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October 23, 2014

The 2014 Thomas Eakins Head Of The Schuylkill Regatta Returns To Philadelphia This Weekend, Saturday And Sunday, October 25-26

The Head of the Schuylkill Regatta is an exciting, two-day race that draws fans from around the entire world here to Philadelphia year after year. (Photo courtesy Head of the Schuylkill Regatta)

This weekend, rowers from all over the world will flow to Philadelphia for the renowned Thomas Eakins Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, returning Saturday and Sunday, October 25 and 26.

What began with just 160 rowers in 1971 is now one of the largest rowing competitions in the world — and it’s right here in Philadelphia.

Bringing together more than 75 college crews, 150 high school crews and master rowers, elite rowers and previous world champions, the longstanding regatta will host hundreds of athletes and an additional 40,000 to 50,000 spectators over the two-day event weekend.

The 2.5-mile race invites more than 6,500 competitors of all ages and skill levels, from high school to veteran rowers, to test their racing mettle on the Schuylkill River.

And, for the first time, the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta is partnering with the Gold Cup Foundation to bring the top male and female scullers from around the world for a competition on the Schuylkill River.

Note that there is no cost for admission to watch the rowing action. Just arrive, find a great vantage point and take in an exciting Philadelphia tradition.

So, get ready to welcome action on the river this season as this exciting event once again takes to the shores and water of the Schuylkill River.

See below for our guide to this year’s Head of the Schuylkill Regatta.

The Course Layout and Festival Tent

The regatta invites one and all to come and watch the racing action. The course starts above the Strawberry Mansion Bridge and follows a 2.5-mile path to its finish, right above Boathouse Row.

The main festival tent (and boat launch for out-of-town competitors) is located approximately one mile north of Boathouse Row, right by the Three Angels Statues, and is the heart of the spectacle.

At the finish line at Boathouse Row, attendees will be able to find out race results and check out the on-site sports desk, which announces the races and offers commentary on teams and competitors.

For food, drink, souvenirs and rower meet-and-greets, report directly to the festival tent at the Three Angels Statues.

Want to meet one of the athletes? Many former and current Olympians compete in the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta and present medals during the awards ceremonies, which all take place in the festival tent. Some athletes will be available for autographs, too.

For a complete course map see below and for a full schedule of events, click here.

Mark your calendars! The Head of the Schuylkill Regatta returns  on October 25 and 26. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

Mark your calendars! The Head of the Schuylkill Regatta returns on October 25 and 26. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

For more on the 2014 Schuylkill Regatta, see below. (more…)

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October 23, 2014

The Annual 215 Festival Spotlights Philadelphia’s Literary Scene On South Street This Weekend, October 23-26

South Street

This year, the annual 215 Festival will fill South Street with a variety of events that celebrate Philadelphia’s literary scene, October 23-26. (Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia)

Starting today, October 23 and running through Sunday, October 26, the 215 Festival returns to celebrate Philly’s literary scene with free readings, cocktail-fueled events and more.

This year, the literary fest fills locations along South Street with a variety of events that celebrate the written word.

The festivities kicks off tonight at 7 p.m. with opening remarks and poetry readings from the city’s youth Poet Laureate Soledad Alfaro-Allah and the city’s Poet Laureate Frank Sherlock at the Headhouse Square Shambles. Also look forward to a special announcement from the City’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy.

Also tonight, Tattooed Mom will play host to readings from two Philly-based literary journals — Gigantic Sequins and Bedfellows. While listening to everything from prose to fiction, enjoy food and drinks from the South Street bar.

Tomorrow, October 24 at 10 p.m., Society Hill Society hosts the Literary Mixtape, a reading series where people present snippets of their favorite text in DJ form.

The festival closes out on Sunday, October 26 with a final reading event featuring festival staff members and other featured guests. The final reading will take place at 10 p.m. at Society Hill Society.

Also bookmarked for the festival? Check out a Halloween-themed writers night, a literary take on a CSA program with the Head and the Hand Press at the Headhouse Square Farmers’ Market, a typewriter event at the Pumpkin Fall Fest at the Headhouse Shambles and much, much more.

The full rundown of 215 Festival events is available right here.

215 Festival
When: October 23-26
Where: Various Locations around South Street
Cost: Free
More info: www.215festival.org

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October 23, 2014

Arden Theatre Company Presents An Exhilarating Production Of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations This Fall, October 23-December 14

Arden Theatre

The Arden Theatre Company continues its fall season with a production of Charles Dickens classic Great Expectations. (Photo by Kristy Giballa for The Arden Theatre Company)

There are plenty of twists and turns when the Arden Theatre Company presents Great Expectations, running through December 14.

Based on Charles Dickens’ classic coming of age novel, Great Expectations tells the tale of Pip, an orphan boy who finds his life irrevocably changed after one act of kindness. That seemingly small gesture sets off a host of life changes for Pip, including an inheritance that brings on unexpected consequences.

Throughout the story, Pip encounters individuals from all walks of life, including the escaped convict Magwitch, the icy Estella, and the creepy eccentric Miss Havisham. As Pip moves from poverty to the upper class he strives to find love and happiness amid a world filled with crime and deceit.

It’s a sprawling story with multiple plots, but the Arden’s production, directed Matthew Decker and based on an adaptation by Gale Childs Daly, features only six actors playing nearly 40 characters.

The actors are quite literally quick-change artists, where a simple shift in body language or a small change in attire can signify a performer going from one character to the next. A single set serves 30 locations where the addition of a prop or a piece of furniture is used to represent a change of scenery.

Just watching the cast pull it off makes for an exhilarating event, and the full scope of the play makes for an exciting reimagining that casts a classic story in a new light.

This production will certainly exceed all expectations.

Opening tonight, Thursday, October 23, the run continues through December and tickets, starting at $36, are available online.

Great Expectations
When: October 23-December 14
Where: Arden Theatre, 40 N. Second Street
Cost: $36-$50
More info: www.ardentheatre.org

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October 22, 2014

Tonight Picks: Witch Craft Beer Crawl In East Passyunk, Terror Behind The Walls, Pay-What-You-Wish Wednesday, Ghost Tours, Philadelphia Film Festival And More

East Passyunk

Tonight, witches and warlocks will make their way to East Passyunk Avenue for the annual Witch Craft Beer Crawl.
(Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

Rainy Wednesday evenings call for museum visits, bar crawls and haunted fun. Luckily, the city is full of rainy-weather appropriate happenings this evening.

Both the Philadelphia Museum of Art and National Museum of American Jewish History swing open their doors for whatever price you’d like to pay for the weekly pay-what-you-wish Wednesday promotion.

East Passyunk hosts its annual Witch Craft Beer Crawl complete with craft beer specials, costumed bar crawlers and more at 13 restaurants throughout the neighborhood.

Eastern State Penitentiary continues its Terror Behind the Walls haunted house this evening (it’s rain or shine!) with Hollywood-quality special effects and lighting, custom props and more than 200 actors. Terror Behind the Walls in the rain? Done.

Our top picks for tonight, below.

Witch Craft Beer Crawl in East Passyunk

From 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., witches and warlocks will gather on East Passyunk Avenue for the annual Witch Craft Beer Crawl. A ticket fee of $6.66 gets you a witch hat, $3 craft beer at 13 participating bars and a witch craft stamp card to win raffle prizes. Participating bars include Cantina los Caballitos, Pub on Passyunk East, The Bottle Shop, Stateside, Garage and Stogie Joe’s. Registration will take place at Garage, and a limited number of tickets will be available at Garage beginning at 5:30 p.m.

When: Wednesday, October 22, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Where: Participating bars and restaurants
Cost: $6.66 plus $3 per beer

Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary

Halloween spirit continues full force at Eastern State Penitentiary as it continues its Terror Behind the Walls haunted house. Tickets tonight at $19 in advance and $25 at the door. Save $3 when you purchase tickets to Terror Behind the Walls online using discount code VISITPHILLY31. Boo!

When: Wednesday, October 22, 7-11 p.m.
Where: Eastern State Penitentiary, 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue
Cost: $19 in advance, $25 at the door

Pay-What-You-Wish Wednesday at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

From 5 to 8:45 p.m., the Philadelphia Museum of Art opens up to after-hours guests for its weekly pay-what-you-wish Wednesday promotion. Enjoy yoga at 6 and 7 p.m., themed tours, poetry performances and more.

When: Wednesday, October 22, 5-8:45 p.m.
Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost: Pay what you wish

Pay-What-You-Wish Wednesday at the National Museum of American Jewish History

Spend your evening at the museum as the National Museum of American Jewish History continues its pay-what-you-wish Wednesday promotion in celebration of its current exhibition, Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American. Stroll the galleries while checking out the exhibition, which closes on October 26.

When: Wednesday, October 22, 5-8 p.m.
Where: National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall E.
Cost: Pay what you wish

NMAJH

Visit the National Museum of American Jewish History tonight as it wraps up its pay-what-you-wish Wednesday promotion.
(Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)

More, below. (more…)

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October 22, 2014

Mo’ne Davis Stars In Touching New Commercial That Debuted During Last Night’s World Series Game; Watch The Full Spike Lee-Directed Documentary

Mo’ne Davis won over the hearts of Philadelphia this summer when she and the Taney Dragons made an amazing run in the 2014 Little League World Series.

Well, prepare for her to win over your heart all over again with this awesome and empowering new commercial she stars in for Chevrolet.

The Spike Lee-directed ad features a montage of shots showing Mo’ne in her hometown – she runs in from the outfield of her home field, Anderson Yards at 18th and Fitzwater, with the Philadelphia Skyline prominently on display in the background; she eats pizza with her friends at Lazaro’s on South Street; she drains a half-court shot inside at Marian Anderson Rec Center; and she hangs out with her family at her house.

All leading up to her delivering one of signature 70-mph fastballs straight over home plate, while Mo’ne, in a voice-over, says: “I throw 70 miles per hour. That’s throwing like a girl.

Here’s the full script of Mo’ne’s voice-over in the commercial:

“Dear United States of America: I’m 13 years old. This summer was the best summer of my young life.

Out of this whole journey, the best part was having my family behind me supporting me through everything I did.

I have a passion for sports. Everyday of the week, I’m playing soccer, basketball or baseball.

I stand for girls that want to play sports with the boys and to be a role model for people, young and old.

I throw 70 miles per hour. That’s throwing like a girl.

Sincerely, Your Daughter – Mo’ne Davis

It’s a great commercial. Mo’ne continues to make us all proud.

Note: In addition to the 60-second commercial, which will air twice during each game of the world series, there’s a 17-minute documentary about Mo’ne Davis that Spike Lee also directed. It’s embedded below. Check it out. Also of note, Mo’ne was able to film the commercial and still retain her eligibility for an NCAA scholarship, which is also awesome.

More Info:

Mo’ne Davis: Throw Like A Girl Commercial & Spike Lee Documentary [Chevrolet]

Philadelphia featured prominently in Mo’ne Davis World Series commercial [The 700 Level]

A behind-the-scene shot of Mo'ne and Spike Lee at Anderson Yards in Graduate Hospital during the filming of the commercial and documentary. (Photo courtesy Chevrolet)

A behind-the-scene shot of Mo’ne and Spike Lee at Anderson Yards in Graduate Hospital during the filming of the commercial and documentary. (Photo courtesy Chevrolet)

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October 22, 2014

The Woodlands In University City Celebrates Halloween With A Variety Of Family Events On Sunday, October 26

The Woodlands

The Woodlands celebrates Halloween with a ton of fun festivities of all sort on Sunday, October 26. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

This Sunday, October 26, The Woodlands historic mansion and cemetery hosts a day-long Halloween affair with a variety of events for all to enjoy.

The lovely grounds of The Woodlands will welcome a family fun day complete with a mini-Mütter Museum featuring interactive fun with — yup– medical oddities. Check out a life size giant for height comparisons, a 19th-century amputation kit, bone games, a forensic kit and plenty of knowledge from Mütter Museum staff.

At 1 and 2:30 p.m., embark on a Civil War medical walking tour from the historic Hamilton Mansion, once home to Andrew Hamilton. Learn about some of the influential people that are buried at The Woodlands, like a physician who gave his soldiers shock treatment therapy and an amputee Confederate officer.

Throughout the day, explore mansion’s grounds and the cemetery on scavenger hunt to find grave plots of famous residents and fall books hidden throughout. Plus, the Halloween arts and crafts will also be stationed throughout the site.

The festival is free and open to the public, so just show up to participate.

Halloween celebrations in a cemetery? Deal.

Halloween Family Fun at The Woodlands
When: Sunday, October 26, noon-4 p.m.
Where: Various Locations
Cost: Varies
More info: www.woodlandsphila.org

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October 22, 2014

Coming Attraction: The National Constitution Center To Display One Of 12 Surviving Copies Of The Bill Of Rights In Constituting Liberty, Opening, Thursday, October 30

National Constitution Center

A blockbuster lineup of exhibitions are on display in the Philadelphia region this fall, including a landmark display of an original copy of the Bill of Rights at the National Constitution Center. (Photo courtesy National Constitution Center)

The first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution grant the freedoms of speech, of the press, the right to peaceably assemble and many other empowering privileges enjoyed by Americans.

Soon, visitors to Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center will be able to not only learn about the founding documents, but also see the authentic document that enumerates these rights.

For the first time in decades, one of the 12 surviving original copies of the Bill of Rights will be seen in public right here in Philadelphia at the National Constitution Center.

Part of a landmark, 100-year agreement between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and The New York Public Library, the delicate document will travel from its home in the New York Public Library’s teaching collection to Philadelphia the for a three-year display starting this October.

The Constitution Center will be the very first institution in Pennsylvania to exhibit this 200-year-old historic document to the general public, and will present the rare original copy in the special exhibition Constituting Liberty: From The Declaration To The Bill of Rights.

To celebrate the extended stay of the Bill of Rights in Philadelphia, a brand new exhibition hall has been constructed to house the historic document. The new George H.W. Bush Gallery will display the Bill of Rights alongside a first edition Stone Engraving of the Declaration of Independence as well as a rare copy of the first public printing of the U.S. Constitution.

Constituting Liberty will make a supremely appropriate complement to the center’s existing exhibitions, including Signers’ Hall and its first public printing of the Constitution.

For more on this momentous addition to the National Constitution Center, see the video below and stay tuned for more information.

And make plans now to view this important page from history.

Constituting Liberty: From The Declaration To The Bill of Rights
When: Opening Thursday, October 30
Where: National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street
Cost: Included in museum admission; adults, $14.50; seniors/students/youth, $13; children, $8
More info: www.constitutioncenter.org
(more…)

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October 22, 2014

Contest Alert: Find Your Perfect Trip To The Philadelphia Countryside And Win One Of A Dozen Prizes From Visit Philly

Take a short quiz and you might score one of a dozen prizes for trips to Philadelphia's countryside.

Take a short quiz and you might score one of a dozen prizes for trips to Philadelphia’s countryside. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

Seeking an escape beyond city limits?

Visit Philadelphia just launched the Find Your Perfect Trip To The Philadelphia Countryside contest to give roadtrippers the chance to find out which charming suburban town to visit — and perhaps a prize to help along the trip.

Entering is a cinch.

Just take this short quiz on Facebook to discover which of the six countryside-themed trails make the perfect trip for you.

Are you wine connoisseur? A museum enthusiast? This quiz will answer the question!

The quiz will be available online through Tuesday, November 4, and can be taken once a day.

A random selection of 12 fans will win themed prize packs valued at $100 each.

Happy roadtripping!

Find Your Perfect Trip to the Philadelphia Countryside [Facebook]

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October 22, 2014

Halloween Arrives On East Passyunk Avenue With The Neighborhood-Wide Fall Fest And Spooky Saturday This Saturday, October 25

East Passyunk Avenue

East Passyunk hosts its annual Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday complete with a costume contest, alfresco food and drinks, trick-or-treating, music and more, Saturday, October 25. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

South Philly gets in the Halloween spirit this weekend for the East Passyunk neighborhood’s annual Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday, a day-long festival of free family-friendly fun.

This Saturday, October 25 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., folks are encouraged to start the Halloween celebrations early by arriving decked out in costumes (yup, adults, kids and dogs!), trick-or-treating and pumpkin painting.

In addition to Halloween fun, a wide assortment of general festival happenings fill the neighborhood, too, centered around the Singing Fountain at Passyunk Square.

Read on for our guide to the fall festival.

The Food and Drink

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., a number of food trucks and neighborhood restaurants will set up shop alfresco at the Singing Fountain with a variety of outdoor eats and drinks.

Enjoy Halloween cupcakes and cookies from Ms. Goody Cupcake, cocktail from Stateside, craft beer barbecue pork sliders from Bottle Bar East, tater tots from The Tot Cart, sausages and gnocchi from Mamma Maria Ristorante and more.

Halloween Festivities

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., children — and dogs, too — are encouraged to show off their Halloween attire for a costume contest at the Singing Fountain. Prizes will be awarded for the scariest costume, most original and funniest.

Urban Jungle

Urban Jungle hosts a fall plant sale and an afternoon of pumpkin painting in celebration of East Passyunk’s Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

Guests are also encouraged to paint pumpkins and shop for autumnal plants at Urban Jungle, trick-or-treat at businesses between the Singing Fountain and Mifflin triangle, a Halloween dance party and more.

More, below. (more…)

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October 22, 2014

Longwood Gardens’ Chrysanthemum Festival Returns, Featuring More Than 20,000 Beautiful Blooms, October 25-November 23

There may be a chill in the air, but Longwood Gardens' conservatory bursts with a flowers and plants that will make you feel warm throughout the fall. (Photo courtesy Longwood Gardens)

With the autumn season now in full swing, Longwood Gardens gorgeous property makes for a perfect place to find nature’s colorful foliage, or to tuck indoors to take in the beautiful blooms of the expansive conservatory.

This Saturday, October 25, Longwood Gardens opens its annual Chrysanthemum Festival, which features more than 20,000 blooming chrysanthemums grown in extraordinary ways throughout Longwood’s four-acre conservatory.

The highlight of the festival is the nation’s largest chrysanthemum, the Thousand Bloom Mum, with more than 1,300 blooms and measuring more than 11 feet in diameter.

The idea and method for growing the Thousand Bloom (known in Japan as Ozukuri) was introduced in Japan and China more than 200 years ago, and is the most difficult of all the chrysanthemum training styles. The growing technique is a whopping 15- to 18-month prcoess and involves meticulous care to arrange the blooms in a dome shape.

Check out this video of the making of this horticultural marvel.

Also this weekend, the Philadelphia Chapter of Ikebana International, Ameriseki Group of the N.A. Viewing Stone Society and the Brandywine Bonsai Society host a special Ikebana and Bonsai exhibit at Longwood Gardens.

And of course, the gardens’ Pumpkin Playground and all of its autumnal beauty are also on display.

Be sure to take a trip out to Kennett Square to check out the Chrysanthemum Festival and Longwoods’ hundreds of acres of glowing reds, brilliant golds and bright oranges of nature’s foliage.

Chrysanthemum Festival at Longwood Gardens
When: October 25–November 23
Where: 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square
Cost: $18, adult; $8, students; $15, seniors
More info: www.longwoodgardens.org

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