On the second weekend of every September, the Brandywine Valley of southeastern Pennsylvania-northern Delaware hosts three major festivals that are a huge draw for visitors to an area that is already rich in historic and cultural attractions.
If you have ever thought about visiting the Brandywine Valley to see such sights as the conservatories, gardens and fountains at Longwood Gardens, the Wyeth art on display at the Brandywine River Museum, or the gardens and American decorative arts collections at the Wintertour Museum and Gardens, then I suggest visiting around the second weekend in September. The weather always seems to be perfect at that time of year and that weekend always hosts three very diverse, major area festivals within a fifteen minute drive of one another.
Chadds Ford Days
This two day festival started as a celebration of the Battle of the Brandywine which was fought on Sept. 11. 1777.
Even though this particular battle was lost, it played an important role in winning the overall war. This festival includes Revolutionary War reenactors, colonial demonstrations and tours of the historical buildings managed by the Chadds Ford Historical Society. There is also a Makers Marketplace featuring colonial and other crafts and handmade products. Of course there is also a variety of food (including funnel cakes) and beverages from local restaurants and a stage for music.
Chadds Ford Days is held on the grounds of the Chadds Ford Historical Society at 1736 N. Creek Road, Chadds Ford, PA 19317.
For up to date festival information, visit https://www.chaddsforddays.com/
Brandywine Festival of the Arts
Just across the PA border in Brandywine Park, in Wilmington,
Delaware, is a two day juried arts festival that features about 250 artists exhibiting one-of-a-kind art. The festival has been going on for over 50 years (it started in 1961), is nationally recognized and regularly ranks in the top 100 shows in the country. Artists come from all across the east coast and even across the country with as many as thirty states being represented.
The wide variety of media includes fine art, jewelry, leather crafting, furniture design, woodworking, metal work, sculpture, pottery, photography, and other wearable and decorative art. There are a variety of food and drink options (yes-including funnel cakes). The festival also features original music from up-and-coming singer/songwriters, jazz, blues, folk, and world music performers in an open air venue.
The festival is held at Brandywine Park, located at 1001 North Park Drive, Wilmington, DE 19802. Parking in the park is limited, but you can park at local area schools and businesses and take a free shuttle to the show. Check website for details.
For up to date festival information visit http://www.brandywinearts.com/
Kennett Square Mushroom Festival
The Big Daddy of festivals on this weekend is the Mushroom Festival in my home town of Kennett Square. Kennett Square calls itself the Mushroom Capital because 65% of the mushrooms consumed in the US are grown here. In 1986 a few local mushroom enthusiasts set up a mushroom festival to raise money for high school scholarships. That first event was only a one day affair and covered two blocks.
Thirty two years later, the Mushroom Festival has become a huge area draw that covers a mile down State Street and brings in over 100,000 visitors. This major function is organized by about 500 volunteers and still raises money for local groups. In 2016, over $80,000 was donated to local area non-for-profit-organizations.
The Mushroom Festival kicks off on Friday evening with a big parade. Then for the next two days, there is a 5K run, an antique car show, mushroom cook-offs, a soup and wine tent, numerous food vendors selling every type of food imaginable, arts and crafts vendors, a carnival, a mushroom growers exhibit, children’s activities, a music stage, and more. And yes, there are funnel cakes. And you can also buy mushrooms.
The GPS address for the Mushroom Festival is 101 South Union Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348. Signs will direct you to parking locations as you enter the town, and shuttle buses will take you to the festival.
For up to date festival information, visit http://mushroomfestival.org/
Hope your next visit to the Brandywine Valley includes one of these three events.
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