August Roundup: Community and Family News in the Delaware Valley

1 Sea Dragon Pclf 2023 Jeff Fusco For Tianyu 1

Jeff Fusco for Tianyu

Final Days: Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square

Visitors to Philadelphia in late summer may be familiar with the glow of thousands of lights—specifically, steel-framed and silk-wrapped lighted sculptures that celebrate the Chinese harvest festival in the first month in the lunar calendar.

New lanterns are created each year, handcrafted for over a month in preparation for the festivities.

This year’s lantern festival kicked off on June 21 at 6th and Race streets in Historic Philadelphia and is open daily from 6-11 p.m. through Aug. 13.

Return favorites this year are the 200-foot-long dragon—longer than three school buses, 6,000 pounds, 164 feet long and 21 feet high, according to a news release—a choreographed fountain light show and for the first time in four years, crafts created on site by Chinese folk artists.

The festival also includes mini golf, carousel rides, free nightly performances, cherry blossoms and 180 animals—including 25 pandas.
Some new attractions for 2023 are a 100-foot dragon tunnel, an interactive fortune telling wall and cultural immersion programming on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Families attending the festival during its final days this August have many options for kid-friendly entertainment, even daytime scavenger hunts and story times before ticketed night entry. Look for Panda Promotion posters in local Chinatown businesses for discounts before or after the festival.

A portion of proceeds goes toward the upkeep of Franklin Square and its year-round events. Advanced tickets are recommended.

Big Blue Swim School Comes to the Delaware Valley

Founded in 2009 by competitive swimmers Chris DeJong and John Lonergan, Big Blue Swim School has more than 100 franchises across the United States. This fall, the school will open its second Pennsylvania location and first in the Delaware Valley.

The new location will be at 82 East Lancaster Ave., in Paoli, a community in Chester County covering Tredyffrin and Willistown townships.

Known for its year-round lessons and flexible scheduling, Big Blue Swim School offers parents the opportunity to schedule weekly lessons for ages 3 months to 12 years with the ability to stop and start at will with a 30-day notice. The school also offers night and weekend classes and options to schedule lessons for multiple age groups at once.

The opening date is to be determined as of print date, but families can learn more and sign up in advance at

Delaware Shakespeare Receives Three Grants to Support Community Outreach Wilmington-based Delaware Shakespeare has made new strides in its community outreach with three national grants awarded this season.

The awarded funds—a $15,000 Shakespeare in American Communities grant from Arts Midwest, a $10,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment from the Arts and a $5,000 grant from Kansas City -based Theater League, Inc.—will help the theater company serve the entire state, with special emphasis on its juvenile justice population.

A major recipient of the NEA funds will be its community tour of “Cymbeline” in October.

“Del Shakes is grateful to have the support of the NEA for the second consecutive year as we’ve restarted the Community Tour after a pandemic pause,” says producing artistic director David Stradley, in a news release. “We’re particularly excited this year as we will be able to return to sharing tour performances in correctional facilities.”

The Shakespeare in American Communities grant will also support educational residencies next May, June and July at the Cleveland C. White School in Wilmington and Stevenson House Detention Center in Milford.

Finally, the not-for-profit Missouri-based Theater League aims to improve community quality of life with live theatre performances. In addition to “Cymbeline,” the organization’s funds will go toward Delaware Shakespeare’s Summer Festival production of “Macbeth,” on stage at Rockwood Park through Aug. 6.

–MK Staff

Categories: Attractions & Events, Family Life