Countdown to 2020: 10 fun Philly things to do before the ball drops in this week’s ‘Things To Do’

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RiverRink on the Delaware River waterfront. (Brad Larrison for WHYY)

RiverRink on the Delaware River waterfront. (Brad Larrison for WHYY)

Whether you are visiting with friends and family or kicking it cozy solo, the week between Christmas and Jan. 1 offers plenty of fun. Things to do in the Delaware Valley this week range from the spiritual to the playful and the popping.

Festival of Lights
Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.
Friday, Dec. 27, 5 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
Free with museum admission
The Philadelphia Museum of Art hosts its annual Hanukkah celebration with the help of Guadeloupean jazz saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart. The offspring of two gifted writers, Schwarz-Bart mines his creative DNA for “Hazzan,” his latest release. The album combines liturgical chants with contemporary jazz for a unique sound. A special Friday Nights Plus admission ticket includes preferred seating, a tasting plate, and parking.

Kwanzaa w/ Dr. Karenga: 53rd Anniversary Celebration
West Philadelphia High School
4901 Chestnut St.
Saturday, Dec. 28, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
$5 -$10
Dr. Maulana Karenga founded Kwanzaa in 1966 to connect African celebratory practices to African Americans. Drawing from African harvest traditions, the seven-day holiday celebrated from Dec. 26 – Jan. 1 includes the daily lighting of candles on a kinara, with each day representing a specific principle. Gifts are exchanged and Kwanzaa generally includes ceremonies with music, food and the symbolic pouring of libations to honor ancestors. Dr. Karenga will be present at the 53rd annual celebration in Philadelphia which includes food, entertainment, a holiday market, and family-friendly activities.

Jamie Stem Live with Bad Mother Shuckers Food Truck at Bishop Estate
Bishop Estate Vineyard and Winery
2730 Hilltown Pike
Perkasie, Pa.
Saturday, Dec. 28, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
As a pre-New Year’s Eve celebration, Bishop Estate Winery is certainly setting the right price, because free is always right. Live music and wine are included at the all-ages, rain or shine event that includes free admission and parking. Well-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome and there will be fire pits and bonfires ablaze to light s’mores. While the concert takes place outside, there is also heated seating inside. Wine and beer are available for purchase and you can even keep the glass! Mother Schuckers will be on hand all night to provide food and drink.

Earth, Wind and Fire
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino – Mark G. Etess Arena
1000 Boardwalk
Atlantic City, N.J.
Saturday, Dec. 28, 8 p.m.
$60 – $130
Earth, Wind and Fire founder Maurice White wanted his group to incorporate spiritual beliefs and provide the soundtrack for those who sought a higher vibration. With his brother Verdine and vocalist Philip Bailey, among several other stellar musicians, Maurice accomplished his goal, seeing his band become one of the signature groups of the ’70s. Classic hits like “September,” “That’s The Way Of The World” and “Shining Star” showcased both uplifting lyrics and the band’s musicianship which drew from jazz, rock, R&B and funk to craft a uniquely eclectic sound. Though Maurice passed in 2016, Earth, Wind and Fire, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, continues to perform worldwide. Along the way, they inspired countless other musicians in multiple genres. Their latest release, “Holiday” came out in 2014.

Eric Benèt
City Winery
990 Filbert St.
Sunday, Dec. 29, 5 p.m.
$60 – $75
Crooner Eric Benèt has inspired dedicated fans as one of contemporary R&B’s signature acts since the ’90s. The singer/songwriter is best known for his expressive songwriting and hit duets like the Grammy-winning “Spend My Life With You” with Tamia and “Georgy Porgy” with Faith Evans. As great songwriters do, he put his heartbreak into his music, releasing 2005’s “Hurricane” after his much-publicized breakup with Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry. His latest, self-titled release came out in 2016.

New Year’s Eve at Dave and Busters
Dave and Buster’s
325 N. Columbus Blvd.
Tuesday, Dec. 31,  noon, 4 p.m., 9 p.m. (21 and over)
$23.49 – $180
Dave and Buster’s is throwing a big party to ring in 2020 and everyone is invited. The holiday celebration is divided into three parts: two family-friendly events and a nighttime party for the 21 and older crowd. The celebrations at noon and at 4 p.m. include a full food menu, a power card (for games) and even a ball drop celebration. The 4 p.m. event provides viewing access to the waterfront fireworks. The 21-and-up celebration begins at 9 p.m. and includes a three-course dinner, DJ, unlimited video game play and free parking. Dave and Buster’s has a similar schedule at their Plymouth Meeting and Franklin Mills locations. Other nearby New Year’s Eve options are karaoke at Yakitori Boy in Chinatown and arcade gaming with complimentary prosecco and ball drop watching at Barcade Fishtown.

New Year’s Eve Parties On Ice
Blue Cross RiverRink
101 S. Columbus Blvd.
Tuesday, Dec. 31, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., 10 p.m. – 1 a.m.
You can skate into the new year at Blue Cross RiverRink, which offers several New Year’s Eve party options. And even if you don’t skate, you can attend on a spectator ticket. Skating or spectating admission, ice skate rental, snacks, sodas, live performances, access to fire pits and an arcade are all covered under each ticket. You can also see the fireworks show sponsored by Rivers Casino (formerly SugarHouse Casino) at 6 p.m. and midnight.

Kool and The Gang and KC and The Sunshine Band
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino – Mark G. Etess Arena
1000 Boardwalk
Atlantic City, N.J.
Tuesday, Dec. 31, 9:30 p.m.
$59 – $115
Two iconic bands are coming together for one memorable night. Founded in New Jersey by brothers,  Robert “Kool” Bell and Ronald Bell with several others, Kool and the Gang has churned out mega-hits like “Hollywood Swinging,” “Ladies Night,” “Celebration,” “Joanna,” and “Cherish.” The band has incorporated many musicians over its five decades in music, including vocalist James “J.T.” Taylor, who was the lead singer on several of their biggest hits. Kool and The Gang remains a favorite of contemporary hip-hop artists who pull their beats for samples. Think D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince who incorporated “Summer Madness” in their 1991 hit “Summertime.” Kool and the Gang’s latest release “Sexy” came out in 2016.

KC and The Sunshine Band became radio staples in the ’70s with hits like “Boogie Shoes,” “That’s The Way I Like It,” “Get Down Tonight” and more. The Florida-based band was founded in 1973 by Harry Wayne Casey, the “K.C.” of the band, who remains its frontman to this day.

Kindred The Family Soul
City Winery
990 Filbert St.
Tuesday, Dec. 31, 7 p.m.
$45 – $75
Married Philadelphia duo Kindred The Family Soul doesn’t just sing about love, kids and marriage, they live it. Philadelphia native Fatin Dantzler and his wife, Aja, have made music in and for their community for the last 20 years. Best known for the hits “Far Away” and “Rhythm of Life,” they’ve released six albums and had six children, the “family” in the soul. Kindred the Family Soul has been heralded not just for their music, but for their commitment to Philadelphia families and children via their Kindred Music and Culture Festival in West Philadelphia and for their live music events, Kindred Presents.

Dave Chappelle
The Met Philadelphia
858 N. Broad St.
Tuesday, Dec. 31, 7 p.m.
$270 – $524
Washington, D.C. native Dave Chappelle has weathered controversy to become one of America’s most beloved comedians. The son of professors, his journey began on the Apollo stage, the launchpad for many Black comedians. Chappelle survived merciless booing on his first appearance to eventually gain fans through a regular set on Russell Simmons’ HBO standup show,  “Def Comedy Jam.” He then rocketed to mainstream success with “Chappelle’s Show” on Comedy Central. Now considered among the top echelon of comedians, the Emmy and Grammy winner is acclaimed for his acerbic take on life, pop culture, and relationships. In 2016, he signed a lucrative deal with Netflix, resulting in five controversial but highly-viewed specials. Expect a wild entrance into 2020 with this show. [Note: Only single tickets are available for this show, but authorized resellers may have more options.

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