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October 14, 2014

The Harry Potter Festival Returns To Chestnut Hill This Weekend, Oct. 17-18, Transforming The Neighborhood With A Hogwarts Express Train, Costume Contest, Magic Classes, Quidditch And So Much More

Harry Potter Philadelphia

The Harry Potter Festival arrives in Chestnut Hill this Friday, October 17 and Saturday, October 18. Are you ready for a spellbinding weekend? (Photo courtesy Warner Bros.)

Wands at the ready, Philadelphia! Harry Potter Festival Weekend is back.

The annual blockbuster Harry Potter Festival returns to enchant Chestnut Hill this Friday, October 17, and Saturday, October 18, for two days of spellbinding events that magically morph the neighborhood into the fictional world created by author J.K. Rowling.

Coinciding with two major Chestnut Hill College happenings, the weekend welcomes both the second annual Harry Potter academic conference on Friday, October 17, and the fifth annual Philadelphia Brotherly Love Quidditch Cup Tournament on Saturday, October 18.

Beyond the academics and sports, Harry Potter Festival Weekend happenings in the neighborhood range from a bar crawl and film screenings to sorting hat demonstrations and a scavenger hunt.

Read on for our guide to the events, specials and magical merriment hitting Chestnut Hill this weekend.


Festivities take off on Friday, with a range of events featuring literature, libations and live music. Here are the top happenings during Harry Potter Weekend on Friday evening:

• Wizard Rock Concert

At Chestnut Hill College at 7 p.m., fans can catch a live show, the Wizard Rock Concert, featuring Harry and the Potters and Lauren Fairweather at Sorgenti Arena at Chestnut Hill College.

Organized by Chestnut Hill College Chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, concertgoers can expect Harry Potter-themed lyrics set to rock ’n’ roll beats.

Tickets to the concert are $7 and available online or at the door (subject to availability).

• Harry Potter Pub Crawl

From 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday night, ticket-holders to the now sold-out pub crawl will pop in and out of pubs along Germantown Avenue like McNally’s Tavern, Campbell’s Place and the Tavern on the Hill. Costumes are highly encouraged, and tee shirts and wristbands will be distributed to all participants.

Note: even though the pub crawl is now sold out — tickets were limited — all participating bars and restaurants will be open for regular business on Friday night during the Pub Crawl and the crawl technically ends at 9 p.m. So, even without a pub crawl wristband, you can still stop in one of the neighborhood establishments to enjoy a wizardly brew!

Harry Potter Festival Weekend

Get those costumes ready: the Harry Potter Festival transforms Chestnut Hill into a magical world on Friday, October 17 and Saturday, October 18. (Photo courtesy Chestnut Hill Business Association)

For more on Harry Potter Festival Weekend, see below. (more…)

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October 14, 2014

Last Call: The PHS Pop-Up Garden Closes Its Doors For The Season This Sunday, October 19


It’s almost closing time for the PHS Pop-Up Garden which ends its run on Sunday, October 18. (Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)

Grab some friends and head out for an alfresco beer! It’s last call for the PHS Pop-Up Garden on South Street.

The popular beer garden closes its doors on Sunday, October 19, but not before hosting a variety of alfresco fun in addition to serving up plenty of outdoor food and drinks.

Tonight, October 14, enjoy live acoustic music from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and groove to beats from DJ Adrian Hardy from 8 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, October 15.

On the final day of this year’s PHS Pop-Up Garden, October 19, head out for a closing party kicking off at 3 p.m.

Every day though October 19 enjoy bites from food trucks including Oink and Moo, Say Cheese and Kami. The full food truck schedule is available right here.

Plus, it’s supposed to be pretty warm over the next few days with highs in the mid-to-low 70s through Friday — talk about perfect beer garden weather.

Click here for our full guide to the city’s beer gardens.

Last Call: PHS Pop-Up Garden
When: Closes on Sunday, October 19
Where: PHS Pop-Up Garden, 1438 South Street
Cost: Pay as you go
More info:

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October 14, 2014

OktoberFestivus Takes Over Franklin Square With A Beer Garden, Food Trucks, Spooky Mini Golf And More, Saturday, October 18, 5-10 P.M.

Franklin Square

The first-ever OktoberFestivus hits Franklin Square this Saturday, October 18 with craft beer, food trucks, twilight mini-golf and more alfresco fall fun. (Photo courtesy Franklin Square)

Historic Philadelphia’s charming family-friendly playground Franklin Square generally draws kids, history buffs and lovers of SquareBurger’s signature Cake Shakes.

This Saturday, October 18, though, fans of beer gardens and food trucks should report to the historic park for OktoberFestivus, an evening-long beer-fueled bash from 5 to 10 p.m.

More than half a dozen of Philly’s top trucks will pull up along the historic square to dish out street food, and a pop-up beer garden in cooperation with Old Eagle Tavern will keep the craft brews flowing.

Look forward to food truck fare from a lineup including Jerry’s Kitchen, Dadz Grilled Cheez, Mamas Meatballs, Seoulful Philly, Oink and Moo BBQ, The Cow and the Curd, and What’s In This?

The good folks of Old Eagle Tavern in Manayunk will be on hand to host a beer garden with libations from local Barren Hill Brewery and Tavern including OMG “Oh My Gourd” Pumpkin Biere de Garde, Good & Plenty (a sweet dark ale) and apple cider sangria.

Plus, Starr Restaurants’ SquareBurger at Franklin Square will remain open throughout the festivities to satisfy any Cake Shake cravings.

For those who want a little Halloween-themed action, Franklin Square’s annual Spooky Mini Golf is in effect from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings through October 31 (including October 18). The entire mini-golf course takes on a creepy vibe with fog, lights, music and surprises.

There’s no admission fee for the festival, and all food and beverage can be purchased from participating vendors. Note that regular ticket fees apply to both mini-golf (adults are $9, children 3-12 are $7) and the Parx Liberty Carousel ($3 for anyone over 3 years old).

Don’t miss out on one of Philadelphia’s final Oktoberfests of the season!

OktoberFestivus at Franklin Square
When: Saturday, October 18, 5-10 p.m.
Where:Franklin Square, 6th and Race streets
Cost: Free admission, pay as you go food and drink, tickets required for mini-golf and carousel
More info:

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October 14, 2014

Tech In Motion Hosts A Gaming Expo Complete With Demos, Speakers, Networking And More, This Thursday, October 16 At Impact Hub Philly

Tech in Motion hosts a Video Game expo featuring demos, drinks and a presentation from an established member of the gaming community, this Thursday, October 16.(Photo courtesy Olivia Christina Photography)

Tech in Motion hosts a Video Game expo featuring demos, discussion and a chance to listen to an established member of the gaming community, this Thursday, October 16.(Photo courtesy Olivia Christina Photography)

This Thursday, October 16, Tech in Motion Philly turns video gamers’ dreams into reality with a Gaming Expo at Impact Hub Philly.

Part of its recurring Drinks and Demos event, Tech in Motion hosts this special edition event featuring key members of the gaming community in addition to demos from gaming companies, refreshments and a DJ spinning favorite video game tunes.

Representatives from both local and national video game companies will be in attendance for demos and discussion, including keynote speaker Chris Melissinos, an avid gamer and influential member of the gaming community. Melissinos created The Art of Video Games exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, has authored gaming books and has spoken at the Game Developers Conference, PennyArcade Expo, JavaOne and more.

Come on out to mix and mingle with members of Philadelphia’s tech community and established gamers while sipping drinks from Ole Smoky Moonshine and ShawneeCraft Brewing Company.

The event is free, but registration is required. Click here to secure your spot.

Tech In Motion’s Gaming Expo
When: Thursday, October 16, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Impact Hub Philly, 1227 N. 4th Street
Cost: Free, but RSVP required
More info:

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October 14, 2014

Pennsylvania Ballet Opens Its 51st Season With Press Play, The Directorial Debut Of New Artistic Director Ángel Corella, October 16-26

Pennsylvania Ballet

See the first program curated by Pennsylvania Ballet’s new artistic director this month in Press Play: The Directorial Debut of Ángel Corella, October 16-26. (Photo by Alexander Iziliaev for Pennsylvania Ballet)

The curtain goes up on the 51st season of the Pennsylvania Ballet this month, and adding to the thrill of a fresh fall season, our city’s exceptional company welcomes a new artistic director, Ángel Corella.

At the end of the company’s 50th season, longstanding artistic director Roy Kaiser stepped down after 35 years with the Pennsylvania Ballet. After a worldwide search, internationally renowned dancer and director Ángel Corella was appointed to the post this past summer.

Corella’s reputation as a dynamic principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre and artistic director of Barcelona Ballet precede him, and there’s little doubt he’ll serve as an excellent leader here in Philadelphia.

This month, Pennsylvania Ballet launches its 51st season with a glimpse of what’s to come in the first program curated by its new artistic director, Press Play: The Directorial Debut of Ángel Corella, October 16-26 at the Academy of Music.

A mixed bill, the four works that make up the program should give audiences an impression of Corella’s point of view. The diverse program includes George Balanchine’s dynamic Allegro Brillante, Christopher Wheeldon’s intimate Liturgy, Jerome Robbins’ masterly Other Dances and Alexei Ratmansky’s bold Jeu de Cartes.

Tickets for this fall opener start at just $25 and are available online.

For students, note that $15 Student Rush tickets are available at the box office one hour prior to every performance. Seating is subject to availability, and one ticket can be had per valid student ID.

Join in extending a warm welcome to the new artistic director of our city’s tremendous ballet troupe.

Press Play: The Directorial Debut of Ángel Corella
When: October 16-26
Where: Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street
Cost: $30-$125
More info:

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October 14, 2014

The Philadelphia Orchestra Is Set To Perform A Free Concert For College Students, Tonight, October 14 At The Kimmel Center

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Tonight, October 14 at 8 p.m., the Philadelphia Orchestra performs a free concert for college students in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center. (Photo by Chris Lee courtesy Philadelphia Orchestra)

College students, listen up!

The Philadelphia Orchestra starts its eZseatU program, a discounted Orchestra membership for college students, with a free concert tonight, October 14 in Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center.

Beginning at 8 p.m., college students (with a valid full-time student ID) are invited out for a free night of music performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Following the concert, guests are encouraged to hang out in Commonwealth Plaza for even more music and refreshments.

Tickets are completely free, but music-lovers must register online and bring their printed ticket in order to gain entry. Click here to register for your ticket.

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Free College Concert
When: Tuesday, October 14, 8 p.m.
Where: The Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street
Cost: Free
More info:

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October 14, 2014

Townsend Teams Up With South African Winemaker Ken Forrester For A One-Night-Only Wine Dinner, Monday, October 20


Chef Townsend Wentz and sommelier Lauren Harris host winemaker Ken Forrester for dinner on East Passyunk. (Image courtesy Townsend)

In its relatively short existence, Townsend on East Passyunk has made a name for itself as a wine-lovers’ restaurant with a serious beverage program courtesy of sommelier Lauren Harris.

On Monday, October 20, the French-inspired bistro will cater to that demographic, with a special wine pairing dinner featuring the South African winemaker Ken Forrester.

The five-course meal prepared by chef/owner Townsend Wentz will be matched with the most coveted selections from Forrester’s portfolio.

Expect roasted sea scallop with pumpkin, hazelnut and saba paired with a Chenin blanc; foie gras terrine with the FMC 2012; spiced squab breast with the Renegade Red; duo of beef with The Gypsy 2010; and Bayley Hazen blue cheese with the T Noble Late Harvest.

Forrester’s vineyards from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa are considered the home of Chenin blanc, among other varietals, and the wines receive high marks internationally.

The dinner costs $75 per person, not including tax and gratuity, and space for the single seating is limited.

Call (267) 639-3203 for reservations—or risk missing out on these rare beauties.

Ken Forrester Wine Dinner
When: Monday, October 20, 7 p.m.
Where: Townsend, 1623 E. Passyunk Avenue
Cost: $75 per person, not including tax and gratuity
More info:

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October 13, 2014

The Franklin Institute’s Science After Hours Returns With A Halloween-Themed Monster Mash Up This Tuesday, October 14

The Franklin Institute's Science After Hours adults-only party invites the over 21 set to participate in a science-filled Halloween party this Tuesday, October 14. (Photo by K. Gronostajski for The Franklin Institute)

Seeking a spine-tingling good time on a Tuesday evening? The Franklin Institute has your back.

In case you haven’t heard, the longstanding museum has expanded its brainy programming to include events made exclusively for adults in the monthly series Science After Hours.

The adults-only evening (read: for the 21-and-up crowd) taps the deep resources of the museum to host interactive experiments, cool demonstrations, interesting talks and more on various topics — all accompanied by cocktails, wine and beer from a cash bar.

In the spirit of the upcoming October holiday, the event takes on monsters, ghosts and more for a Monster Mash Up Halloween-themed bash.

From movie monsters like Freddy Kruger and Frankenstein to ghosts and predators, the truth behind spooky fictions will be revealed by the biology and forensics experts at the museum.

Look for myth-busting activities that will explore thermal imaging or the effects of adrenaline, check out the make-and-take ectoplasm station and so much more.

The after-hours event gets started at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of the museum. Tickets, just $15 for those who aren’t members of The Franklin Institute, are available online.

Costumes are more than welcome, but leave the face masks at home.

It’s going to be a scary good time.

Science After Hours: Monster Mash Up
When: Tuesday, October 14, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Where: The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street, 2nd Floor
Cost: $15 for non-members, $10 for members
More info:

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October 13, 2014

Paris Bistro In Chestnut Hill Launches Le Buck-A-Shuck Lundi And Dinner Service Tonight, Monday, October 13

Paris Bistro

Chef Al Paris’ Chestnut Hill Paris Bistro launches new dinner service and buck-a-shuck deals on Monday, October 13 — just in time for Columbus Day. (Photo courtesy Paris Bistro)

Starting tonight Monday, October 13, Al Paris’ eponymous Bistro enlivens the most neglected day of the week with brand new dinner service.

Not only that, but the restaurant, bar and jazz cafe in the Chestnut Hill Hotel also now introduces Le-Buck-A-Shuck Lundi — that’s French for “reasonably priced oysters on a night when you are usually in pajamas by seven.”

Paris Bistro’s dinner menu already boasts a regular raw bar with oysters, shrimp and crab and the requisite plateau of all of the above, but the Monday special is an amazing bargain.

Given that the -er months (that is, October, November, December) are the height of oyster season, it could not come at a better time.

To keep the proceedings interesting, each week will highlight a different variety.

This first Monday is extra special, though, as, the restaurant will be pouring complimentary beers from Kronenbourg Brewery, including Kronenbourg 1664 and Kronenbourg Blanc — strictly for legal drinkers, of course.

And if oysters don’t appeal, there’s always Tuesday night’s frog legs provencal or Saturday’s côte de boeuf.

Seriously, though. Who wouldn’t love oysters on Mondays?

Le-Buck-A-Shuck Lundi
When: Mondays, starting October 13, 5-10 p.m.
Where: Paris Bistro, 8229 Germantown Avenue
Cost: Pay as you go
More info:

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October 13, 2014

Photo Of The Day: Enjoy Columbus Day In Philadelphia!

Schuylkill Boardwalk

The game-changing Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk now connects South Street to the Schuylkill Banks at Locust Street — and we love it. The long holiday weekend is the perfect chance for a stroll. (Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)

Happy Columbus Day, Philadelphia!

As we are marking the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas, let’s take the opportunity to celebrate the arrival of fall in Philadelphia, too.

Whether or not you have an extended weekend in honor of Columbus Day, there’s plenty to do out and about in the city today and tonight.

We’ve compiled a list of Columbus Day weekend happenings perfect for a variety of interests — whether you’re looking for family-friendly or culturally stimulating, there’s an idea for you.

Plus, our ever-reliable Weekend Picks are extended to include today, too.

Good to know: all the museums along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, including the usually-closed-on-Mondays Philadelphia Museum of Art, are open. Also, make sure to check out Eastern State Penitentiary, the Philadelphia Zoo, Please Touch Museum or Mutter, which are all open today as well.

Have a relaxing and safe Columbus Day!

Columbus Day Weekend In Philadelphia

Check out our picks for how to spend the Columbus Day holiday in Philadelphia. MORE INFO

Weekend Picks, Long-Weekend Edition

Our weekly roundup of top weekend happenings in Philly. MORE INFO

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