What To Do: Butterfly Festival will go on, with a few changes

Pin It

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times 

Butterfly Festival

If you have butterfly bushes in your yard or in your neighborhood, you’ve probably seen plenty of the beautiful insects flying around, dancing with each other and feeding on the plants’ blooms.

Every year, there is a colorful and entertaining Butterfly Festival in late August at Colonial Gardens (745 Schuylkill Rd, Phoenixville, http://colonialgardenspa.com/butterfly-festival).

In an ordinary year, visitors to the annual event were able to learn about Monarch butterflies and how to create their own way station to protect the fragile insects. There were also educational seminars about the life cycle of the monarch butterfly as well as food booths, a craft festival, guest speakers, children’s activities, games and an assortment of vendors.

But this is no ordinary year. It is the year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 Butterfly Festival will be held August 22 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. – with notable differences from festivals of the past.

The following message has been posted on Colonial Gardens’ website —

The Butterfly Festival has become a tradition for many families in the Phoenixville area. In order to keep our community safe, we have changed our format for this annual event. The Butterfly Festival will still have timed releases and feature local crafters and vendors. Here are the major changes:

  • The Butterfly Festival revolves around mass releases of monarch butterflies. In past years, guests could enter the festival area with or without a reserved butterfly. This year, only those folks who have reserved a space at the festival may attend and only during two-hour time slots. There will be four releases. This results in limiting us to 200 guests at the venue at a time. Guests will receive wristbands upon entry to indicate which timeslot they are signed up for.
    · Butterflies available by reservation. Guests will call 610-948-9755 with the number of butterflies they’d like to reserve, number of people in their party, preferred time slot, phone number, and payment information. Butterflies are $8 to reserve.
    · Masks are Required: Just as masks are required while shopping at Colonial Gardens, masks will be required for guests over the age of 2 who choose to attend the Butterfly Festival. All staff and vendors will also wear masks and adhere to social distancing.
    · Reduced Attractions: Hayrides will be available at $3 each, with limited passengers per wagon. Face painting, moon bounce, and educational seminars will be canceled.

Additional Ways We Are Reducing Risks —

  • Social Distancing Signs
    · Increased Disinfectant of the Restrooms
    · Hand sanitizer Availability

There will be four timeslots —

Timeslot 1: Arrival at 9 a.m. Release at 10 a.m. Departure by 11 a.m.

Timeslot 2: Arrival at 11 a.m. Release at noon. Departure by 1 p.m.

Timeslot 3: Arrival at 1 p.m. Release at 2 p.m. Departure by 3 p.m.

Timeslot 4: Arrival at 3 p.m. Release at 4 p.m. Departure by 5 p.m.

Check in process: Check-in table has wristbands with colors for each time slot. Guests will check in at entrance and put wristbands on. Butterflies will be handed out in the allee near release time.

Crowd Control: Announcements will be made via microphone to indicate when guests from one time slot should exit. Signs will encourage social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be provided.

Bathrooms: Porta potties will be sanitized hourly.

Attractions: Release, vendors, and hayrides.

Tyler Arboretum

Tyler Arboretum (515 Painter Road, Media, 610-566-9134, www.tylerarboretum.org) also held a butterfly event each year – “Bugs and Butterflies.”

Tyler Arboretum, a non-profit public garden, encompasses 650 acres of renowned plant collections, heritage and champion trees and historic buildings — along with 17 miles of hiking trails through woodlands, wetlands and meadows.

The arboretum had butterfly experts available to provide information on creating a butterfly-friendly habitat in home gardens — an environment featuring all the butterflies’ favorite plants.

Visitors were able to learn all about butterflies that are native to our area — how they transform from egg to caterpillar, then to chrysalis, and finally to butterfly.

In Tyler Arboretum’s Butterfly House, visitors were treated to looks at a wide array of native butterflies, including Spicebush Swallowtails, Eastern Tailed Blues, Great Spangled Fritillaries, and, of course, Monarchs.

This year, the event has been cancelled because of the pandemic – but Tyler still is presenting a butterfly-related event.

On August 26 from 7-8 p.m., Tyler is presenting “Creating & Maintaining a Pollinator Garden Zoom Series​.”

The garden attraction posted the following message on its website –

Our friends, the Monarchs, Swallowtails, Painted Ladies and many more need plants to provide food during their caterpillar stage and also to provide nectar for the adult butterflies. Do you know which plants to choose and what makes them great choices for your garden?

We do, and we’ll show you how to choose and install plants for our area’s most common butterflies in this zoom class.  We will teach you how to choose and install plants that are the most attractive to our pollinators and how to install them to create a beautiful backyard garden.

Fee for the class is $7 for members and $10 for non-members.

Registration closes one hour prior to the start of class. Zoom links will be emailed within one hour before the start of program. 

West Chester Railroad

West Chester Railroad (230 East Market Street, West Chester, http://www.wcrailroad.com/) is running “Summer Picnic Specials” every Sunday now through September 20.

The West Chester Railroad is a tourist railroad that runs between Market Street in West Chester, Pennsylvania in Chester County and the village of Glen Mills, Pennsylvania in Delaware County. The railroad is 100 per cent volunteer operated.

The special picnic excursions will have one departure each Sunday at noon.

Guests can enjoy a relaxing 90-minute train ride from West Chester to Glen Mills and return on a warm summer afternoon. Visitors should pack a lunch to have during the stopover at the Glen Mills train station picnic grove.

The tourist rail line has posted the following regulations for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic –

Things will not be the same as before and our passengers and crews will have to adjust to new operating procedures. However, the most important factor in all of this is the health and safety of our passengers and crew.

What we are requiring of our passengers:

If you have been exposed recently or have symptoms of COVID-19 (including a fever, cough, or shortness of breath) you must not visit.

If you have underlying health conditions or are otherwise concerned about contracting COVID-19, you acknowledge your option to not visit the railroad.

Face coverings are strongly recommended for ALL passengers over the age of 10. Passengers unwilling or unable to wear a face mask are asked to refrain from visiting until the face mask requirement is lifted.

Individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition may enter the premises.

All passengers will be required to make reservations for their ride ahead of time. We are not doing “walk up sales.” Check in will be completely contactless. Paper tickets will not be issued to passengers and nothing will be handled by our crew members. We will check passengers in using their confirmation email number on their smart phone.

On board concessions will be limited to a few pre-packaged items.

In addition to all of our current guidelines, the West Chester Railroad is adding further precautions:

All crew members that have been exposed recently or have symptoms of COVID-19 (including a fever, cough, or shortness of breath) will not ever report to work. WCRR monitors our crews closely.

All crew members and support staff working directly with the public must wear some type of face mask that covers the mouth and nose.

Crew members will maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distancing from passengers and each other when possible.

Crews will frequently wipe down high touch areas with disinfecting wipes such as doorknobs, door releases, hand rails, grab irons, trap catches, etc.

The COVID-19 virus has presented many challenges to everyone’s way of life and it is expected to change our operating procedures for the immediate future. We are excited to be offering train rides again and welcoming back our passengers! Your support is very much appreciated during these tough times. 

Ticket prices are: Adults, $17; Children (ages 2-12), $15; Toddlers (under 2), free. 

Mercer Museum

If you’d like to see what it was like to live in this area during colonial times – including what it  was like to live in a log house – then plan a visit this weekend to Fonthill Castle (East Court Street, Doylestown, Mercer Museum, https://www.mercermuseum.org/visit/mercer-museum/).

On August 21 and 22, Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle is hosting an event called “Colonial Farm Experience.”

Visitors to the museum site in Bucks County will be able to explore the daily life of colonial farmers with Mercer Museum educators during this live, in-person education program that is fun for the whole family.

Guests will have the opportunity to learn about the well pump, colonial games and toys, churning butter, and more. Each 45-minute session is reserved for a private family group with up to 6 people and tickets are $30 per family group. All guests two and older are required to wear face coverings during the program.

“Timed Sessions” each day are: 9-9:45 a.m.; 10-10:45 a.m.; 11-11:45 a.m.; 2-2:45 p.m.; 3-3:45 p.m.; and 4-4:45 p.m.

The Betsy Ross House

The Betsy Ross House (239 Arch Street, Philadelphia, http://historicphiladelphia.org/betsy-ross-house/what-to-see/) has reopened to the public.
The well-known and loved story of Betsy Ross sewing the first “Stars & Stripes” is tightly woven into the colorful fabric of America’s rich history. The Betsy Ross House, the birthplace of the American flag, is alive with the sights and sounds of the 18th century.

Visitors can tour the house and then stay a while longer to learn more about Betsy and her exciting life and times through the site’s interactive, historical programming.

The Betsy Ross House is located in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood in the heart of the Historic District and steps away from Independence National Park.

Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.

The nearly 300-year-old narrow, winding stairs of the Betsy Ross House are not accessible to strollers, wheelchairs, walkers, or motorized scooters. For guests with mobility issues, the Museum offers a “first-floor tour”, which includes some walking and two steps up/down. The courtyard, including Betsy Ross’s grave and a seasonal medicinal herb garden, the museum store, and exhibition gallery are all accessible.

– The last tickets will be sold at 3:30 pm.
– Face masks are required for all visitors and staff, including Betsy, in the Courtyard and Betsy Ross House.
– Tickets are required to enter the outdoor Courtyard, tour the historic house, and visit the Museum Store.
– Due to current renovations, restrooms are not available.

Admission for the self-guided tours is $5 for adults and $4 for children, seniors, military and students.

On August 25 and 26, the nation will celebrate the Women’s Suffrage Centennial and Women’s Equality Day and the Philadelphia region will host a two-day commemoration.

On August 25 in Valley Forge National Historical Park, there will be a “Justice Bell Send Off Celebration” with The Women’s Skydiving Network performing “A Women’s Suffrage Centennial Jump.”

As part of the festivities on August 25 as the Justice Bell prepares to make its ceremonious journey from its home at Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge to Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia.

The Justice Bell

The Justice Bell, known as the women’s Liberty Bell, with the addition of “establish justice” to the inscription, was used between 1915 and 1920 to call attention to and gain support for the campaign for Women’s Suffrage. The Bell’s casting was commissioned by Chester County’s Katharine Wentworth Ruschenberger, an active member of the National Women Suffrage Association, which later became the League of Women Voters. The clapper was chained to its side silencing the 2000-pound bell.

On June 15th, 1915, the Justice Bell began a whistle stop tour of Pennsylvania in support of a proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania state constitution giving women the right to vote. The tour covered more than 5000 miles, crisscrossing every one of the state’s 67 counties in less than 6 months. After state amendment number one failed to pass, attention was turned to the introduction of an amendment to the US constitution, and the bell was used to support the cause of Women’s Suffrage at national political party conventions as far away as Chicago and rallies in Washington D.C.

The upcoming journey of the Justice Bell is sponsored by the PA Daughters of American Revolution and will kick off at the Freedoms Foundation At Valley Forge (1601 Valley Forge Rd, Valley Forge) at approximately 2 p.m. as nationally acclaimed female skydivers of “The Highlight Pro Team,” part of the Women’s Skydiving Network’s Project 19 initiative, will perform a special jump to pay tribute to the passage of the 19th Amendment and deliver a special champagne bottle to christen the Justice Bell’s journey.

The event will continue at the Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge National Historic Park (2000 Valley Forge Park Rd, Valley Forge) where a private suffrage program will be held from 5-7 p.m. with VIP speakers including a special designation from Congresswoman Madeleine Dean and a special multi-media presentation before the Justice Bell departs for its journey to Philadelphia for Vision 2020’s “Toast To Tenacity” hybrid livestream event.

The Justice Bell will take center stage at Vision 2020’s “Toast To Tenacity” celebration at Independence National Historical Park on August 26 starting at noon. The bell will be rung 50 times by first-time female voters, Beth Watkins, the president of DAR, and Alexandra “Sandi” Tatnell, a descendant of Katherine Wentworth Ruschenberger.

The event on Wednesday, which starts at 1 p.m., will feature performances by The Philadelphia Orchestra and veteran Philadelphia singer/songwriter Meghan Cary. One of Philly’s highly acclaimed multi-media artists, Cary will be debuting her video for her women’s empowerment anthem “River Rock” and performing live.

For years, one of the most distinctive Philadelphia tours has been Grim Philly’s Dark Philly Tour (www.grimphilly.com). Surviving the COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on the tour’s management but surrendering is not an option.

The tour’s website has posted the following plea to help with the survival –

Help Save Grim Philly Twilight Tours
For every one of you have come to our aide with the donations and purchasing no-expiration tickets for use any time we cannot express enough gratitude to you during this time of extreme financial crisis during the COVID crisis to the tourism industry. Our visitor centers in Philadelphia remain closed, as do the major bus attractions and many museums with travel restrictions impeding tourism.

We are not out of the woods yet and your kind support is heart-warming and we hope to repay that whenever at any point you choose to make it out to a tour of ours whether this week, this fall, or years in to the future. We are distancing and offering currently those ghost and history tours only in the open-air outdoors while we pause all related alcohol and food related events until we are confident they once again are safe to run as the health and safety of our guests is our primary concern during the ongoing epidemic.

We continue to offer small 8 p.m. Dark Philly Tours every night to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and all of the founding father historical sites; peppering them with our raw brand of sex in 1776, founders scandal and a touch of the paranormal.

We cannot thank you enough for your support this past decade as we embarked on the very first nighttime learning and seeing excursions for adults in our historic center that so many others have followed in the footsteps of.

We have gotten to know so many of you personally and maintain only the best most macabre degreed professionals with dark interests we have weeded out from the pool of great academic talent who have passed through our doors. And we plan to continue bringing to you the adult educational entertainment in history sightseeing and folklore you’ve come to expect our quality to be for you for years to come but do ask for the continuing support in this moment of a ticket sale today to redeem at any future point you should choose to get us through the rough patch of unexpected economic crisis now.

For the very many of you who we have come to know and love we thank you from the bottom of our hearts and cannot wait for the opportunity to serve you on a dark and educational outing with us the first opportunity we have: this fall perhaps. Or years into the future. And promise to show you the great kindness in return that you have shown us now and for these many years.


On August 22, the Second Annual Delaware Beer Fest will be held at the Figure 8 Barn at Bellevue State Park (720 Carr Road, Wilmington, Delaware,http://www.destateparks.com/events/figure-8/index.asp1).

Guests are invited to sample beer from local breweries and national brands. Big Oyster Brewery will be the main beer sponsor.

The Delaware Beer Fest will run from noon-5 p.m. with Ultra VIP/VIP Admission starting at noon and General Admission at 1 p.m.

More than 30 breweries will take part and visitors will be able to choose from more than 75 different beer options.

In addition to the great tasting beer selection, the festival will feature live music, arts and crafts booths presented by local artisans. A wide variety of food will be available from local restaurants and food trucks.

Guests are invited to sample beer from local breweries and national brands. Big Oyster Brewery will be the main beer sponsor.

The Delaware Beer Fest will run from noon-5 p.m. with Ultra VIP/VIP Admission starting at noon and General Admission at 1 p.m.

In addition to the great tasting beer selection, the festival will feature live music, arts and crafts booths presented by local artisans. A wide variety of food will be available from local restaurants and food trucks.

Other activities include games of Giant Jenga, Beer Fest Trivia, Photobooth Fun and rounds of corn hole. This event will be held rain or shine.

General Admission Tickets include “Commemorative Beer Tasting Mug, Unlimited Beer Sampling Privileges, Live Music, Games, and Fun.”

VIP Tickets include “Commemorative Beer Tasting Mug, Unlimited Beer Sampling Privileges, Delaware Beer Fest T-Shirt, VIP Beer and early access to limited quantity beer, Live Music, Games, and Fun.”
Designated Driver Tickets include “One Bottle of Water Voucher, One Soft Drink Voucher, Live Music, Games, and Fun.”

The Delaware Beer Fest is committed to supporting local charities. A portion of your ticket cost is tax-deductible. This year’s charities are The Trauma Survivors Foundation and the 302 Phalanx Foundation.


If you love beer, you should check out the “Biergarten” at Cannstatter Volksfest Verein (5130 Academy Road, Philadelphia, www.cannstatter.org).

The German traditional event will be open every Friday (until the end of October) and Saturday night (until the end of August). Cannstatter has the largest outdoor Biergarten in Northeast Philadelphia and is open every Friday and Saturday from 5-10 p.m.

Tasty German food and drink will be available for purchase and live German music will be featured each night. Weather permitting, this is an outside event. Pets and outside food and drinks are prohibited and there is no cover charge.

There will be live entertainment from 7:30-9:30 p.m. in Cannstatter’s picnic grove featuring some of the best local bands and musicians.

Food and drink offerings are “The Famous CVV Wings – Hot, Mild and Naked,” Chicken Tenders, Hamburger/Cheeseburger/Veggie-burger, Bratwurst, Hot Sausage, Mozzarella Sticks, Onion Rings, French Fries, Cheese Fries, German Pretzels and other weekly specials.

There will be a large selection of German and domestic beers on tap as well as mixed drinks, wine and bottled beer.

The line-up of live music acts for the remainder of August is: 21, Stealing From Thieves; 22, Pawnshop Roses; 28, Warehouse Winos; and 29, Celtic Connection.

After more than five months of being closed, some Philadelphia-area movie theaters will reopen this weekend – including many of the area’s Regal and AMC theaters.

The only one in Chester County is located in Downingtown – the Regal Downingtown & IMAX (100 Quarry Road, Downingtown).

The theater will offer a wide range of films this weekend including Back to the Future, Black Panther, Bloodshot, Cut Throat City, Deadpool, Jaws, Sonic the Hedgehog, Star Wars: Ep V-Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Force Awakens, Goonies, Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula, Tulsa, Unforgiven, Unhinged, Words on Bathroom Walls, The New Mutants, and The Personal History of David Copperfield.

Other local Regal theaters opening their doors this weekend are Regal Brandywine Town Center (3300 Brandywine Parkway, Wilmington, DE), Regal Edgmont Square (4777 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square), Regal UA King of Prussia 4DX & IMAX (300 Goddard Blvd, King Of Prussia), Regal Oaks (180 Mill Road, Oaks) and Regal Plymouth Meeting (1011 W. Ridge Pike, Conshohocken).

AMC is preparing to reopen dozens of Pennsylvania locations. Theaters in Pennsylvania set to open this week include AMC Marple 10, AMC Neshaminy 24, AMC Plymouth Meeting Mall 12, AMC Painters Crossing 9, AMC Woodhaven 10, AMC CLASSIC Granite Run Mall 8, and AMC CLASSIC Pottsgrove 12.

After originally stating in June guests would not be required to wear masks when theaters reopened, AMC Theatres reversed the policy following online backlash.

The company also announced several other health and safety policies that will be in place in response to coronavirus guidelines including fewer touch points, simplified menus for shorter lines at concessions and reduced auditorium capacities for social distancing.

Share this post:

Leave a Comment