The 1990 Chrysanthemum Festival opened yesterday at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa., amid a blaze of colorful blooms. About 15,000 mums in various shades of red, bronze, purple, pink, orange, yellow and white serve as a backdrop for "Birds in Paradise," theme of this year's display, which continues through Nov. 25.
In addition to the mums the exotic bird-of-paradise plants are highlighted this year along with dozens of bird topiary and even some live birds. A centerpiece for the indoor display is a pair of 9-foot-tall peacocks with 20-foot wide tails made up of purple, yellow and bronze-colored chrysanthemums. There are numerous other tropical and local "plant birds" such as parrots fashioned from tiny ajugas, a covey of quail made up of assorted cactuses and succulents, and a life-size "Big Bird," created from ivy.
Two live peacocks roam among the outdoor gardens, while indoors mandarin ducks swim in the conservatory pools and finches and tropical birds are caged in other areas. Bird houses, made from various materials, are on display in the conservatories and outdoors are 15 types of bird feeders and a "backyard habitat" designed by the staff of the National Wildlife Federation to give ideas on how to attract birds to your own backyard.
Throughout the festival weeks,programs and entertainments relating to the bird theme have been planned, including live bird shows, exhibits of birds in crafts and fine arts, storytelling and music. Here's the schedule for weekends:
This weekend, bird stories, songs and live demonstrations; Nov. 3 and 4, bird pottery, paintings, sculpture, photography, video and carvings by local artisans; Nov. 10 and 11, exhibits and live presentations by local nature societies, zoos and museums; Nov. 17 and 18, decoy displays by the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum and birds from the Philadelphia Zoo's "Zoo on Wheels"; Nov. 24 and 25, musical entertainment.
Lectures, slide shows and films are also featured throughout the month and a children's activity room is open on weekends. Each Saturday evening "The Firebird" is celebrated with five minutes of fireworks, and during the week of Nov. 5-9 local chefs will give fall food demonstrations.
Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. On Saturdays the hours are extended until 9 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 to 14, free for those under 6.
Longwood Gardens are on U.S. 1, three miles east of Kennett Square. For information, call (215) 388-6741.
A Thanksgiving Proclamation issued in 1963 by PresidenKennedy recognized America's first Thanksgiving as one that took place Dec. 4, 1619, on the banks of the King James River in Virginia. It preceded the first Pilgrim celebration in Massachusetts by more than a year.
The 32nd annual Virginia Thanksgiving Festival celebrates this event next Sunday on its original site at Berkeley Plantation in Charles City County, Va.
Gates open at 9 a.m. for a full day of family fun. Among the many activities scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. are displays of Colonial and Indian crafts, 17th century English entertainment and music, Indian tribal dances and presentations by the Chickahominy and Rappahannock Indians, an interfaith prayer service, an arts and crafts fair, an Elizabethan magician, a demonstration by the U.S. Color Guard, marching bands and a concert by the New Virginians. Highlight of the day will be a re-enactment of the first Thanksgiving, depicting Capt. John Woodlief and his men arriving from England at the Berkeley grant in 1619. The re-enactment will take place at 1 p.m. on Berkeley's west lawn.
Feasting is an important part of any Thanksgiving celebration and this one is no exception. There will be an ample supply of Virginia foods for sale, such as Virginia fried ham sandwiches, French fried sweet potatoes, barbecue, smoked turkey, homemade pies and Sally Lunn bread, or you can bring your own picnic.
Admission, which includes tours of the plantation, is $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens, $3 for children ages 5 to 16, free for children under 5. Berkeley Plantation is on Route 5 in Charles City County between Richmond and Williamsburg, Va. For information, call (804) 272-3226.
Each year during the first weekend in November Urbanna's population swells from 660 to 75,000 as visitors flock there for Virginia's official oyster festival.
Now in its 33rd year, the event will be held Friday and Saturday with activities taking place throughout town. As usual, tall ships will be in port for the festivities. Their arrival is set for Friday at 1 p.m. and the public is welcome aboard during their visit. Many of the activities will be held at the festival village, a revamped children's lot in the center of town. Here you'll find pony rides, a children's carnival, food and concessions and musical entertainment throughout the day on Saturday.