Hometown parade enchants its audience

Courtesy photo The Sipala family rides in the July 4 parade.

I love small town parades.

Kennett Square is a relatively small town and it puts on grand parades.

On the Fourth of July we went to the parade at Rock Hall, Md., that is a really small town and were totally charmed.

We had been told about it by Helen and George Sipala of Chadds Ford, who have been in the parade for 14 years. They became interested, as their daughter, Susie Drumheller, lives in Rock Hall. The rest of the family pitches in, so there is always a goodly group involved, although the grandchildren cannot always get there. They must be doing something right as they have won a trophy every year. This year their theme was the Indians who used to live in Rock Hall.

They plan their theme two years ahead, which gives them plenty of time to scour the thrift stores to find costumes and props. The night before the parade they have a dress rehearsal and tweak any costumes that dont really sing. Their son-in-law, Randy Drumheller, owns a flatbed truck, which is a big contribution toward a stunning entry.

This year they had some really interesting marchers. The high school cheerleaders dragged the uniform of their football rival behind their truck.There was a really large pirate ship, and the Lions Club had a real stuffed lion on their float.

A truckload of middle school kids went by with water guns and sprayed the crowds. Revolutionary re-enactors looked terrific, fire engines were everywhere and the children were making great hauls of candy thrown by the people on the floats. There was even a terrific adult community band of well-seasoned musicians.

With the friendly, enthusiastic crowds and the well-done floats, it was a perfect Fourth of July parade.

Shows

The two terrific shows we saw recently, we saw in London after we could not get tickets in New York, but the shows are running in New York so it is not impossibility. The two shows are The Book of Mormon and Warhorse. I had tried to get tickets to these two but there was close to a years wait and the price astronomical.

In London, one phone call got me fourth row seats for Warhorse for the next day and seventh row seats for Book of Mormon the day after. It turned out to be easier to see the shows in London than in New York, but we all know thats not really true.First, you have to be in Londonwhich doesnt happen very often.

I knew that The Book of Mormon was funny, I just didnt realize how funny. While they good naturedly make fun of the Mormons with their innocence and enthusiasm, there is nothing mean about the show.

Two mismatched Mormon missionaries-in-training are sent to a Mormon outpost in Uganda to try to convert the natives. As previous attempts over many years have failed to convert even one person, it seems like a hopeless task. As the young missionaries make one mistake after the other with the fierce tribe, their enthusiastic innocent lack of understanding how the natives really feel about them is hilarious with wry, very sophisticated humor.

The other show was Warhorse that many people have seen in the movies. Admittedly it is a bit of a soppy story about a young man and his horse, but while the movie is on the silly side, the stage show is riveting, mainly because of the puppet horses. The horses are larger than real horses with two men inside the frame and a third standing next to it handling the movement of the ears and movement of the head and neck. After a few minutes you do not notice the men, and the puppet horses seem real, particularly as they are ridden by the actors. When five of the horses, with riders, charge around the stage in a battle, the audience was mesmerized so that you could not hear a sound.

It was a thrill for us to have seen the two shows we really wanted. If you have the opportunity, I recommend you get tickets in New York or should they come to Philadelphia. Both are top shows that are memorable.

Winterthur

All through July and August, Winterthur is holding Terrific Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for ages 3 to 10 and their parents. In July the hands-on activities will be held indoor and will concentrate on art conservation, creation and appreciation.

In August the activities move outdoors to the Enchanted Woods, where children will explore the plants there and nature-related crafts and scavenger hunts. This program is free for members who are with a child who has paid $5 admission.

Jazz

If you like jazz and you like brunch, you can have a gay old time at Winterthur on Sunday, July 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Afterwards you can stroll in the garden or take a guided gallery walk. For reservations call 302-888-4600.

Steeplechase

When we are having a great time at the Willowdale Steeplechase each year, we tend to forget how much good the event does for the community. Last years race gave $55,000 to their designated charities. These are the Stroud Water Research Center, Quest Therapeutic Services, Inc. and the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine New Bolton Center

Fugett

The J.R. Fugett Middle School in West Chester will give a concert, Ref, White and Swingin!, on Wednesday, July 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the Chester County Historical Society in West Chester. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $5 for students and free for children 12-and-under. I have never heard them sing, but they are an attractive group in their photo. For tickets go to www.chescopops or call 610-701-5701.

Pickle

The Dill Pickle Old Time Orchestra returns for a special history lesson at the Social Lounge, 29-31 E. Gay St., West Chester, on Tuesday, July 16, at 6:30 p.m. The Pickle String Band will play their signature American fiddle tunes, gospel, Tin Pan Alley and old mountain songs. However they have something new. They will mix in some recently discovered tunes from early American sheet music in the library of the Chester County Historical Society. A brief history lesson will be blended in by mandolin player and West Chester University professor Dr. Charles Hardy.

As this is held in a local bar/restaurant, there will be lots of great food and drink available for purchase. The program is free, as it is sponsored by Susquehanna Bank, WCHE 1529 AM and the 1890s (the Chester County Historical Society Young Friends Association).

Pinette

Standup comic John Pinette, who gained a horde of fans with his two successful shows, Im Starvin! and Show Me the Buffet, will bring his new show Still Hungry to the DuPont Theatre on Friday, Sept. 20, at 8 p.m. Pinette is currently host of the brand new show, All You Can Eat, that tracks food from factories and farmlands to restaurants and retail. Use the password Hungry when ordering tickets from 302-656-4401 or DUPONTTHEATRE.COM.

Candlelight

There will be laughs galore on July 18 at the Candlelight Comedy Club at the New Candlelight Theatre when stand-up comics take the stage. Admission is only $25 and that includes a light fare buffet with wings, pizza, onion rings, fries, pasta dish and small salad. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the show at 7:30 p.m. For reservations call 302-475-2313 or go to NCTstage.org.

Plaid

If you have never seen the delightful musical Forever Plaid, you will get an easy opportunity fromJuly 12 to Aug. 25 at the New Candlelight Theatre in Arden, Del.

This charming story about an up-and-coming quartet that is killed on its way to an important performance is filled with wonderful, singable songs that were popular in the 1950s before Rock and Roll took over. Through a strange juxtaposition of the planets, the quartet is allowed to return to earth to perform their show planned for the Ed Sullivan Showand to pick up their made to order plaid tuxedo jackets. You can get tickets to this charmer by calling 302-475-2313.

Park

Anson B. Nixon Park is the home each Wednesday night with the heavenly sounds of good music played by a procession of popular musicians. On July 10, Mason Porter will bring his lush harmonies with handclapping sing-a-longs and the intense emotion of a young rock band. Porter blends folk, rock, blues and blue grass seamlessly.

The concert is from 7 to 9 p.m. Do bring a blanket or chair. Food by La Verona will be available.

Kombu Combo will bring a wild mix of world music from Brazil, Latin America, Afro-Cuba and India with very original compositions. The concert on Wednesday, July 17, is from 7 to 9 p.m. You will enjoy it more if you bring a chair or blanket, and possibly some bug spray. Food available from Catering by Betsy.

Caryl Huffaker lives in Kennett Township.

Join the Conversation