The Classics at Brantwyn was a glorious show

Caryl Huffaker
Caryl Huffaker

The Classics -- meaning all those gorgeous Bentleys, Rolls Royces and Porches -- gathered once again last weekend at beautiful Brantwyn in Wilmington.

Automobiles, like people, have their individual stories. There was a 1949 HRG Aero race car that the owner first saw as a boy in 1950 when it raced at Watkins Glen, only to find the same car in disrepair in a farmers field years later.

Then there is the 1928 Pierce Aero once owned by Paramount Studios used to carry Marlene Dietrich to and from her home in the Hollywood Hills.

There was a 1936 Hotchkiss 486 Cabourg Berline, a French car that was hidden in France during World War II by its first owner to prevent its being requisitioned by the Wehmacht. There is also a 1956 Porsche Spyder 550 similar to the one in which actor James Dean was killed.


This benefit for the Kennett Symphony of Chester County began with a parade of these lovelies at 11 a.m., while the spectators sipped a special libation. Master of Ceremonies Paul Merluzzi gave fascinating stories about each car, information he had painstakingly gathered.

Only three cars did not show because they wouldnt start, which is not too bad when you are getting to be well over age 50. One that didnt appear was sold two days before the show. It had been for sale for some time, so you cannot blame the owner for making the sale. After the parade it was inside for a gorgeous brunch at tables beautifully decorated by the Spade and Trowel Garden Club. After brunch you could get up close and personal with the autos and then vote for your favorite car. The winner of the Peoples Choice Best in Show was a 1950 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith that was too gorgeous to describe. It is always such a beautiful event, helped this year by perfect weather.

Show house

The vote is in: The Designer House Tour in Wilmington, sponsored by the Oxford Art Alliance, the second one they have done, is getting rave reviews from the visitors. They are saying things like this is the best House Tour I have ever seen. The house is in beautiful Westover Hills, but you cannot drive to it. You park at Barley Mill Plaza and take the shuttle. Dont miss the garden, they say it is stunning! Tickets at the door are $30. The show continues through Nov. 3.


OperaDelaware will be performing the light hearted Lelisie damore, the Elixir of Love, that was the signature role for Luciano Pavarotti, and have they got a tenor for you to hear! William Davenport has constantly been compared to the late, great Pavarotti, so it should be a stellar performance. The opera concerns a magic love potion that affects a lovable bumpkin, a dashing sergeant and the bewitching town flirt. This effervescent music features Italian melodies, many laughs and lots of charm. Performances are this Friday, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 13, at 2 p.m. For tickets to this delightful confection call 1-800-37-GRAND.


Once again the Chadds Ford Gallery will hold Scarborough Fair, the recent works of artist Paul Scarborough on Friday, Oct. 11, with a reception from 5 to 8:30 p.m. With wide range of subjects and landscapes he has painted from barns in Chester County to Rehoboth vistas, he has been called a poet on canvas as he paints the essence of a fishing hole or a sunset. The show will run through Sunday, Oct. 27.


Today artist Rockwell Kent is known for his extraordinary paintings. Had we lived in his time, we would also have been aware that he was a very adventurous traveler, roaming from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. An acclaimed documentary has been made about Kents adventurous journeys, interspersed with his works of art created over seven decades. This film will be shown at the Brandywine River Museum on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 1 p.m. The film will be introduced by director Frederick Lewis, who worked on this documentary for 10 years, retracing the peripatetic adventurers travels, shooting footage in Greenland, Newfoundland, Alaska, Ireland and Russia. He also hired a 56-foot boat with a crew and recreated Kents complex attempt to sail to Cape Horn. Prior to the screening of this visually rich portrait of a remarkable man, associate curator Amanda Burdon will head a tour at noon of the current exhibition, Rockwell Kent, Jamie Wyeth and Monhegan. Cost is $15. Call 610-388-8326 for tickets.

Sky tour

Star watchers, listen up. The members of the Chester County Astronomical Society will share their telescopes, binoculars and knowledge of the stars with anyone interested on this Saturday, Oct. 12, starting at 7 p.m. This is Fall Astronomy Day with star gazing taking place across the nation. You will be able to see the line between light and darkness on the moon (called the terminator) where you can see shadows of craters, valleys and mountains. You also should see the moon occult (cover) a star - a rare event up in the presence of billions of stars. Dress warmly and bring a small flashlight. All ages are welcome. Meet at the Tino Leto Athletic Fields, North Walnut Street, one-quarter mile north of the main park entrance.


One of the perks of being a judge of the baked goods at the Unionville Fair is that one gets to taste the goodies. Once again Bill and I had the pleasure of tasting the goodies made by loving hands at home. They were delicious. The only problem being that each year there are fewer entries. Winners this year were Angel Food Cake had first place to Bonnie Musser of Unionville, second place to Nancy Marsh of Honey Brook and Dan Dunkle of West Chester. For Chocolate Cakes first place went to Dana Barbakoff of West Chester, second to Terry Hawkins of West Chester and third to Tammy Whiteman of Kennett Square. In the Apple Pie Bake-off first place went to Sue Mullen of Unionville, second to Leona Provinski of Unionville and third to Dan Dunkle of West Chester. In the cookies and bars first place went to Olivia Garber of Chadds Ford.


The stunning map display currently at Winterthur will hold a special map conference this weekend, Oct. 11 and 12. They have a line-up of experts who will speak on the importance of maps through history and several workshops. For information call 800-448-3883.


The annual performance of Handels Messiah at the Concord Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, Wilmington has attracted so many followers that they are planning two concerts this Christmas. While they have an excellent choir, they want more singers for this special program. They will sing the Messiah and other additional Christmas favorites with concerts Saturday, Dec. 14, and Sunday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. Rehearsals, which include voice training, will be on Thursdays, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Oct. 17 through Saturday, Nov. 16, 9 a.m. to noon; Sunday, Dec. 8, from 1 to 3 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 14, at 9:30 a.m. dress rehearsal with the orchestra. You need not attend every rehearsal to participate; To sign up, contact or call 302 740 8057.

Swan Lake

All the beauty, passion and drama of the classic ballet Swan Lake will be on the Grand Opera House stage Saturday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 20, at 2 p.m. Performances are by the acclaimed First State Ballet Theatre under artistic Director Pasha Kambalov. Tickets available from 1-800-37-GRAND.


West Chester University has received a grant called Big Read to record the stories of veterans to preserve their experience for future generations. The students will hold the recording sessions at the West Chester Public Library on four days. The sessions will be Friday, Oct. 18, 1 to 3 p.m.; Monday, Oct. 21, 1 to 3 p.m.; Wednesday, Oct. 23 1 to 3 p.m.; and Friday, Oct. 25, 2 to 4 p.m. Those interested in participating should contact Professors Shevlin and Walters at


The 33rd Jewish Film Festival will offer 18 films from 14 countries over two weeks running Nov. 2 through 16. Three of the top films are Noodle, a charming drama in which two people overcome a language barrier on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 3 p.m. On Monday, Nov. 14. at 7:30 p.m. the festival has the Philadelphia-based documentary 50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus about the dramatic story of Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus, who traveled in 1939 into Nazi-occupied Vienna in an attempt to rescue 50 children and bring them back to the states. Director Stephen Pressman will give a post-film talk. Another best film is the documentary Crime After Crime on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m. that tells the heart wrenching story of the legal battle to free Debbie Peagler, an incarcerated survivor of domestic violence. There will be a post-film discussion with author Joshua Safran. The films will be shown at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, 8339 Old York Road, Elkins Park. For ticket information call 215-545-4400.


We were at a gathering last weekend to hear a four womens rock band called Lackadaises, and they were terrific. The four local musicians are Linda Crumbock, Karen Carpineto, Ellen McGown and drummer Julie Tennille. Friends of Eve and Fred Tennille of Chadds Ford had heard of their daughter Julies band for years but never actually heard them. So Eve and Fred invited friends to come and hear, and they blew the crowd away. Their energy and musicianship was so infectious there was an entire crowd of people age 60-plus up and dancing - not dancing well, but dancing enthusiastically. (There were some recalcitrant males who stayed in their chairs). If you want to contact them, it would be at 267-968-3174. Drummer Julie is not only pretty and talented, she is smart. She has her doctorate and is a professor at West Chester University.

Valley Forge

The Paoli Battlefield Preservation Fund will continue their popular lecture series with the British Occupation of Valley Forge on Monday, Oct. 14, with speaker Tom McGuire. The cost is $49, which includes dinner buffet, non-alcoholic beverages, tax and gratuity. For more information visit


The 4-H Robotics Club has received such overwhelming popularity, 4-H is adding three new robotics clubs in West Grove, Honey Brook and West Chester. Youths age 8-18 can learn to design, build and program with LEGO robotics kits. The clubs meet monthly from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The cost is $20 a year. For information call 610-696-3500.


The Delaware Theatre Co. will present one of the funniest farces ever written on Oct. 16 through Nov. 3. This has the world famous Italian superstar tenor who arrives to sing in the local opera company for an opera is suddenly missing and it is getting close to time for the performance. Another tenor is pressed into service and the super star returns to create really funny confusion. There are misunderstandings, mistaken identify, and many mixed signals. There is also a bevy of fabulous opera arias sung through the zany farce. For tickets call l-302- 594-1100.


Vieux Farka Toure: This son of the acclaimed performer Ali Farka Toure is continuing his fathers tradition with his three albums that have all been critically praised. This singer/guitarist from Mali will perform on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 8 p.m. at Arden Gild Hall. Tickets are $18 in advance, $22 on the day of the concert.


Its not too early to think of Christmas shopping. The Midtown Men will take you back to the 1960s with their harmonies and familiar songs. They will perform at the DuPont Theatre on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 2 and 8 p.m.


The Barley Sheaf Players, 810 N. Whitford Road, Lionville, are producing Bingo! A Winning Musical! that sounds like a winner. Show dates are Oct. 18 through Nov. 9 on weekends. The story is about some Bingo player addicts who will do anything not to miss their Bingo games. This funny show has the audience playing Bingo as part of the show. It sounds like fun. For tickets call 618-363-7075. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors.

Four thousand

(Suzanne Roberts Theatre) will be home for the Pulitzer Prize nominee and OBIE Award winner for Best New Play, 4000 Miles Oct. 11 through Nov. 10. This funny, moving drama has 21-year-old hippie Leo arriving on dazed and confused after a 4,000 mile bike ride the door step of his feisty grandmother. These unlikely roommates infuriate and bewilder one another. For tickets call 215-985-0420.


The DuPont Theatre is adding a Gift Shop just outside the Theatre that will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, remaining open on theatre nights until the beginning of the show. The shop will have fall decor, hostess gifts, holiday decorations and other one of a kind treasures.

Caryl Huffaker lives in Kennett Township.

To those of you who read Downwind I apologize for its non-appearance last week. I have no sensible explanation for its absence, as it seems to be just one of those things. I wrote it, It was edited, and it disappeared. I particularly apologize to those organizations that were hurt by the lack of information about their event in time to be helpful. Lets hope it doesnt happen again.