The Far East in bloomStep through the...


The Far East in bloom

Step through the "Gateways to the East" and into peaceful garden settings filled with lanterns, trees, flowers, rocks and bamboo when you visit the 1995 Chrysanthemum Festival at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa. The festival opens Saturday and continues through Nov. 19, featuring more than 6,000 chrysanthemums in every form from tiny bonsai mum trees to tall single-stemmed blossoms and a cascading "chrysanthemum tree" to flower curtains in bloom.

This year's display has an Eastern theme and in both the indoor and outdoor gardens visitors will see influences from Japan, China and Korea as well as some new gardens created just for the festival, including a Stroll Garden, a Zen Garden and a Courtyard Garden. In addition to beautiful gardens, Asian traditions will be celebrated in music and dance, martial-arts demonstrations and strolling Chinese bag theater performances.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $8 for adults; ($6 on Tuesdays), $4 for ages 16 to 20; $1 for ages 6 to 15; free for under 6. The gardens are on U.S. Route 1, three miles northeast of Kennett Square. Call (610) 388-1000 or (800) 737-5500. Chesapeake Appreciation Days on Saturday and Sunday at Sandy Point State Park is a family affair. It allows you to "reconnect" with your Chesapeake Bay heritage by attending a Chesapeake Chautauqua. This is a new event for CAD. It brings back a form of entertainment popular at the turn of the century when lecturers, storytellers and entertainers traveled around the country offering a series of cultural programs to audiences over a period of several days. At this chautauqua you can learn about the people of the bay region, their humor, folklore and songs. You'll also learn about the life of a skipjack captain and about the bay itself and its geological origin.

There will also be a Discovery Trail that leads children and their parents to 20 sites, where they can make a scarecrow, have their face painted, make a sand bottle, watch K-9 dogs in action, attend pig races and see a jousting exhibition.

For 31 years, the festival has been held as a tribute to the skipjacks, the last commercial sailing fleet on the bay, and as in past years, the highlight of the celebration will be the skipjack races. There will also be an opportunity to sail on one. Boat docking contests, oyster shucking, demonstrations by watermen, crafts and the bounty of fresh Chesapeake Bay seafood are other attractions.

The park is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults; $3 for seniors and military personnel; free for 12 and under. The park is at the last exit before the Bay Bridge on U.S. Route 50 East. Call (410) 269-6622.

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