Run by Anna Maria Florio, the daughter of Italian immigrants, La Cucina at the Market imparts vital culinary arts to its students in intimate, informative classes. Students plunge their hands into the world of handmade pasta in Making Handmade Pasta: Easy as 1, 2, 3, which runs through the art and science of noodle and sauce. In classes of up to 15 people, pupils knead, roll, and slice pasta dough to infuse homemade Italian entrees with a personal touch. Nascent noodle artists acquire the art of lengthy fettuccine and broad pappardelle, and afterward pastacrafters will be able to construct an edible sculpture of a penguin in formalwear using bowtie-mimicking farfalle.
When Frank Wheaton Jr. first visited the Corning Museum of Glass in the early 1960s, it caught his ire. On display were many marvelous works of glass?treasures forged of sand, wood, soda ash, and silica that represented the dawning of the American glass industry. Frank's problem? Those shiny, fragile masterpieces were being exhibited in New York and not where they were birthed: New Jersey.
As the grandson of glass magnate Dr. Theodore Corson Wheaton?whose glass pharmaceutical bottles were instrumental in giving rise to the Millville glass monarchy of the Wheaton company?Frank claimed his birthright and created Wheaton Village now known as Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center. The organization has a mission to engage artists and audiences in an evolving exploration of creativity, and has appealed to audiences of all ages for over four decades with its diverse traditional and contemporary arts programs, classes, workshops and exhibitions. Also on-site is The Museum of American Glass, housing one of the most comprehensive collections of American glass in the country, from the first glass bottles made in America, to celebrated works by Dale Chihuly and other contemporary artists who work with glass. Visitors can also experience the art of glassmaking, ceramics and flameworking in the Artists Studios, and the museum stores offer traditional and contemporary art in a variety of mediums.
Tents and tables cover the grassy, waterfront lawns of Lake Lenape Park East for a two-day celebration of good eats and sips at the Waterfront Wine & Food Festival. Vendors work alongside students from the Academy of Culinary Arts to prepare fresh cuisine and stage cooking demonstrations, while winemakers pour samples to throngs of attendees. An outdoor wine garden provides a designated space to sip and dine while socializing, and guests can peruse hand-crafted gifts to take home to a loved one or someone they just owe a favor to.
Though most of the festival is unstructured, one of its core events is an amateur wine competition, where judges sample guest submissions of red and white wines designated as sweet and dry hybrids, vinifera, and soft or stone fruits. Live music from Atlantic City lounge singer Beth Tinnon and a steel band provide a lively soundtrack throughout the two-day shindig.
The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) currently preserves and oversees acres of land containing Cape May's most notable Victorian-era landmarks, relying on a staff of 160 and nearly twice as many volunteers. At its inception, though, MAC existed purely as a volunteer effort. Passionate people came together with a simple mission: preserve area history. The founding members first joined forces to rescue the Emlen Physick Estate mansion?built in 1879?from demolition. Successfully fending off the bulldozers, they went so far as to restore it through volunteer man-hours alone.
Having preserved the mansion, the MAC crew decided to transform their volunteer-only organization into a staffed outfit. The new, full-time staff members did more than just run the mansion site; they set their sights, quite literally, higher. They restored the 1859 Cape May Lighthouse, a towering landmark that had been closed to the public for almost 50 years. They also undertook the restoration, repair, and oversight of Fire Control Tower No. 23, the last uncompromised lookout tower erected during World War II. They now oversee all sites, maintaining over 100 of years of history, which is presented through tours, events, and chats with talkative ghosts.
To keep the spirit of its musical roots ever near, House of Blues Houston keeps a metal box of mud from the Delta Mississippi beneath its stage and proudly displays the traditional crazy quilt. As the only venue in the revered chain to be built vertically rather than free floating, House of Blues Houston stands as a pillar of entertainment in the Houston Pavilions complex. The hot spot’s Bronze Peacock Room commemorates Houston's rich history and the blues clubs where Lightnin' Hopkins and Big Mama Thornton held sway, and features an enormous hand-painted mural depicting other local legends such as Albert Collins and Johnny "Guitar" Watson.
One of the largest gatherings of its kind in the country, St. Anthony’s Italian Festival celebrates its eponymous country's rich cultural heritage through a Renaissance-inspired jamboree of food, wine, music, and cultural events. In La Piazetta, vocalists Vincenzo Fiore and Nicola Nigro stimulate auditory organs, and Tarantella dancers showcase traditional routines. Restaurants specializing in heterogeneous regional varieties of Italian cuisine dot the fairgrounds’ landscape in edible tents strung together with deli meat. Diners at the Antonian Surfside can purchase steamed soft-shell crabs and clams, and Café Nona Starda visitors select land-roaming comestibles such as grilled sausage with fresh peppers as well as broccoli rabe. Customers sip crushed grapes courtesy of La Piazza and DaVinci’s.