Culinary craftsmen at Fingers, Wings and Other Things grease ravenous fingers with hand-battered chicken tenderloins and zesty buffalo wings gracefully dunked into more than 12 homemade dipping sauces. The vibrant menu entices eyeteeth with handheld munchies such as fried pickles, mac 'n' cheese wedges, or buffalo shrimp glazed in mild, spicy, or extra-spicy sauce hot enough to garner a centerfold spread in Condiment Monthly. Guests can count their chickens before they're devoured with a basket of 10 fingers or 20 wings bedecked in a choice of savory sauces, including three types of barbecue, horseradish mayo, and honey mustard. A selection of seafood and chicken entrees heads up the main event with tasty picks such as the beer-battered fish 'n' chips platter or the grilled shrimp and chicken skewers, which unite meaty morsels more conveniently than a mailbox full of pork chops.
When Cindy Kerr's 12-year-old son, Ryan, was diagnosed with cancer in 2002, she began making pillowcases for him to brighten his hospital room and his spirits. He was so cheered by the gift that she started creating pillowcases for other children staying in the oncology unit at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Since its early days, Cindy Kerr's pillowcase project has grown into ConKerr Cancer, with a network of thousands of volunteers who make the pillowcases spread across North America and South Africa. ConKerr Cancer has created and delivered more than 600,000 pillowcases to children across the United States, Canada, South Africa and Great Britain in the past five years.
Though the LuLu Shriners are an organization based on brotherhood and friendship, they take on a much grimmer role during the season of the witch. A visit to their House of Horrors begins with a wagon ride, which spirits away riders through cemeteries and dark woods. Upon arrival at the house proper, guests are tormented by its nightmarish residents, from moldering zombies to bloody butchers and skeletons wearing fezzes. Afterwards, the wagon ferries shaken survivors away from the property, though their ordeal is far from over. For included in the return trip is admission to a corn maze, a rural labyrinth that challenges all to navigate its shadowed walkways and monolithic stalks.
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Sensory overload doesn’t begin to describe Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. A seemingly boundless compilation of colors, textures, and shapes, the labyrinthine mosaic creation spans 3,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. The masterpiece originated in the brain of Isaiah Zagar, a Philadelphia native who grew up in New York. During his third year of art school, he stumbled upon Clarence Schmidt’s folk-art-inspired installations—assemblages of found objects and recycled materials—and the young artist’s view of the art world changed. “I didn't know that I was looking at art,” Zagar reflects in his mission statement. Self-admittedly, Zagar has been somewhat “copying” Schmidt’s dynamic, free-flowing style ever since.
The years after art school brought Zagar an onslaught of new opportunities. He spent time as an artist in China and India, joined the Peace Corps with his wife Julia, settled in Peru for three years, and even tried his hand at ceramics in Wisconsin. In the ‘60s, he and Julia returned to his birthplace—specifically, the waning South Street neighborhood. Isaiah quickly leapt into action, renovating dilapidated buildings and often adding mosaics to formerly barren walls. Eventually, Isaiah’s imagination outgrew their projects, and in 1994 he began constructing a new piece in a vacant lot near his studio—the project would become Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.
Isaiah spent 14 precious years, which he should have applied to Y2K preparations, scooping out tunnels, erecting multitiered walls, and splashing the entire space in colorful tile. The finished product stretches across half a block of South Street; the outside enclosure shimmering with vibrant tiles, the inside housing folk art, colored glass bottles, and countless sparkling mirrors. Now a nonprofit organization, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens invites visitors to enjoy its visual candy with guided or self-guided tours.
Philadelphia’s history fills the pages of textbooks across the world. William Penn, Benjamin Franklin, and the Liberty Bell fill the indexes. But these texts do little to educate people on and preserve the physical history of Philadelphia, specifically its buildings.
Enter the nonprofit Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. Its volunteer team of tour guides leads architectural walking tours past downtown Philadelphia’s landmarks, buildings, and cityscapes, and its staff coordinates an array of events each month, which have previously included graveyard tours, concerts, and archaeological digs. Proceeds from these activities, along with various grants, are then used to preserve the Philadelphia region’s historical buildings, subsequently preserving its historical communities and the story of the city's influential past.