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October 23, 2014

Tonight Picks: Philadelphia Film Festival Block Party, Ghost Tours And Halloween Happenings, Mega-Bad Movie Night, 215 Festival And More

Independence Hall

Philadelphia is home to centuries of history, which makes it perfect for a haunted ghost tours. Luckily, tonight a number of haunting tours will fill Old City in celebration of Halloween. (Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)

As the weekend creeps up on us, the workweek starts its wrap up with a slew of cool events.

Tonight, the Philadelphia Film Festival continues with screenings, yes, but also with a food truck block party on Sansom Street to celebrate the PFS Roxy Theater’s first year as a Philadelphia Film Festival venue.

Over the Parkway, catch a not-so-good movie tonight as the Academy of Natural Sciences hosts its mega-bad movie night, which promises an open bar, a screening of The Lost World with sci-fi discussion, visits from animals, hands-on fun and more.

Halloween events are in full swing as Terror Behind the Walls fills Eastern State Penitentiary with major scares, and ghost tours tell tales of real-life ghosts throughout Old City.

Read on for our top picks for tonight.

Philadelphia Film Society Food Truck Festival

Block party alert! Tonight, a mini food truck festival hits Sansom Street outside of the PFS Roxy Theater to mark the independent movie house’s (almost) one-year anniversary and to celebrate the Philadelphia Film Festival. In the spirit of The Food Trust’s Night Market Philadelphia, a selection of food trucks will dole out eats on Sansom Street starting at 7 p.m. Look out for Sweetbox, The Cow & the Curd, Prime Stache, Wonderland Cakes, Pie Stand and Pbon’s Fresh Phood. Plus, the fashionable ladies of the Smak Parlour Fashion Truck will roll through, too. The party is free and open to the public, and eats are available on a pay-as-you-go basis.

When: Thursday, October 23, 7-9 p.m.
Where: The block of the PFS Roxy Theater, 20th and Sansom streets
Cost: Free; pay-as-you-go food

Mega-Bad Movie Night: The Lost World at the Academy of Natural Sciences

The Academy of Natural Sciences’ hosts its recurring Mega-Bad Movie Night tonight from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Tonight, watch The Lost World, a ’60s film. Hear from experts regarding the sci-fi aspects of this film and enjoy complimentary popcorn, an open bar with VIP tickets, live animals, hands-on activities, a chance to explore the galleries and more. Tickets, which are $25 for the full package, are available online.

When: Thursday, October 23, 5:30-9 p.m.
Where: Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost: $15 and up

Terror Behind the Walls

The once-abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary is now home to one of the nation’s most frightful haunted house events, Terror Behind the Walls. Save $3 when you purchase tickets to Terror Behind the Walls online using discount code VISITPHILLY31.

When: Thursday, October 23, 7-11 p.m.
Where: Eastern State Penitentiary, 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue
Cost: $19 in advance, $25 at the door; Save $3 on online tickets wide code VISITPHILLY31

Philadelphia Film Festival Presents Beyond the Lights

The Philadelphia Film Festival continues with a screening of Beyond the Lights at the Ritz East. The film tells the story of a rising singer, pushy manager moms and her romantic journey. The screening will take place at the Ritz East at 7 p.m.

When: Thursday, October 23, 7 p.m.
Where: Ritz East, 125 S. 2nd Street
Cost: $12

Ghost Tours of Philadelphia

Discover what may be lurking behind the shadows throughout America’s Most Historic Square Mile. Ghost Tours of Philadelphia uncover haunted spots throughout Society Hill, Independence Mall and Washington Square, telling chilling tales of Benedict Arnold and Founding Fathers along the way. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children under 12.

When: Thursday, October 23, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Tours leave from Signers Garden at 5th and Chestnut streets
Cost: $15 for adults, $10 for children


Tonight, The Academy of Natural Sciences hosts its recurring mega-bad movie night complete with a movie screening, hands-on fun, an open bar and more. (Photo by Aileen Bannon for the Academy of Natural Sciences)

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October 23, 2014

Family-Friendly Actvities And Amazing Carving Displays At Moravian Tile Works Pumpkinfest In Doylestown, Saturday, October 25


Moravian Tile Works hosts a Halloween bash with huge pumpkins and plenty of family-friendly fun this Saturday, October 25. (Photo courtesy Visit Bucks County)

There are jack o’lanterns, and then there are jack o’lanterns.

This Saturday, head to historic Doylestown for one of the region’s most popular annual fall events: Pumpkinfest. During this squash-centric celebration, an array of impressive carvers will create glowing works of art out of enormous pumpkins. We’re talking 100 to 300 pounders.

By the end of the night, these giant gourds will become illuminated masterpieces set between the archways of Moravian Pottery and Tile Works.

In addition to the carving demonstrations, there will be family-friendly activities like pony rides, an inflatable rain garden, a youth concert, a food truck pavilion and more. Be sure to bring some cash, as there is an extra cost for some of the activities.

This community-driven event is open to kids of all ages, and admission is by the carload. Early birds who arrive between 2 and 4 p.m. get in for $10/car. After that, the price goes up to $20/car.

In case of rain, festivities will be held on Sunday.

Moravian Tile Works Pumpkinfest
When: Saturday, October 25, 2-10 p.m.
Where: Moravian Pottery & Tile Works, 130 Swamp Road, Doylestown
Cost: $10/carload from 2-4 p.m.; $20/carload from 4-10 p.m.
More info: or

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October 23, 2014

Franklin Square Plays Host To An Afternoon Of Free Trick-Or-Treating This Saturday, October 25

Franklin Square

This Saturday, October 25, Franklin Square celebrates Halloween with a free trick-or-treat trail for kids. (Photo courtesy Franklin Square)

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Franklin Square’s trick-or-treat trail, which brings free Halloween fun to the historic park this Saturday, October 25.

From noon to 3 p.m., youngsters are invited out for some pre-Halloween trick-or-treating along the square’s trick-or-treat trail.

Kids are encouraged to decorate a bag for candy gathering, pick up a trick-or-treat map and follow it to participating candy-giving locations.

The trick-or-treat trail is free for children under the age of 10.

Beyond the trick-or-treat trail, Franklin Square brings Halloween festivities to the spotlight with spooky mini-golf, which transforms the mini-golf course into a Halloween attraction complete with music, fog and creepy additions on weekends from 6 to 9 p.m.

Franklin Square Trick-or-Treat Trail
When: Saturday, October 25, noon-3 p.m.
Where: Franklin Square, 6th and Race Streets
Cost: Free
More info:

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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
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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:

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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


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)

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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
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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 In Late 2014

National Constitution Center

A blockbuster lineup of exhibitions are on display in the Philadelphia region this year, 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 in late 2014.

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 **Update, Friday, October 23: Constituting Liberty will open in late 2014
Where: National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street
Cost: Included in museum admission; adults, $14.50; seniors/students/youth, $13; children, $8
More info:

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