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FunTimes Magazine

Fall into September

Sep 05, 2023 12:00PM ● By FunTimes Staff
Photo by Marta Wave

FunTimes Magazine ‘Culture & Entertainment’ column, Week of September 4, 2023                             

As Labor Day fades in the distance, September continues to make a big splash on the fall scene. Here is a bevy of free or low-cost entertaining events and activities in the Philadelphia area. Event-goers, please take precautions, when in groups, with the onset of COVID variants.


Opera storybook time

Saturday, September 9. 2023. Check out Dr. Christine Jobson’s powerful reading of her children’s book, Lily’s First Trip to the Opera. And there’s more. Afterward, there will be reading about a real-life little girl who grew up to become an opera star. The reading is from When Marian Sang, Pam Munoz Ryan’s book about contralto Marian Anderson, presented by Jillian Pirtle, CEO of the Marian Anderson Museum and Historical Society. The Marian Anderson Museum & Historical Society will display Anderson’s letters, dresses, and sheet music to highlight the South Philadelphia-born African-American trailblazer. You can buy an autographed copy of Lily’s First Trip to the Opera. Free to attend. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST, Philadelphia Athenaeum, 219 S. Sixth St. 215-925-2688 or

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Hot wheels, cool show…

Saturday, September 9, 2023. A legion of stars have graced the festive stages of the annual Hero Thrill Show fundraiser: Actor Sylvester Stallone, Bernard Hopkins -- and way back -- even “The Singing Cowboy,” Gene Autry (he sang the holiday classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”). For 68 years, the Hero Thrill Show has been a Philadelphia tradition. The extravaganza has supported the education of families of Philadelphia-area police officers and firefighters who died in the line of duty. Enjoy old-fashioned carnival boardwalk-style activities -- face-painting, law-enforcement demonstrations, DJ music, and professional team mascots. Be dazzled by daredevil motorcycle performances by the world-famous Philadelphia Police Highway Patrol Drill Team, the Bicycle Force, and the K-9 Unit. Kids can sit in the cockpit of a police helicopter. The Philadelphia Fire Department will offer rides on siren-screaming fire trucks and displays of equipment; it will perform safety exercises focusing on breathtaking rescue operations and procedures. The Thrill Show features "The Sound of Philly" R&B and disco music, under the direction of radio personality “Mr. Saturday Night,” Bob Pantano. Noon to 4:30 p.m. EST. Wells Fargo Center Parking Lot, Broad Street and Pattison Avenue, South Philadelphia. Free parking. Tickets onsite at the entrance gates, or in advance are $15 (single purchase) and $35 (for families of up to 5 people); they are available at Philadelphia police and fire stations, Facebook, or on


Hakuna Matata!

Through Sunday, September 10, 2023. From Broadway to Broad Street, Disney’s THE LION KING is a generational play. The six-time Tony Awards®-winner of Best Musical has captured the imagination of the young and old alike. Young Simba, the heir to his deceased dad Mufasa’s throne, is tricked and challenged by his conniving uncle Scar before ultimately ascending to rule his kingdom. Tony Award®-winning director Julie Taymor presents an emotional story of hope and adventure with the memorable backdrop of striking visuals. THE LION KING features the evocative music of Tony Award®-winning artists Elton John and Tim Rice. $29 to $99. Times vary. For ages 6 and older. Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St, 215-893-1999 or


Let’s bounce…

Through Sunday, September 10, 2023. There’s nothing like jumpin’ for joy. And we have just the spot. Check out The Big Bounce America -- a wonderland of fun and games at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Navigate four inflatable attractions including a 16,000-square-foot bounce house. The bouncy inflatable courses. with obstacles, featuring themes of sports and aerospace, and can take up to three hours to tackle. Various times; $22 to $42; for ages 5 and up. Philadelphia Navy Yard Marine Parade Grounds, Broad St. and Intrepid Ave., South Philadelphia. 610-698-377, or

Parks on Tap at Schuylkill Banks
Photo by A. Yee for Fairmount Park Conservancy

Here’s what’s brewing….

Sunday, September 10, 2023. What can be better than a cold beer, some snacks, small bites, and sandwiches on a hot day? That’s where Parks on Taps beer garden at Columbus Square in South Philly comes in. Enjoy draft brews from Mainstay Independent Brewing at this cool popup. Stop and smell the roses in the garden around the park, which is a big gathering for dog lovers. Experience one of the most lively neighborhood spots in Philly. Free entry, noon to 10 p.m., Columbus Square.12th Wharton Street in the Passyunk Square area. or

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Book this festival on your calendar…

Saturday, September 16, 2023. The Uhuru Book Fair has been a mainstay for 20 years in West Philly. It’s part of the MQFactory Marketplace that showcases local vendors and entrepreneurs who offer a diverse selection of specialties like housewares and arts and crafts. Hosted by One Africa! One Nation, the all-day festival promotes literacy and economic development highlighting poetry, spoken word, authors and their books, children’s activities, music, food, and vendors. Free education and literacy resources including English as a Second Language (ESL) materials. Free. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. Clark Park, 43rd Street and Chester Avenue, 267-875-3532 or

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