days, Running Through Sunday, July 27

The Gold Standard Cafe in Philadelphia

University City Dining Days continues to bring dinner deals to more than 20 restaurants throughout the neighborhood, enjoy the summer weather by dining alfresco at one of the many eateries with outdoor dining. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

It’s no secret that dining and drinking alfresco is one of the major perks of summertime.

University City Dining Days invites diners to take it outside at many of the restaurants participating in the 10-day dinner deal event.

Whether you’re looking to dine on an elevated patio (City Tap House!) or dine along street level (Han Dynasty!), there are plenty of restaurants for those looking to get their alfresco eat on.

With Dining Days in full swing — and ending on Sunday, July 27 — be sure to head out soon for a meal deal and a seat outside. Depending on the restaurant, meals ring $15, $25 or $35.

Read on for our picks for alfresco dining during University City Dining Days.

coZara: coZara, the relatively new restaurant from the folks behind Rittenhouse Square’s Zama, serves up its small Japanese plates with a side of patio seating as it promises room for those looking to dine alfresco during University City Dining Days. Fill up on a $25 three-course dinner complete with items like soft shell shrimp, chicken wings with black pepper teriyaki, mushroom wontons, Hawaiian Albacore Poke and more. The full Dining Days menus is available right here.

When: Through July 27
Where: coZara, 3200 Chestnut Street
Cost: $25 plus tax and gratuity

City Tap House: Dine above street level on City Tap House’s elevated patio as it serves up a $35 feast for Dining Days. Fill up on three-courses of elevated bar fare like pork steam buns, watermelon salad, chicken and waffles, sweet corn risotto, strawberry shortbread and more. The full menu is available right here.

When: Through July 27
Where: City Tap House, 3925 Walnut Street
Cost: $35

Dock Street Brewing Company: A number of tables line Baltimore Avenue for those looking to grub at Dock Street Brewing Company, a brewery and pizza place in Cedar Park. For $15, treat yourself to a crispy wood fired pizza — choose from pepperoni, margherita, barbecue chicken, a vegan pie and more. Pair your ‘za with a salad and a dessert and call it a day. Dock Street’s full Dining Days menu is available here.

When: Through July 27
Where: Dock Street Brewing Company, 701 S. 50th Street
Cost: $15

Han Dynasty: While filling up on seriously spicy plates (and not-so-spicy plates for those with more timid taste buds), sit below the night sky on any one of Han Dynasty’s outdoor table settings. The $25 Dining Days menu features dan dan noodles, spicy crispy cucumbers, shrimp dishes, pork belly options and a third course of a boozy drink (or water ice). The full menu is available right here.

When: Through July 27
Where: Han Dynasty, 3711 Market Street
Cost: $25

The Gold Standard Cafe: Dine along Baltimore Avenue as The Gold Standard Cafe offers guests a breezy place to enjoy its fare. Fill up on a $15 meal deal featuring a soup or salad, an entree and a dessert. The exact menu is not available online, but expect a meal similar to this menu, here.

When: Through July 27
Where: Gold Standard Cafe, 4800 Baltimore Avenue
Cost: $15

More picks, below. (more…)

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July 22, 2014

The Annual Puerto Rican Day Festival Brings Music, Authentic Food, Dance And Crafts To Bristol Lions Park In Bucks County, Saturday, July 26

The annual Puerto Rican Day Festival returns to Bristol Lions Park, pictured above, in Bucks County this Saturday, July 26. The park will fill up with performers, food and crowds to boot. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

The annual Puerto Rican Day Festival returns to Bristol Lions Park, pictured above, in Bucks County this Saturday, July 26. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

The town of Bristol in Bucks County salutes its Puerto Rican heritage with traditional music, costumes, dance and cuisine that celebrate the culture at the annual Puerto Rican Day Festival.

On Saturday, July 26 from noon to 8 p.m., festivities take over Bristol Lions Park in the Pennsylvania town as families are invites out for a slew of free fun.

Transport yourself to Puerto Rico through authentic food, music and workshops.

All day long, enjoy live music and traditional performances at stages throughout the grounds. Watch talented dancers take the stage to perform Merengue, Salsa and traditional folk dance and listen to singers perform the crowds, too.

In addition to watching live performances, guests are invited to get in on the action as the Ma’Oconuco Taino Indian Nation leads an interactive workshop about the history of the Taino tribe of Puerto Rico. The workshop will teach participants the native dance of the tribe.

Guests, also look forward to a Puerto Rican cooking classes where you will learn to make traditional dishes like jibarito sandwiches. For those not interested in cooking their own food, authentic food vendors will line the festival grounds, too.

The full list of festival programming is available right here.

In the case of rain, the festival will take place on Sunday, July 27.

After the festival, explore the Bucks County town — check out Visit Philly’s full guide to the restaurants, shops, parks and attractions of Bristol.

Puerto Rican Day Festival in Bristol
When: Saturday, July 26, noon-8 p.m.
Where: Bristol Lions Park, Mill Street at Radcliffe Street, Bristol
Cost: Free
More info: www.prculturalassociation.com

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July 22, 2014

Contest Alert: Submit Your Best Shots To The Create Your Own Phillyosophy Summer Photo Contest For A Chance To Win A Spot On An I-95 Billboard And More

Have a great Philly photo, or think you can capture one? It could show up on a billboard on I-95. (Image by Visit Philadelphia)

Have a great Philly photo, or think you can capture one? It could show up on a billboard on I-95. (Image by Visit Philadelphia)

Heads up, shutterbugs.

Today, VISIT PHILADELPHIA™ launched the Create Your Own Phillyosophy Contest to give photo-happy fans of Philadelphia the chance to show off the city they love.

Entering is a cinch.

From July 22 through August 3, just capture a great photo of Philadelphia and go to visitphilly.com/contest to pair the shot with one of six Phillyosophy lines and then upload the photo that goes best with the line of choice.

An evolution of the With Love, Philadelphia XOXO® campaign, Phillyosophy champions Philly’s robust mix of super passion, salt of the earth and perspective with a capital “P”.

The contest gives locals and visitors the chance to not only show off Philadelphia, but also the chance to be featured on an I-95 billboard and receive a trip to Philadelphia!

To select the finalists, VISIT PHILADELPHIA will choose the most compelling photos that pair best with the lines and meet the technical requirements (300DPI). The photos will then appear on the Visit Philly Facebook page and visitphilly.com, where the public can view the photos and vote for their favorite August 11-17.

After the voting period, the winning photo will be featured on a VISIT PHILADELPHIA™ billboard on I-95 in the fall of 2014.

In addition to bragging rights, the winner receives a free weekend getaway in Philadelphia, including a two-night stay at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel!

Click here to read the complete rules and regulations.

Get snapping and enter daily here through August 3.

Create Your Own Phillyosophy Contest [Visitphilly.com]

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July 22, 2014

Paradiso Restaurant Puts Roof-To-Table Honey On The Menu With The Bee Dinner, This Wednesday, July 23

Paradiso Philadelphia

Paradiso on East Passyunk celebrates local honey during its Bee Dinner on Wednesday, July 23. (Image courtesy Paradiso)

Chef Lynn Rinaldi has long been an advocate for the honeybee — her East Passyunk neighborhood restaurant and wine bar Paradiso houses some 200,000 bees on its rooftop, alongside the heirloom carrots, tomatoes, herbs and another vegetables Rinaldi cultivates for her hyperlocal Italian cookery.

On Wednesday July 23, her kitchen will incorporate this sweet and increasingly endangered nectar into the menu with a one-time-only Bee Dinner.

Created in collaboration with Philadelphia Bee Co., the five-course prix-fixe meal begins with an amuse bouche of honey-glazed rooftop carrots and house-made ricotta, followed by hotaki crudo; stuffed zucchini blossoms; mushroom fettuccine with bee pollen; New Jersey fluke Milanese; and goat cheese panna cotta with berry compote and honey-sesame brittle.

For an additional cost, wine pairings will be made available in small (3 ounce) or larger-size (5 ounce) pours.

Meanwhile, Rinaldi and Philadelphia Bee Co.’s Don Shump will be on hand to discuss sustainability, bee-keeping and local honey production and engage guests in a friendly round of Bee Trivia.

There’s just one seating for the event and reservations are required. Call 215-271-2066 to book a seat at the buzz-worthy table.

The Bee Dinner
When: Wednesday, July 23, 7 p.m.
Where: Paradiso, 1627 East Passyunk Avenue
Cost: $65, not including tax and gratuity
More info: www.paradisophilly.com

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July 22, 2014

Join HyLo Labs And Cheu Noodle Bar For The 3rd Space, A New Monthly Event And Interview Series Launching This Thursday, July 24

The 3rd Space HyLo Labs

HyLo Labs hosts a night of excellent eats, interesting conversation and live music at The 3rd Space: Home Away From Home. (Image courtesy HyLo Labs)

A great public place gives its guests a sense of belonging, connection and maybe even inspiration.

This week, the good folks of HyLo Labs take public spaces to a personal level with the launch of a monthly event and interview series, The 3rd Space.

Celebrating both HyLo’s third business anniversary and its creative community on N3rd Street in Old City, the new series will tap creative locals to share their “third place” — that is, the public place or space that serves as their home away from home — via online interviews and a monthly in-person event.

Online interviews will spotlight two local notables’ third places, which could be restaurants, coffee shops, bars, parks and beyond, while the events will focus on the work that the creative interviewees have produced, taking the series offline and into real life.

To launch the series, this Thursday, July 24, HyLo Labs hosts culinary minds and cool musicians at its Old City headquarters for The 3rd Space: Home Away From Home.

From 6 to 9 p.m., Cheu Noodle Bar will be feted as DJ Josh Hey’s third place with noodles, beer and live musical performances.

Tickets, $5, include complimentary cold sesame noodles from Cheu (while supplies last), plenty of Miller High Life, and fresh tunes from live DJs like Josh Hey, a Philly-based DJ and producer for Paxico Records, and Khari Mateen, a Grammy-nominated musician, composer and producer.

Tickets are available online, and for a sneak peek of what’s to come check out the video below.

Next month, get ready to take it outside with an event themed around The Great Outdoors with Josh Nims, who founded Franklin Paine’s Skatepark and Gray’s Ferry Crescent.

Who knows? Maybe The 3rd Space will become your third place.

The 3rd Space: Home Away From Home
When: Thursday, July 24, 6-9 p.m.
Where: HyLo Labs, 242 N. 3rd Street
Cost: Free
More info: www.the3rdspace.squarespace.com
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July 22, 2014

The Philadelphia Orchestra Takes The Stage To Perform Chart-Topping Beatles Songs And Music From Pixar Feature Films, July 23-26

The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra gets in tune with pop culture as they perform two concerts featuring the songs of The Beatles and two concerts featuring the songs of Pixar films, July 23-26. (Photo courtesy The Philadelphia Orchestra)

The Philadelphia Orchestra raises a hat to popular culture as it performs special concerts this week at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

On Wednesday, July 23 and Thursday, July 24, the Philadelphia Orchestra channels a certain hugely-successful 1960s boy band from across the pond as it performs Classical Mystery Tour with the Philadelphia Orchestra: A Tribute to the Beatles. All night long, groove to the sounds of The Beatles live as the Orchestra performs chart-topping hits like Penny Lane, Yesterday and I Am the Walrus.

The Beatles performances will take place in Verizon Hall at 8 p.m. on both nights.

In addition to The Beatles performance, The Philadelphia Orchestra gets in tune with well-loved children’s movies as it plays songs from all 14 Pixar feature films for The Philadelphia Orchestra: PIXAR in Concert on July 25 and 26.

Each song will be paired with clips from the appropriate film. Look forward to live music from films including Toy Story, Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Cars, Brave and The Incredibles. Performances will take place in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center.

Tickets for both the Pixar performance and The Beatles show are available online.

Classical Mystery Tour with the Philadelphia Orchestra: A Tribute to the Beatles
When: July 23-24, 8 p.m.
Where: The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad Street
Cost: $25 and up
More info: www.philorch.org

The Philadelphia Orchestra: PIXAR in Concert
When: July 25, 7 p.m.; July 26, 2 p.m.
Where: The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad Street
Cost: $35 and up
More info: www.philorch.org

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July 22, 2014

Chef Kevin Sbraga Serves Up A Classic Lowcountry Boil Feast At The Fat Ham, Tuesday, August 5

The Fat Ham Philadelphia

The Fat Ham’s pork-centric focus takes a family-style turn for a Lowcountry Boil on Tuesday, August 5. (Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)

Spread out the newspapers: This August, The Fat Ham will hold a Lowcountry Boil dinner.

While Top Chef alum Keven Sbraga’s University City eatery typically interprets a broad swath of Southern country cooking, this family-style feast zeroes in on the traditional summer cuisine from coastal South Carolina and Georgia.

The Southern version of a New England clambake, the Boil itself consists of a steamy hot pot of shrimp, blue crab claws, house-made smoked garlic sausage, potatoes and corn, swirled together and infused with The Fat Ham’s signature tangy spice blend.

Served alongside this simple yet dazzling bounty (and included in the $90 per person) are the restaurant’s latest seasonal cocktails Philly Fish House Punch (dark rum, brandy, peaches and tea) and Plum and Watermelon Sangria with rose and elderflower, or the decidedly more downhome and typical option of Miller High Life.

The Boil menu also bookends the main event with a cucumber and tomato salad with shaved red onion and red wine vinegar and a peach cobbler with whipped cream.

Reservations are required and tickets — $90 including tax, tip and beverages — for the limited-seating event are available for purchase on online.

We recommend booking a seat now for a taste of Southern summer hospitality.

Lowcountry Boil at The Fat Ham
When: Tuesday, August 5, 6-9 p.m.
Where: 3131 Walnut Street
Cost: $90, including tax, gratuity and beverages
More info: www.sbragadining.com

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July 21, 2014

The Delaware River Waterfront Continues Its Growth With The Development Of Pier 68, A Public Fishing Pier, Picnic Spot And Nature Oasis In Pennsport, To Open in Mid-2015

The upcoming Pier 68 Park is the latest development of the Master Plan for the Central Delaware, which aims to to turn six-miles of the Central Delaware River waterfront into a fully developed public space. (Image courtesy Studio Bryan Hanes)

The upcoming Pier 68 Park is the latest development of the Master Plan for the Central Delaware, which aims to to turn six-miles of the Central Delaware River waterfront into a fully developed public space. (Image courtesy Studio Bryan Hanes)

As part of the Master Plan for the Central Delaware — a program that aims to turn six-miles of the Central Delaware River waterfront into a fully developed public space for the community’s enjoyment — Pier 68 in Pennsport will soon transform from an abandoned space to a waterfront oasis ideal for fishing, lounging and embracing nature.

Set to open in mid-2015, the pier design — which is spearheaded by Studio Bryan Hanes — will bring a taste of nature to the bustling South Philly neighborhood. Upon entry to the pier, native trees will block the sight of shopping malls and traffic to provide guests with a serene getaway.

Guests will be encouraged to pack a lunch and enjoy the views of the Delaware at the new Picnic Grove, too, which promises to be one of the city’s latest and greatest picnic spots with trees, landscaping and permanent furnishings.

Student groups and curious members of the public will be invited to learn about the tides of the Delaware River at the Aquatic Cut, a 4.5-foot cut that allows the tidal activity to filter through. Guests will also be invited to learn about the water pattern and the change in water elevation from above as a rope-and-cable bridge structure will hang above the aquatic cut.

Whether you want to learn about the tidal patterns of the Delaware River or find a serene spot to hang out, Pier 68 will be your answer. (Image courtesy Studio Bryan Hanes)

Whether you want to learn about the tidal patterns of the Delaware River or find a serene spot to hang out, Pier 68 is your answer. (Image courtesy Studio Bryan Hanes)

At the end of the pier, guests can expect an area for recreational fishing — and an ideal spot to catch the fireworks up the river on major holidays.

Additional design features will include a lawn for sunbathing and hanging out, seating throughout — including hammock-style seating — and a water-side walking path.

The developments at Pier 68 will compliment the recent advancements at Pier 53, which is located about a mile-and-a-half from the Pennsport spot.

The park will be the Southernmost point for the Central Delaware trail. Pier 68 will green the space at the base of Pier 70 near Walmart in South Philadelphia.

Stay tuned for developments and updates regarding the new green space.

Pier 68
When: Mid-2015
Where: At the base of Pier 70, near Walmart at 1675 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
More info: www.delawareriverwaterfront.com

More photos, below. (more…)

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July 21, 2014

Spruce Street Harbor Park Hosts A Free Pop-Up Concert With Purling Hiss & Chris Forsyth And The Solar Motel Band This Thursday, July 24

Head to Spruce Street Harbor Park this Thursday night to catch a free concert at the Delaware River Waterfront's pop-up park. (Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)

Head to Spruce Street Harbor Park this Thursday night to catch a free concert at the Delaware River Waterfront’s pop-up park. (Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)

This summer, Spruce Street Harbor Park on the the Delaware River Waterfront has made an absolutely amazing addition to Philadelphia’s alfresco scene.

Open daily from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Spruce Street Harbor Park has transformed an urban riverside into a lush oasis right at Spruce Street and Columbus Boulevard.

For those who haven’t yet checked out the pop-up park, this week brings a couple great reasons to visit — or return!

This Thursday, July 24, the typically passive park hosts a free concert featuring Philly-local bands Purling Hiss & Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band.

In conjunction with XPN and held as a fundraiser for Vox Populi Gallery, the show will not only get crowds moving with tunes from these two local groups, but will also feature sculpture and synched video projections by Vox Populi artist-members.

This show is one of only two concerts set to play at Spruce Street Harbor Park this summer, so don’t miss out on the activation of this awesome outdoor space during a night of music, food, drinks, light installations and more.

If live music doesn’t draw, this Thursday also brings the return of Penn Landing’s Screenings Under the Stars. This week, the free alfresco movie series continues with the Ice Cube and Kevin Hart flick Ride Along.

Can’t make it out on Thursday? Come on down on Friday, July 25 to join in the Visit Philly Beer Garden Series. Visiting a single beer garden each Friday, the traveling pop-up happy hour returns to Spruce Street Harbor Park from 4 to 7 p.m. with specials on food and local craft beer, as well as giveaways from the Visit Philly team.

For more on spending time on the waterfront, check out our complete guide to Spruce Street Harbor Park, right here.

See you on the waterfront!

Free Concert at Spruce Street Harbor Park: Purling Hiss and Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band
When: Thursday, July 24, 7:30-10PM. Rain date is Sunday, July 27, 7:30-10PM
Where: Spruce Street Harbor Park, Columbus Boulevard at Spruce Street
Cost: Free
More info: www.delawareriverwaterfront.com

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