Exotic flowers, classic sounds and women making history stand out

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day a week early with a parade on the 10th, or check out another one of our picks.

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Students from the McHugh School of Irish Dance in Delaware County perform during the Saint Patrick's Day Parade.

Students from the McHugh School of Irish Dance in Delaware County perform during the Saint Patrick's Day Parade. (Brad Larrison for WHYY)

Women’s History Month continues with special events building up to International Women’s Day Friday. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the beauty of orchids or listen to music spanning several eras.

WomynFest 2019
The Rotunda
4014 Walnut St., Philadelphia
Sunday; 6-11 p.m.
Free, all ages

This month is a great time to hear some women musicians doing their thing. At the Rotunda in West Philly, the 19th annual WomynFest is all about music. Founder Denice Witkowski of Vitamin D Productions has organized a diverse group of musicians and bands who will perform in a variety of genres. Artists include GhettoSongBird, Julieann Ott, Lisa Jeanette and Tracy Colletto.

Bob Weir and Wolf Bros
The Met Philadelphia
858 N. Broad St.
Friday; 7:30 p.m.
$69.95 and up

As a founding member of the Grateful Dead, guitarist Bob Weir continues to play their music with his current group, Bob Weir and Wolf Bros. In the last year, they’ve been touring to the appreciation of devoted fans around the country. The Bros along for the ride are bassist/producer Don Was of Was (Not Was) who had hits in the ‘80s but earned even greater accolades as a Grammy-winning producer. Drummer Jay Lane is an alumnus of RatDog, another of Weir’s bands, who’s also played with Primus and Phil Lesh and Friends. Look for the show to encompass the discographies of all involved.

Toni! Tony! Tonè! with Jody Watley
Keswick Theater
291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside, Pennsylvania
March 9; 8 p.m.

Best known for their ‘90s R&B hits “It Never Rains (In Southern California),” “Feels Good” and “Anniversary,” the trio from the Bay Area created a solid legacy as classic soul men. Though lead singer Raphael Saadiq left the group years ago, the band has been touring with Amil Khalil in his place. Jody Watley, 1988 Grammy winner for best new artist, started out as a “Soul Train” dancer. After a stint in Shalamar, she scored multiple hits in the ‘90s as a solo artist with songs including “Looking for a New Love.” Along the way, she also became a fashion icon. If you’re craving ‘90s soul, this is the show for you.

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International Womxm’s Day
Asian Arts Initiative
1219 Vine St., Philadelphia
March 8; 6-11 p.m.

Celebrate Women’s History Month in what the Asian Arts Initiative bills as a “safer” space for women of color, nonbinary, queer and transgender people, and anyone else who embraces the feminine and inclusive.
The event promises a night of music, dance and food, as well as a home ownership workshop, tarot card readings and a keynote address from Thenmozhi Soundararajan of Equality Labs. And although there is an admission cost, no one will be refused for lack of ability to pay.

Orchid Extravaganza
Longwood Gardens
1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Through March 24; 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Orchids are among the most beautiful and delicate flowers in the floral pantheon. Designer Halston is said to have spent in the “low six figures” to surround himself with them in his design studio. Longwood Gardens’ popular Orchid Extravaganza is a serene place to indulge your adoration. Thousands of varieties are on display including the best known: cymbidium and phalaenopsis.

Merriam Theater
250 S. Broad St., Philadelphia
Through March 10

Broadway Philadelphia’s latest offering, the 20th anniversary of the Tony-winning Broadway sensation “Rent” is only here in Philly for a five-day run that’s likely to be sold out. (It returns for two days in October, and you can buy tickets now. ) But this engagement comes with a special ticket lottery. If you are able to get to the Merriam box office on the day of the shows, you may be able to purchase special $25 tickets reserved in the front two rows of the orchestra section. Cash only, though, and they are being sold two hours before showtime. Recommendation: Get there even earlier.

Ballet X
Wilma Theater
265 S. Broad St., Philadelphia
Through March 17

Ballet X’s spring series kicks off with two works incorporating elements of street dance and Cy Twombly’s artwork. Lil Buck and Katarzyna Skarpetowska, the 2019 Choreographic Fellow, are staging “Express” and “Off the Canvas,” for the first time in Philadelphia. Choreographer Nicolo Fonte stages his third Ballet X premiere, “Steep Drop Euphoric.”

Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade
John F. Kennedy Boulevard, various sites
March 10; 11:15 a.m.-3 p.m.

Is that bagpipes we hear? Then it must be St. Patrick’s Day parade time in Philly. The annual parade – put on since 1771 – takes place Sunday, winding its way down JFK Boulevard and to the performance area at Fifth and Market. Grand marshal Sean McMenamin will lead the way, and the parade goes on rain (snow, frigid temps) or shine.

Summer and Winter Dance Fundraiser
The Bank
3750 Lancaster Ave., Philadelphia
March 8; 8-11 p.m.

Let’s just act like the freezing temps are in our imagination, and it’s the time of year where lingering in the park is fun. That’s the premise of “Summer in the Winter,” a benefit event for Theater in the X and Shakespeare in the Park that will fortunately be held indoors.
Theater in the X puts on multicultural plays in West Philly’s Clark Park while Shakespeare in the Park focuses solely on the works of the Bard.
The idea is to make theater more accessible to those who might not otherwise have a chance to see a live production by staging performances in the neighborhood. Proceeds will benefit the work of both groups.

“Welcome the Stranger” opening reception
National Liberty Museum
321 Chestnut St., Philadelphia
March 8; 6-8:30 p.m.

A collection of Micaela Amateau Amato’s works in cast glass, ceramics and mixed media is on display at the National Liberty Museum. Some pieces reimagining the heroes of past and present focus on women including Harriet Tubman and Malala Yousafzai; the exhibit also includes likenesses of Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Einstein. Friday’s opening reception includes music, refreshments, spoken word poetry and a chance to meet the artist.

Charter Day
State Museum of Pennsylvania
300 North St., Harrisburg
March 10; noon-5 p.m.

Celebrate Pennsylvania’s 338th birthday Sunday during Charter Day in Harrisburg. The state’s original charter is on display along with documents heralding the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. On Charter Day, museum admission is free, and it includes access to the planetarium and galleries, along with multiple other sites on Pennsylvania’s Trails of History. Graeme Park in Horsham and Hope Lodge are among the sites along those trails.

The Odyssey
Berlind Theater at McCarter Theatre Center
91 University Place, Princeton, New Jersey
March 8 and 9; 8 p.m.
March 10; 3 p.m.

A modern interpretation of the classic Homer work, “The Odyssey” is a Princeton student production put on with the help of several community and campus organizations including the Trenton Children’s Chorus, the Trenton Circus Squad and Raqs: Princeton’s Belly Dance Company. This production follows the New York Public Theater PublicWorks adaptation.

Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival
Atlantic Sands Hotel and Conference Center
229 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
March 9; 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

You don’t have to go to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory or Hershey Park to delight in the sweet world of chocolate as the 29th annual Chocolate Festival returns to Rehoboth Beach Saturday. Cocoa-infused delicacies compete for top prizes; in the meantime, you can sample tasty treats from 18 purveyors of chocolate. As an added bonus, celebrity chef Vincent Tropepe will be on hand to sign copies of his book “In My Whites.” Proceeds to benefit the Harry K Foundation to defeat childhood hunger in Delaware.

The BIG Exhibit
Philly Art Collective
253 N. Third St., Philadelphia
March 9; 6-9 p.m.
Donation only

Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace was one of rap’s leading icons when he was shot and killed in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997. Since then, the Brooklyn-based rapper’s legacy and unsolved murder have continued to captivate hip-hop fans. The Philly Art Collective pays tribute to Biggie, as he was affectionately known, with an evening of live music, art, and wine. The first 50 attendees will receive a piece of artwork.

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