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FunTimes Magazine

2023 Is Coming Down To The Wire

Dec 25, 2023 10:00AM ● By FunTimes Staff

Photo courtesy of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

FunTimes Magazine, “Culture + Entertainment” column, Week of December 25, 2023


When you’re young, it’s the summers that fly by, and when you’re older, it’s the decades that race into yesterday. And so, with another year in the books, it’s count-down time. You know, time to drop the ball … in a good way. Here’s to being more blessed and less stressed in 2024! Celebrate Kwanzaa and the New Year, with everything from fireworks and ice skating on the waterfront to jazz and Kwanzaa festivities. And don’t forget: While enjoying your fun-filled final days of 2023, please take precautions, especially when in groups and indoors, with the current COVID variants and other infectious health threats. Check with the event organizers about their safety protocols. 


Kid-friendly Kwanzaa 

Friday, December 29, 2023. The Afro Culture Preservation Council’s 40th KWANZAA Children’s Festival is a great celebration to teach kids all about Kwanzaa. Enjoy an afternoon of entertaining, educational, and interactive activities highlighting stilt-ballet performances, art-making, games, food, and a candle-lighting ceremony. Featured are the Libation Ancestors Tribute with Ekoye Drum Assemble, Children’s Dance and Zawadi gifts and games, Gumbo the Clown, performances by the African American Stilt Ballet, NAACP /1121 Kierce Production Talent Search and Kind Risers Choir, The Most Extravagant Fashion Show by J. Lee Designed and 1121 Fierce Production. Free, noon to 5 p.m. EST (Candle-lighting ceremony at 2 p.m.) Penn Museum, 3260 South St. 215-898-4000  or

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What you need to know about Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a time when family, community, and culture come together. It is a time of reflection and celebration. Read More » 



Nia is the focus of the Kwanzaa event

Saturday, December 30, 2023. On the fifth day of Kwanzaa, join the festivities at the 2023 Kwanzaa Celebration observing the featured principle of Nia (Purpose), which means “to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community to restore our people to their traditional greatness.” Engage through storytelling by Thembi Palmer and doll-making by Sherri Lumpkin to create dolls in your image, while writing/speaking intentions for the new year. $14 for adults; $10 for seniors, students, and kids, ages 12 and under, noon to 4 p.m. EST. African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch St., 215-574-0380 or

Kids love Squiggles

Dropping the ball on New Year’s Eve

Sunday, December 31, 2023. They certainly know how to party on New Year’s Eve at the Please Touch Museum. Forget about midnight. Noon is the family-friendly way to go. The celebration comes in the form of Countdown2Noon™ -- a New Year's daytime shindig that ushers in 2024 in style -- with the loveable mascot Squiggles, confetti, and a traditional ball drop counting down to noon. The ball drop also will be live-streamed on the museum’s lower level. Groove to DJ music, engaging performances by the Monarch Dance Academy, the mesmerizing skills of the Give and Take Jugglers, and the music of Two of a Kind. $25 per person; two sessions: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EST and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST. Please Touch Museum, Hamilton Hall. Also, enjoy access to activities in the whole museum. Please Touch Museum/ Hamilton Hall, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, 215-581-3181 or  

Photo by M. Stanley for Delaware River Waterfront Corporation

Fire in the sky…

Sunday, December 31, 2023. Ring in the new year at The New Year's Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront. Find a great perch to catch all of the action along the Delaware River at a host of locations: The Waterfront at Race Street Pier, Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, Spruce Street Harbor Park, Cherry Street Pier, Pier 68, and Washington Avenue Pier, at the Moshulu, Keating's Rope & Anchor, the Spirit of Philadelphia, Fringe Arts, and Rivers Casino. There are two themed shows; the early-evening production is called “Let the Games Begin” featuring different games including the Olympic Games. In the second show at midnight, enjoy “Have a Philly New Year” highlighting songs by Philadelphia musicians. Free; two fireworks shows at 6 pm. EST and midnight EST. You also can check out the 6 p.m. fireworks on NBC10 Philadelphia and Telemundo62, or livestream the soundtrack on KYW Newsradio1060AM. 215-922-2FUN or

Cozy in the cabin

Rollin’ on the river!

Through Saturday, February 20, 2024. For 30 seasons, Independence Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest has been a winter hotspot under an array of sparkling lights, with scenic views of the Delaware River. Warm up inside rustic cabins and fire pit stations; try the boardwalk rides and games, delicious food, and hot beverages. Rock around the holiday tree and glide around the ice skating rink. Entry is free. Ice skating is $5 admission; and $12 for skate rentals. 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily. Delaware River waterfront, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd. 215-925-7465 or


Chill with these jazz vibes…

Saturday, December 30, 2023. Jazzy R&B Vibes in Philly with Acute Inflections will light up the stage starring NYC's R&B duo. Check out this dynamic concert of sultry, soul-stirring music. The couple has been featured on HBO and Amazon. From Erykah Badu to Billie Holiday, connect with Acute Inflections’ powerful jazz and R&B songs of innovative originals and covers. $20 to $40 ($10 more at the door). 7:30 p.m. EST to 9 p.m. EST. Philadelphia Ethical Society, 1906 Rittenhouse Square, 212-729-8372 or


Call for artists to shed light on the forgotten


Through Friday, January 12, 2024. The City’s Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy is looking for artists for its Philadelphia Black History: The People’s Stories, a public exhibition that will recognize the 5,000 forgotten Black souls buried at the rediscovered Bethel Burying Ground in South Philadelphia’s Queen Village area. The exhibit will pay tribute and chronicle the untold stories of African Americans in Philly highlighting members of one’s family, a prominent figure in the Philadelphia Black community, or someone personally significant to the artist. The selected artists are required to work in two-dimensional media and will receive a $100 honorarium. Philadelphia’s high school and college students are encouraged to submit artwork by the deadline, Friday, January 12, 2024. The exhibit is planned for Monday, February 12, 2024 to Friday, March 29, 2024. The chosen pieces will be displayed on three floors of City Hall as part of the Art in City Hall program managed by Tu Huynh who develops innovative exhibits and art activities at historic City Hall. Submit artwork to the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, Room 116 City Hall, City Hall, or digitally by creating an account through For details: 215-686-8446 or