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Sesame Place opening, an opera dinner and the Bucks County Designer House among this weekend’s highlights

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WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN

bbingaman@21st-centurymedia.com

Twitter @brianbingaman

Forever young

Please Touch Museum: From 6 to 9 p.m.  April 25 the Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, celebrates the winners of its 30th annual Book Awards. Public events include the annual Storybook Ball, where guests will be transported to enchanting villages and make believe lands through the ball’s “Once Upon a Time” theme. There will be character appearances by Wild Thing, Ryan Lion, Curious George, Paddington Bear and Baby Mouse Music, plus dancing with Baby Loves Disco. For more information, call (215) 581-3181 or visit www.pleasetouchmuseum.org.
Sesame Place: The “Sesame Street” theme park celebrates its 35th birthday with special festivities during opening day May 2. Guests who visit the park during the 2015 season will enjoy three new rides and an interactive birthday parade. The park will also be running special contests and birthday promotions throughout the season. New attractions include birthday décor and the renovated Elmo’s Eatery restaurant. The park is at 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne. Check out more at www.sesameplace.com.
Historical perspective
Mercer Museum: “To Save Our Fellow Citizens: Volunteer Firefighting, 1800-1875” goes on display April 25-Sept. 7. Objects on view include an early hand-powered engine and a hose carriage, fire helmets and parade hats, tools, models, badges, speaking trumpets, original prints and paintings, manuscript materials, and photographs. Interactive exhibit experiences include “Sound the Alarm,” which lets visitors try communicating the locations of fires using the firefighters’ bell code system from the early 1800s, and the board game “Race to the Fire,” where players compete to see who can be the first on the scene of a fire. A children’s play area lets kids try out firefighter clothing, climb on a play fire engine and use a modern fire hose and nozzle for pretend fire fighting. Special programs include “Shooting Fire: Memories of 30 Years as a Fire Scene Photographer” at 2 p.m. May 2. Admission is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, $8 for youths 6-17. The Mercer Museum is at Pine and Ashland streets, Doylestown. Call (215) 345-0210 or visit www.mercermuseum.org.

Philadelphia VFA members with their hand engine while on an excursion to Pittsburgh in October 1907. This image is from "To Save Our Fellow Citizens" at the Mercer Museum.  Gift from the Volunteer Firemen's Association of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia VFA members with their hand engine while on an excursion to Pittsburgh in October 1907. This image is from “To Save Our Fellow Citizens” at the Mercer Museum. Gift from the Volunteer Firemen’s Association of Philadelphia.

Peter Wentz Farmstead: What happened at the Wentz house after the sun went down during the 18th century, with no TV or internet. They didn’t just go to bed, did they? Check out a “Night Life” tour at 7:30 p.m. May 1. Guided lantern-lit tours will be offered at set times, and preregistration is required by calling (610) 584-5104. A $2 donation per person is suggested. The Peter Wentz Farmstead is located at 2030 Shearer Road, Worcester.
Opera dinner
Caruso’s Brick Oven Trattoria: An evening of Italian cuisine and live opera selections is set for April 28 at the Main Street, Souderton restaurant. Performing will be bass-baritone Mark Moliterno, soprano Toni Marie Palmertree and mezzo-soprano Maja Lisa FritzHuspen. Seth Trumbore will accompany them on piano. Tickets are $55. This event is being presented by the music department of Church of the Holy Spirit in Upper Salford. Call (215) 234-8020 or visit http://churchoftheholyspirit.us.
What’s trending
Bucks County Designer House & Gardens: Villa d’Braccia at 745 Stump Road, Warrington, is the 40th Bucks County Designer House & Gardens, open to the public for tours April 26-May 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays (closed Memorial Day) and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Tickets for this fundraiser for Doylestown Health are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Get more information at (215) 345-2191 or www.buckscountydesignerhouse.org.
Fashion show: A Swing into Spring fashion show, featuring clothes from Shekala’s, is held April 25 at Franconia Heritage Banquet and Conference Center, Route 113, Franconia. Doors open at 9 a.m., with breakfast at 10. Reservations are $28 and benefit Grand View Hospital Auxiliary. Call (215) 453-4381.
Earth Day
Elmwood Park Zoo: Party for the Planet, beginning at 10 a.m. April 25, features music group Lolly & Yo Yo, Norristown Educational Theater’s production of “Just a Dream: The Green Play,” 25 businesses with eco-friendly products, document shredding for households (two bag/box limit per person) and more. The zoo is at 1661 Harding Blvd., Norristown. Contact Guest Services at (610) 277-3825, ext. 222.
Colorful wonderland
Academy of Natural Sciences: An international orchid show and sale comes to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University noon to 6 p.m. April 24 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 25-26. Presented in collaboration with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Orchid Society, the show also features guided tours, lectures on orchid cultivation for beginners and experienced orchid growers, behind-the-scenes tours of the academy’s botany collection and refreshments. The Academy of Natural Sciences is at 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. For more information and online tickets, visit www.ansp.org/orchidshow or call (215) 299-1167.
New art exhibits
Brandywine River Museum: “Horace Pippin: The Way I See It” is on view April 25-July 19 at the museum, Route 1, Chadds Ford, where Wyeth studio tours are also open through Nov. 22. Pippin, a self-taught African-American artist who became famous in the ‘30s, vividly depicts intimate family moments and floral still lifes to scenes of war, history and religion. It’s the first major exhibition of his work in more than 20 years. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Admission is $15, $10 for seniors 65+, $6 for students and children ages 6-12. Call (610) 388-2700 or visit www.brandywinemuseum.org.
Berman Museum: The annual Student Exhibition at the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College is open through May 15. It features new works in painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media installations, video and photography. The college is at 601 E. Main st., Collegeville. Admission is free and gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Take your pick
Peddler’s Village: May is National Strawberry Month and Peddler’s Village’s 37th annual Strawberry Festival runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 2-3. Admission is free and the festival is held rain or shine. Taste strawberries from chocolate-dipped, smoothies and fritters to shortcakes, pastries and pies. There’s also strawberry pie eating contests, craft vendors, live musical entertainment and children’s crafts. The village is at Route 263 and Street Road, Lahaska. Visit www.peddlersvillage.com or call (215) 794-4000.
Concert highlights
Wyebrook Farm: Marah, Frog Holler, Mason Porter, Birdie Busch, The Youngers, Manatawny Creek Ramblers and Chris Rattie perform during the second annual Wyebrook Music Festival April 25 at Wyebrook Farm, 150 Wyebrook Road, Honey Brook. Doors will open at 10 a.m., with music and farm-fresh food from Chef Andrew Wood 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. BYOB. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 at the gate, free to children under 12. Call (610) 942-7481 or visit www.wyebrookfarm.com.
Bucks County Blues Society: The 2015 Spring Fever Footstomper happens 2 to 6 p.m. April 26 at the Terchon VFW, 1315 Hardy Road, Edgely. Performing will be The Murali Coryell Band, Gas House Gorillas and The Mojo Gypsies. Advance tickets for this 21+ event are $22 and include buffet and door prizes. Visit www.buckscountybluessociety.org.
Rat Pack tribute: Honor Flight Philadelphia presents “Swinging with the Rat Pack,” a benefit for World War II veterans at 3:30 p.m. April 26 at the Springfield Country Club, 400 W. Sproul Road, Springfield. Tickets are $50 per person in advance and include a buffet lunch. Cash bar is available. Call Deanne at (267) 303-5977.
Vox Ama Deus: A “Brilliant Baroque: Musical Masterworks for Chamber Orchestra and Instrumental Soloists” program is performed at 8 p.m. April 24 at Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, 8000 St. Martin’s Lane at West Willow Grove Avenue in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, and at 6 p.m. April 26 at Daylesford Abbey, 220 S. Valley Road, Paoli. Tickets are $25, $20 for seniors, $10 for students. Call (610) 688-2800 or see www.voxamadeus.org.
James A. Michener Art Museum: A Jazz Night concert in the Edgar N. Putnam Event Pavilion features The Baylor Project 8 to 11 p.m. April 25. Tickets are $53, $25 for students with a paying adult, and includes museum admission, “heavy” hors d’oeuvres, appetizers, desserts, beer and wine. The museum is at 138 S. Pine St., Doylestown. See www.michenerartmuseum.org.
Tin Angel: Shlomit & RebbeSoul seeks to make ancient music from Yemen rock at 7:30 p.m. May 3 with their “Seal of Solomon” show. For tickets, call (215) 928-0978.
Montgomery County Community College: The student Chamber Strings ensemble performs the Mendelssohn violin concerto with guest soloist, violinist James Lyon at 4 p.m. April 26 in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Whitpain. Admission is free, but tickets are required by going to www.mc3.edu/livelyarts or calling (215) 641-6518. Also, at 7 p.m. April 29, a Performing Arts Showcase concert will feature the Chamber Strings, the Guitar Ensemble and the Chamber and College Choirs, accompanied by Nina Muto. The College Choir will be presenting the program, “Songs from Stage and Screen,” featuring the works from Broadway, Gilbert and Sullivan and the movies. Chamber Choir will perform a cappella works from the renaissance, baroque and romantic repertory. At 7 p.m. April 30, a Performing Arts Showcase concert will feature the jazz ensembles performing selections by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, Horace Silver and Joe Zawinul. Additionally, the program will feature jazz pianist Jared Alston.
On stage
Ursinus College: The Ursinus Dance Company presents “Roots and Wings” at 7:30 p.m. April 24-25 in the Lenfest Theater in the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center. The program offers five dance pieces featuring Ursinus student dancers and musicians by Philadelphia-based African dance choreographers Jeannine Osayande and Ira Bond with the Dunya Performing Arts Company; Chicago-based choreographer Billy Siegenfeld; student choreographer Rosie Davis-Aubrey and the work of dance faculty Karen Clemente and Jeanine McCain. The college is at 601 E. Main St., Collegeville. Tickets are $5, $2 for students. Go to www.ursinus.edu/tickets or call (610) 409-3030.
Forrest Theatre: Charlie has reluctantly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, he finds inspiration from an entertainer named Lola. The musical “Kinky Boots” runs April 28-May 10 at the Forrest, 1114 Walnut St., Philadelphia. Tickets range from $55-$115 and performances are 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays. Call (800) 447-7400.
Montgomery County Community College: The Dance Ensemble Spring Concert is set for 8 p.m. April 24 in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Whitpain. Admission is free, but tickets are required by going to www.mc3.edu/livelyarts or calling (215) 641-6518. Also, there will be a Performing Arts Showcase at 12:30 p.m. April 27. All performances are held in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.
North Penn High School: NPHS Theatre is presenting “Titanic the Musical,” the real story of the ordinary people who set sail on the “unsinkable” ship April 10, 1912, at 7:30 p.m. April 30, May 1 and May 2, and 2 p.m. May 3 (Gold Card matinee at 1 p.m. April 29). North Penn is at 1340 Valley Forge Road, Towamencin. For tickets and more information, call (215) 853-1352 or visit http://nptheater.ticketleap.com/titanic.
V-Dub
Mount Hope Estate: Volkswagen enthusiasts will gather for a day of food, friends and VWs at Volksfest 2015 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 25 at the Mount Hope Estate & Winery, Route 72, Cornwall. In addition to the display of cars, visitors can browse more than 75 vendors. Specialty awards will be given to both air-cooled and water-cooled vehicles, including best of show overall and worst of show overall. Cost is $1 per carload for spectators, $5 per car for show vehicles (includes driver and passengers). For more information email HAVOCPrez@gmail.com or visit www.GTI16V.com. Also see www.parenfaire.com/volksfest/index.html.
Need a laugh?
Broad Axe Tavern: A comedy show featuring Tim Grill, Theresa Krallinger, Chris Dolan and Bill Wood is set for 8:30 p.m. April 25 at the Broad Axe Tavern, 901 W. Bulter Pike, Whitpain. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Go to www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1348078 or call (610) 220-9988.
Man’s best friend
Academy of Natural Sciences: So what is a dog is thinking when it runs around in circles chasing its tail? Or how about when it gives you that guilty look? Animal behaviorist and author Alexandra Horowitz gives an illustrated talk, with a book signing of “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know,” at 3 p.m. May 3 at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. Admission is $15.95, $13.95 for children 3-12. Call (215) 299-1000.

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