Sunday, February 25, 2024

Burlington County Commissioners and Parks Division release Spring Program Guide

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Burlington County residents can dance, cook, garden and even visit the magical world of Harry Potter this spring.

The Burlington County Parks System’s Spring Program Guide is now online and it has the details on more than a hundred County events, programs and activities scheduled this season at Burlington County parks, museums and galleries.

“Spring is an exciting time to visit Burlington County parks as temperatures warm, flowers bloom and birds and other wildlife reappear following winter hibernation or migrations,” said Burlington County Commissioner Allison Eckel, the liaison to the Department of Resource Conservation and Parks. “From Kentucky Derby teams and Harry Potter adventures to floral arrangement classes and drive-in movie nights, there’s plenty to do and see throughout the season and our Burlington County Parks System has dozens of activities, programs and events planned for all ages and interests.”

The Spring Program Guide can be found on the Burlington County Parks webpage at https://www.co.burlington.nj.us/235/Parks

Here are some highlights of this season’s programing. When registration is required, a link is provided in the Program Guide.

Burlington County Short Film Festival

Movie lovers can look forward to the return of the Burlington County Short Film Festival on Friday April 28 at the Lyceum Hall Center for the Arts, 432 High Street, in Burlington City and April 29 at the Burlington County Institute of Technology Westampton Campus, 695 Woodlane Road. 

The festival debuted last year with 27 films from numerous genres and this year’s event is expected to be even bigger and better with award-winning animation and narrative films, music videos, documentaries and even films devoted to County parks and the environment.

This year’s festival will also feature a reception on the second night at BCIT.

May Faire

Burlington County will once again celebrate the spring season and the County’s history during the annual May Faire on May 21 at Historic Smithville Park in Eastampton.

May Faire is one of the County’s most popular annual events and promises an afternoon of fun and excitement at one of the county’s most scenic parks and historic sites. Festival goers will experience re-enactors from Smithville’s past along with live music, theatrical performances, arts and crafts demonstrations and more.

Hogwarts is Here

Get your wands ready and prepare for a magical adventure on Sunday, April 30, when Historic Smithville Park will be transformed into the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for a fantastic and fun nature program.

Open to wizards, witches and muggles ages 8 years and up, participants will become Hogwarts students for the afternoon and attend Herbology, Transfiguration and Creatures classes. They will also learn how to identify different woods with Mr. Olivander the wandmaker.

The adventure is free but registration is required and groups are limited to six people per party. Costumes are encouraged but pets are not permitted. Space is limited so be sure to register soon.

Movie nights

Burlington County residents can enjoy some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters and family-friendly films this spring, summer and fall during the Parks’ movie nights.  

The first showing of the season will be a drive-in screening of Top Gun: Maverick on May 6 at the Burlington County Fairgrounds at the intersection of Route 206 and Jacksonville-Jobstown Road in Springfield.  Admission is free and attendees are welcome to bring their own popcorn and snacks. Showtime is 8 PM.

New fitness classes

Burlington County residents will have even more ways to stay healthy and fit this season. The popular line dancing, Zumba and yoga classes are back as well as lunchtime walks in the parks. There are also several new classes, including Chair Yoga, Laughter Yoga and Fitness Flow.

Chair Yoga offers similar benefits to traditional yoga practice but can be done sitting at your desk. Classes are being held at the Burlington County Lyceum of History and Natural Sciences in Mount Holly.

Laughter Yoga uses intentional laughter, mindfulness, deep breathing and playful activities to unlock many of the positive health benefits laughter can bring. Classes are being held at Historic Smithville Park.

Fitness Flow is a 60-minute interval fitness class incorporating a variety of cardio, strength and endurance activities. Classes are being held indoors at the Burlington County Lyceum and outdoors within the event tent at Smithville Park.

Kentucky Derby Tea and Mansion tours

Burlington County fans won’t have to travel far to enjoy The Kentucky Derby, America’s longest running sporting event dating back to 1875..

The Friends of Smithville Mansion will hold a special Kentucky Derby Tea at noon on race day, May 6, at the mansion. The event will feature some of the race’s traditional splendor and pageantry with tea, refreshments and tours of the Smithville Mansion. The impressive Georgian estate of the Hezekiah J. Smith, the industrialist and inventor who purchased the village of Shreveville on the Rancocas Creek and transformed it into the industrial village known as Smithville, is a popular visitor attraction.

Admission to the tea is $30 and reservations and payment are required in advance. For more information or to reserve a seat, go to https://www.smithvillemansion.org.

Starting May 4, Smithville Mansion tours will also be offered each week on Thursdays and Sundays at noon, 1 PM and 2 PM. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors or students. Special group rates are available for groups of 10 or more people.

Arts and floral arrangements at the Agricultural Center

The Burlington County Agricultural Center is renown for its weekly farmers market, cooking classes and community gardens, but did you know that the center also hosts classes on floral design and still life painting?

Two floral design classes are scheduled April 6 and May 3 at 6 PM at the center on Centerton Road in Moorestown. The April 6 class will be devoted to spring centerpiece designs and the May 3 class will be on crafting Bohemian dream catchers. 

The still life painting class will be held Thursday, March 28, at 6 PM. A local artist will provide step-by-step guidance on painting spring flowers. 

Flowers and other supplies are provided for all three classes. Registration and fee payment are required.

“Whether you love film, arts, history, food or the outdoors, there’s certain to be a Burlington County Parks event or program that will appeal to you,” Eckel said. “The details are found in the online program guide, so we encourage all Burlington County residents to take some time to review it and plan to take a class or visit a County park, museum or gallery soon.” 

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