Celebrate Leap Day with food, flowers and music in this week’s ‘Things To Do’

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Tulips on display at the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Tulips on display at the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Philadelphia Flower Show
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St.
Saturday, Feb. 29 – Sunday, March 8
$17 – $75
The annual Philadelphia Flower Show is not just one of the oldest traditional gatherings in Philadelphia, it’s one of the oldest indoor events of its kind in the world. Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Flower Show has been a mainstay of Philly society since 1829 and is among the most anticipated events on the city’s social calendar. This year’s theme is ‘Riviera Holiday’ which should make for some sumptuous flower installations. Five new design teams join the show this year, which is advertised as replete with the citrus trees and lavender gardens that are a staple of the Mediterranean. Special attractions include the Preview Party Gala benefit on Friday night, the Flowers After Hours ‘80s dance party on Saturday night, two daily seatings of the Bloomin’ Brunch featuring a three-course brunch menu, and the Princess Grace rose garden — created with Grimaldi family roses — which includes a replica of the dress she wore to her 1956 wedding to Monaco’s Prince Rainier.

East Passyunk Avenue Restaurant Week
East Passyunk Ave.
Various times
Through Friday, March 6
$15 – $35
East Passyunk Avenue, the South Philly foodie’s favorite stomping grounds, is hosting its annual Restaurant Week. Over 25 area restaurants with varying cuisines, including Bing Bing Dim Sum, Perla, Le Virtu, Fond and ITV Wine Bar will participate, offering three-course meals priced at $15, $25 or $35. Seven new eateries join the event this year, including the recently rebranded Townsend Wine Bar, June BYOB and River Twice.

Philly Bierfest
German Society Of Pennsylvania
611 Spring Garden St.
Saturday, Feb. 29, 2 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
$25 – 79
Craft beer aficionados, raise your steins. The 9th annual Philly Bierfest features German craft beers, music and even some educational workshops. Sponsored by the all-female Philly Roller Derby and the Brewers of Pennsylvania, the Philly Bierfest pays homage to the area’s rich history of German American brewers. Pennsylvania boasts the nation’s largest population of people with German ancestry who passed down German brewing techniques to create a large variety of pilsners, lagers, weizens and bocks. America’s oldest brewery, Yuengling & Sons was founded in Pottstown by German immigrant David G. Yuengling in 1829. German-style beers from over 30 local and international breweries, live music, roller derby arm-wrestling, and a Berlin-style BEERlesque will also be featured, as well as food for sampling and purchase.

Kennett Winterfest
600 S. Broad St.
Kennett Square, Pa.
Saturday, Feb. 29, 12:30 – 4:00 p.m.
$60, $15 for designated drivers
Mushroom capital Kennett Square focuses on craft beers this weekend during their 8th annual WinterFest. Over 60 craft brews are on tap with live music and food for purchase. Participating local breweries include Cape May Brewing Company, Kennett Brewing Company, Lancaster Brewing Company and Wilmington Brew Works and live music will be provided by Amanda and the Teddy Thomas Band. Organizers stress that there is no ATM on the site, so be prepared with enough cash or credit for any purchases. The Winterfest takes place rain, shine or freezing temps, so be prepared.

R. Eric Thomas – Here For It: Or, How To Save Your Soul In America
Parkway Central Library
1901 Vine St.
Philadelphia, Pa.
Thursday, Feb. 27; 7:30 p.m.
Playwright, comedian, author, essayist and poetry slam host R. Eric Thomas’ new book explores race, faith and sexuality through the unique view of a young, Black, gay man. His collection of essays “Here for It: Or, How To Save Your Soul In America” reflects a “Sedaris-level, laugh-out-loud” humor as praised by none other than “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Thomas is both the winner of the Barrymore Award and the Dramatists Guild Lanford Wilson Award and is the writer and creator of Eric Reads The News, a daily humor column on Elle.com.

9th Annual Shine A Light Concert
The Queen Wilmington
500 N. Market St.
Wilmington, Del.
Saturday, Feb. 29, 8 p.m.
$50 – $250
The nonprofit Light Up the Queen Foundation sponsors free programs in arts and music for children and teens, provides scholarships for music students, and sponsors a residency program for accomplished jazz musicians. ‘Shine a Light’ is the annual fundraising event that helps make those programs possible. This year, over forty bands from the Delaware area will perform to celebrate the music of the ‘80s, so expect to hear the gamut of the decade’s hitmakers — from Michael and Janet Jackson to Madonna, INXS, Culture Club, Soundgarden, Prince and more. Drink contests and trivia games will be part of the night’s amusements as well. VIP tickets include a gourmet dinner, open bar and exclusive pit and balcony access.

5th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Martin’s Lake – Baynes Ave and Johnson Blvd.
Gloucester City, N.J.
Sunday, March 1, 1 p.m.
Free
Gloucester City, N.J. kicks off the St. Patrick’s Day season with their annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The ubiquitous bagpipers will be joined by Irish dancers, Irish and string bands and groups drawn from the nearby community. Before the parade, Gloucester Catholic principal Ed Beckett will receive the Irish Person of the Year award. Afterward, Gloucester’s bars and restaurants will welcome parade-goers with Irish food and live entertainment.

Monica, Joe and Lil’ Mo
Santander Arena and Performing Arts Center
700 Penn St.
Reading, Pa.
Saturday, Feb. 29, 8 p.m.
$30 – $59.75
Monica, Joe and Lil’ Mo will provide the Leap Day soundtrack in case there are any women willing to take advantage of it. It’s all in fun, of course! Atlanta-based Monica has been in the music business since she was a teenager, winning a Grammy with Brandy for their 90s hit “The Boy Is Mine.” Her last release, “Code Red,” came out in 2015. Balladeer Joe Thomas also ruled the 90s with hits like “All The Things (Your Man Won’t Do),” “I Wanna Know” and “Don’t Want To Be a Player” with the late rapper Big Pun. (He also sings the hook on “Big Rich Town,” the theme song for the TV show “Power”.) Joe’s last release “My Name is Joe Thomas” came out in 2016. Singer/songwriter Lil’ Mo has found a new career as a reality TV star and radio host, but is also known for her songs “Superwoman Pt. II” with rapper Fabolous and “I Cry” with Ja Rule. Her last album was “The Scarlet Letter” in 2014.

The Robert Cray Band
The Keswick Theater
291 N. Keswick Ave.
Glenside, Pa.
Saturday, Feb. 29, 8 p.m.
$39 – $59
Five-time Grammy-winning blues guitarist Robert Cray checks into the Keswick for a Leap Day show. The Georgia native is continuing the blues tradition established by Buddy Guy, B.B. King and others, along with Gary Clark Jr., his younger counterpart. Cray has released 23 studio albums over the last forty years, establishing himself as one of the genre’s elite. His biggest hit single, “Smoking Gun,” went to #2 on the rock charts in 1986, but he’s been a solid touring and recording artist for most of his lengthy career. Cray was one of the last musicians, along with blues and rock stalwarts Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy, to play with blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan before his untimely death in a helicopter crash in 1990. Cray’s latest release “Robert Cray and Hi Rhythm” was released in 2017.

The Philly Whiskey Walk
Multiple venues, check-in at Fox and Hound
1501 Spruce St.
Saturday, Feb. 29, noon – 10 p.m.
$65
Temps are expected to be a little nippy outside this weekend, but you might not feel them after joining up for the Philly Whiskey Walk. An eight-bar walk, it gets started at noon to showcase the premium Irish distilleries in the area. Participants receive a one-ounce taste of selected Irish whisky at each stop, and all the stops will feature specials on food, beer and whisky for purchase. A portion of the proceeds earned from the event will go to nonprofit community-based organizations.

Maple Sugar Day
Wissahickon Environmental Center – Tree House
200 W. Northwestern Ave. (Forbidden Dr. at Northwestern Ave.)
Saturday, Feb. 29, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Free
You don’t have to go to Canada for high-quality maple syrup – we have it right in the Delaware Valley. No, you aren’t expected to tap any trees for it. The Wissahickon Environmental Center is hosting its annual Maple Sugar Day where you can see what it looks like to collect the sap that is the basis for syrup and taste a variety of syrups, pancakes made with maple syrup, and maple candy. And you’ll be able to purchase all of the Pennsylvania-made maple syrup products featured. Event is rain or shine.

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