Weekly Entertainment Guide – Summerfest (balloons, music festivals & country fairs)

     The 33rd annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in the country, returns July 24-26. Pictured: Mass ascension courtesy of QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning.

    The 33rd annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in the country, returns July 24-26. Pictured: Mass ascension courtesy of QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning.

    Robin Bloom offers 20 suggestions on what to do this week.

    What’s Happening

    33rd Annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning

    It’s “love at first flight” at the 33rd annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in the country, July 24-26, with morning and evening ascensions (6:30am & 6:30pm) of 100 balloons from around the world. Signature special shaped balloons include the world’s largest American flag that commemorates 9/11. New this year, special shaped balloons of Darth Vader and Yoda (first flight on the East Coast), a 121 foot tall Seahorse, a baby blue whale, a hatching baby dinosaur, and much more. Catch a taste of ballooning with a tethered ride in a balloon that stays close to the ground and overlooks the entire festival grounds. Or, go all the way up with a pilot! Kansas, Don Felder, Tedeschi Trucks band, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings perform along with the Lehigh Valley’s own Sabrina Carpenter of the Disney Channel, plus a 5K race, fireworks, a nighttime balloon glow, arts and craft vendors, food, children’s activities and more, at Solberg Airport, Readington, NJ, north of Princeton. On-site parking available. Photo courtesy of QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning.Want more balloons? Check out the Hot Air Balloon Festival New Jersey at the Warren County Farmers’ Fair, Saturday, July 25 through Saturday, August 1, in Phillipsburg, NJ.

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    New Hope Film Festival

    Touted by the Huffington Post as the “emerging Sundance East,” the New Hope Film Festival screens 80 films from 16 countries, July 24 through August 2, including the USA, UK, Canada, France, Italy, Russian Federation, Australia, Sweden, Germany, South Africa, Bahrain, Puerto Rico, Indonesia, and South Korea. Filmmakers will be in attendance, including Susan Seidelman, who will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award on Sunday, August 2, and a special screening of her directorial work Musical Chairs (pictured). Seidelman’s credits include Desperately Seeking Susan starring Madonna. Screenings at the New Hope Arts Center, 2 Stockton Avenue, New Hope, PA and other locations. All information on the program guide. Photo courtesy of the New Hope Film Festival.

    Mess Fest

    Bring a change of clothes and prepare to get messy at the Franklin Institute’s Mess Fest, Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26 and Saturday, August 1 and Sunday, August 2, noon-4pm, offering the best in slimy, oozing, exploding, and gooey science with fun demonstrations and “make-n-take” activities. New this year, each day of the festival will have a different theme: Nasty Nature, Art and Design, Splish Splash and Gross Anatomy, 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia. Included with museum admission. Photo courtesy of the Franklin Institute.

    Christmas in July at the Blue Cross Riverrink

    Enjoy Christmas in July at the Blue Cross Riverrink’s Summerfest, Saturday, July 25, 3pm-7pm. Take photos with Summer Santa and his elves, enjoy free red and white water ice, arts and crafts, children’s activities, holiday themed music and movies and more, Columbus Boulevard and Market Street, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation.

    Philadelphia Dance Day

    Put on your dancing shoes and join in the fun with the 6th annual Philadelphia Dance Day, Saturday, July 25, beginning at 9am and featuring free workshops, live performances by some of Philadelphia’s best dance instructors at venues across the city, culminating in an evening dance party at the Ethical Society Building on Rittenhouse Square ($5). The event is designed for dance enthusiasts of all ages, dance specialty and skill level, with an array of workshop options from Indonesian to tap, Tango and striptease! A detailed schedule of events and venues is available online. Pictured: Allarh Mast Jawani, the all-female Bhangra dance team from Drexel University, performs at the evening showcase during Philadelphia Dance Day last year. The group will be teaching an afternoon Bhangra workshop this year. Photo by Sergio Rojstaczer.

    Pennsylvania Guild of Fine Craft Fair

    The Brandywine Valley’s largest fine craft fair, the Pennsylvania Guild of Fine Craft Fair, returns this weekend to the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, DE. More than 150 independent local and regional craft artists showcase their work, which includes furniture, clothing, jewelry, pottery, woodturning, sculpture, photography, and fine art, Saturday, July 25, 10am-6pm and Sunday, July 26, 10am-5pm. Pictured: Artwork by featured craft artist Simon Zeng (photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen).

    East Passyunk Car Show & Street Festival

    The 10th Annual Car Show and Street Festival (formerly known as the Doo Wop Festival) rolls into East Passyunk Avenue this Sunday, July 26, 11am-4pm, one of South Philly’s largest outdoor festivals, as more than 140 cars, motorcycles and trucks line the five blocks between Broad and Dickinson Streets and compete for Best of Show and other honors. The accompanying free street festival features continuous live music, circus performances, street vendors, rack sales, children’s activities and a craft show. Rain date is Sunday, August 2. Photo courtesy of East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District.

    Music Festivals

    The XPoNential Music Festival

    The XPoNential Music Festival returns this weekend, July 24-26, featuring a lineup of established and up-and-coming artists, including My Morning Jacket, St. Vincent (pictured), Grace Potter, The Wailers, Indigo Girls, Calexico, Buckwheat Zydeco, Lost Bayou Ramblers, The Word, and more along the Camden waterfront on the River Stage and Marina Stage at Wiggins Park and on the Main Stage at Susquehanna Bank Center. In addition to continuous music, the family-friendly festival offers food and craft vendors along with the Kids Corner area in the Children’s Garden. Photo by Alexandra Olivia.Looking for more music? Check out Summerfest Live! 2015 Philadelphia Craft Beer & Music Festival is Saturday, July 25, 3pm-7pm, with over 150 craft beers, live music all day, and more, XFINITY Live! Philadelphia, 1100 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia.

    40th Street Summer Festival

    University City District’s 40th Street Summer Series returns with a special festival this Saturday, July 25, beginning at 5pm. Enjoy a carnival atmosphere with live music by Mixed People with Red Cedar Strings and Au Jus, arts and crafts, percussion workshops by Styx Latte, martial art lessons, trapeze, juggling and tight wire with Give and Take Jugglers, dancing and hula hooping, puppet and costume display, fire dancers, and other entertainment for all ages, plus free Ben & Jerry’s and Philly Pretzels while supplies last, behind the Walnut Street Free Library, 40th and Walnut Streets, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of University City District.

    Remembering Bob Marley

    The 21st annual Peoples Festival 4Peace and Tribute to Bob Marley takes place in his first American hometown, Wilmington, Delaware, Saturday, July 25. Gates open at noon with live music, international food, worldwide arts and crafts, and performances by Romain Virgo, the Itals, JAH9, Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble, Spokey Speaky, and more, Tubman-Garret Riverfront Park, Water Street. Photo courtesy of Peoples Festival.

    Farm Fest

    Farm Fest (Future of Artistic and Revolutionary Minds) returns to South Jersey, July 23-26. Now held at Paradise Lake Campground in Hammonton, New Jersey, with a mix of jam, electronica, Americana and funk artists. Headliners include Keller Williams and Papadosio, along with Nahko and Medicine for the People, The Werks, Liquid Stranger, and more. Plus, workshops and live visual artist with Jeremiah Allen Welch and Michael Garfield. Photo courtesy of Farm Fest.

    The Spectrum Improvised Music Festival

    Looking for new music? Archer Spade, the experimental chamber music group (Dan Blacksberg and Nick Millevoi) offers a model for the creation and presentation of new music with a two-day improvised music festival, the Spectrum, Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26. 17 members from across Philly’s music community join together for a workshop and concert each night at 8pm at the Whole Shebang, 1813 S. 11th Street, rear door, South Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of Archer Spade.

    Country Festivals

    New Jersey Peach Festival and Gloucester County 4-H Fair

    Enjoy some down home fun at the annual New Jersey Peach Festival and Gloucester County 4-H Fair, Thursday, July 23 through Sunday, July 26, 4 days of activities for all ages including equestrian contests, livestock shows, animal costume contests, mud run, car show, craft fair, live music, carnival rides and more including fresh peaches and peach products. Proceeds support 4-H, the youth development program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Visit the many barns filled with animals that 4-H students have learned to care for through the program. The fair is dog-friendly and offers many events for your furry friends (who are well behaved and leashed), at the 4-H Fairgrounds south of Mullica Hill, on Route 77, Bridgeton Pike. Admission is free with a parking donation of $10 good for all four days. Photo courtesy of the New Jersey Peach Festival and Gloucester County 4-H Fair. #SassySays

    Goshen Country Fair

    The 66th Annual Goshen Country Fair is back July 27 through August 1, with games of chance, amusement rides, food, agriculture contests including dairy cow, sheep, goat, rabbit and poultry exhibits. Also, children’s activities, pet show (pictured) and live music by Charlie Gracie and more, 3 miles east of West Chester, PA. Photo courtesy of the Goshen Country Fair. #SassySays

    Delaware State Fair

    The Delaware State Fair takes place July 23 through August 1 in Harrington with carnival games, rides, pig racing and pig kissing contests (pictured), and more including live music with Bryan Adams, Meghan Trainor, Josh Turner, New Kids on the Block, and Craft Beer Festival with Grand Funk Railroad. Photo courtesy of the Delaware State Fair.


    Brainspunk Theater’s “Mercury Fur”

    Brainspunk Theater asks how far we are willing to go to save the people we love with the Philadelphia premiere of Mercury Fur, written by Philip Ridley. The controversial play is set in a post-apocalyptic version of London’s East End, stars Samuel Fineman as Darren and Joshua McLucas as Elliot, and is directed by Associate Artistic Director Josh Hitchens, July 23 through August 8, Brainspunk Theater in the PaperMill Arts, 2825 Ormes Street, Kensington. Free parking. All show times at 7:30pm. This production features graphic violence and adult situations. Children under the age of 18 not admitted without parent or guardian. Photo by to Matthew Gephart.

    “You’ve Got a Friend” at Bristol Riverside Theatre

    Bristol Riverside Theatre’s Summer Musicale Fest continues with You’ve Got a Friend, now through July 25, paying tribute to the composers of the early 1970s. Keith Baker and the BRT Concert Band is joined by Demetria Joyce Bailey, Laura Giknis, Tamar Greene, Elyse Langley, and James A. Bock to perform songs by Grammy Award-winning artists James Taylor, Carole King, Jimmy Webb and Paul Simon. Then, August 13-23, enjoy “Broadway Serenade,” including songs from Hello, Dolly!, Pippin, Wicked, On the Town, and Bye Bye Birdie, 120 Radcliffe Street Bristol, PA. Photo courtesy of Bristol Riverside Theatre.

    “Didn’t Your Father Have This Talk with You?” at Montgomery Theater

    Tony Braithwaite’s Didn’t Your Father Have This Talk with You? takes to the stage at Montgomery Theater July 23 through August 2. The one-man show includes storytelling, stand-up comedy, personal testimonies, one-liners, improvisation, audience interaction and more, based on the experiences Braithwaite had as a religion and sex education teacher at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia, 124 Main Street, Souderton, PA. Photo courtesy of Montgomery Theater.

    Shakespeare in Clark Park

    Shakespeare in Clark Park brings free productions of the Bard’s plays to the West Philadelphia park each summer. July 29 through August 2, the tragicomedy The Winter’s Tale includes a chorus of over 30 Philadelphia-area school children. Starring Bi Jean Ngo, Kevin Bergen, Corinna Burns, J. Paul Nicholas, Nicole Godino, and Gracie Martin – along with a very special puppet – and directed by Kittson O’Neill. Performances at 7pm at “The Bowl,” 43rd Street & Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia. Bring chairs and blankets and flashlights! Rain location at Mandell Theater of Drexel University, corner of 33rd and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia. Photo by Hannah Van Sciver.



    Look for #SassySays for pet friendly events. Let us know if your event is pet-friendly! Email artscalendar@whyy.org and put #SassySays in the subject line.

    Each week, the Entertainment Guide spotlights interesting local arts offerings happening now, including music, dance, theater, museums, special exhibitions and other arts events from across the region.

    To submit an event to be considered, email Robin Bloom at artscalendar@whyy.org.

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