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FunTimes Magazine

February’s In Full Swing

Feb 20, 2024 12:00PM ● By FunTimes Staff

Photo courtesy of the City of Philadelphia,

FunTimes Magazine ‘Culture + Entertainment,” Week of February 19, 2024

Black History Month Trivia: 31 recreational sites in Philadelphia are named after local African-Americans such as civil rights activist singer Marian Anderson and attorney-political leader Cecil B. Moore.

It’s time to freshen it up in February. The first part of the event’s column is dedicated to family festivities. After all, the kids may be getting a bit stir-crazy, as winter takes hold. The rest of the entertainment offerings here are filled with jazz tributes, dance recitals, and more. And don’t forget: When event-going, please take precautions, especially when in groups and indoors, with the current COVID variants and other infectious health threats on the rise. Check with the event organizers about their safety protocols, and also any changes due to inclement weather. 


Write and present your $peech…

Philadelphia’s graduating high school seniors can earn up to $2,000. How? Just pen a masterpiece of a speech, as part of The 2024 King Legacy Oratorical Contest. Sponsored by the African American Museum in Philadelphia. You also will be asked to recite your original 3–to-5-minute speech on Wednesday, April 20, 2024, at the museum. Three finalists will be selected for monetary prizes. The deadline for the written portion is 12 midnight EST, Thursday, February 29, 2024. Complete a brief form and register in person or online at this link or 215-574-0380 or

Photo courtesy of Mighty Writers

Open your laptops for Open Mic

Wednesday, February 21, 2024. Wednesdays now are a whole lot better. Mighty Writers youth-literacy nonprofit will stage an Open Mic Night. Mighty Writers is all about expressing yourself -- on paper, on stage, on social media, or wherever. Don’t be shy, young Maya Angelou and J. Cole; take your brilliant poems, spoken-word pieces, stories, and essays, which may be hidden away in your computer notebooks, and share your talents on stage for 3 minutes in front of a live audience. Free, from 7 p.m. EST to 9 p.m. EST. Mighty Writers’ Germantown program, 12 E. Church Ln. E-mail: [email protected] or 267-253-6853.


From Tap to Table

Thursday, February 22, 2024. Kids can learn all about how sap is harvested to make syrup, from the tree to table. All of these tricks of the tap can be learned in the Maple Sugaring Homeschool Program. Hustle over to the Wissahickon Environmental Center, 300 W. Northwestern Ave., from 1 p.m. EST to 2:30 p.m. EST. Frolic through the forest. Recommended for kids, starting in second grade, and an adult who has a sweet tooth. A companion event will be held on the same day, from 1 p.m. EST to 3 p.m. EST, at Pennypack Environmental Center, 8600A Verree Rd. Free but advance registration is required. Fill out this form to register or visit For the maple-sugaring event at the Pennypack Environmental Center, you also can call: 215-685-0470. 


Kids’ costume party-book reading for Black History Month

Sunday, February 25, 2024. Kids, 13 and under, can dress up as their favorite figures in Black History Heroes Day. They can take part in the Wax Museum Activity posing for photos in their costumes while reciting a few fun facts about themselves. They also can learn about the life of the father of Black History Month. Christopher Miller, the Executive Vice President of the African American Museum in Philadelphia, will present a dramatic reading from a picture book about the late Carter G. Woodson, who widely is recognized as the founder of Black History Month in America. Woodson’s parents had been enslaved, and it disappointed him that their lives, and others, were overlooked in history and in schoolbooks. While working in the coal mines in his younger years, Woodson would read the newspaper to illiterate miners. This remarkable picture book captures the life of this American Harvard University-trained scholar and writer, who died in 1950. Free but register in advance, 2 p.m. EST to 4 p.m. EST. African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch St. 215-574-0380 or

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Stretching the limits of African dance

Friday, February 23 to Sunday, February 25, 2024. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, based in New York, will bring a resume to Philly that spans 65 years of contemporary dance experience in a dazzling three-day appearance. The Ailey troupe will perform works by some of today's top choreographers mixed with classics. The new season's repertory covers the new works of CENTURY by Amy Hall Garner and Me, Myself and You by Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish, as well as new productions by Ronald K. Brown’s Dancing Spirit, Alonzo King's Following the Subtle Current Upstream, and Solo by Hans van Manen. Each performance will close with Alvin Ailey's signature piece, Revelations, an uplifting “exaltation of African-American cultural heritage set to spirituals, song-sermons, gospel and holy blues.” Alvin Ailey is known for its stellar celebrations of the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance heritage. 2 p.m. EST or 7:30 p.m. EST. $29 to $90. $25 discount tickets available. Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St. 215-893-1999 or

Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble

Preserving African Dance Traditions

Sunday, February 25, 2024. Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble presents traditional dance and music of Africa and the African diaspora, while celebrating modern African-American culture. Established in Philadelphia in 1969, Kulu Mele is credited as the nation’s oldest dance company. For more than 50 years, Kulu Mele has passionately promoted the traditions of West Africa, Cuban and African Diaspora including contemporary American hip-hop. $10 to $18 (free for kids under age 13), 2pm EST. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118-128 N. Broad St. 215-972-7600 or

Leon Jordan, Jr.

Jazz Pizzazz 

Friday, February 23, 2024. “Ready for Freddie” is the cool name of the Free Library’s Jazz Concert in Celebration of Black History Month. Trumpeter extraordinaire Leon Jordan, Jr. and a group from Union Local 77 will recreate 60’s and 70’s Jazz with feature legendary American trumpeter Freddie Hubbard in a tribute concert to celebrate Black History Month. The late Hubbard, who died in 2008, was known for bebop, hard bop, neo-bop, jazz fusion, and post-bop styles, starting in the early 1960s, and later, when he developed a distinctive modern tonal jazz and hip hop sound of his own. Free, 3:45 p.m. EST to 5 p.m. EST. The Parkway Central Library/Main Lobby, 1901 Vine St. 215-686-5402 or

It’s all push and pull at strong person competition

Saturday, February 24, 2024. Can you pull your weight? More than 100 mostly amateur athletes will try, competing for bragging rights and trophies at the debut Double Deuce Brawl strong person competition and fundraiser. No doubt, it’s a heavy lift for anyone. That’s why teamwork makes the dream work; two-person mixed teams of all genders in the lightweight and heavyweight divisions will go head-to-head in a day of moving, lifting, swinging and pushing ultra heavy dumbbells, wagon wheels, tractor tires, hammers and sandbags. The competition is hosted by Fire for Effect Athletics, a gym in Manayunk. Registration fees benefit military veteran’s charities. $60, registration encouraged in advance but entrants accepted at the event, 9 a.m. EST. Fire for Effect Athletics, 123 Leverington Ave., e-mail: [email protected], 609-532-2339 or


Develop your plays, songs, operas in writers’ program 

Monday, February 26, 2024. Calling out to all BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) writers who are passionate about storytelling through the art of plays, musicals, songs, or operas. Here’s a chance to get the tools to nurture your creativity. Participate in a mentoring program offered through the Dramatists Guild -- The National Trade Association of Playwrights, Composers, Lyricists, and Librettists Free, 7 p.m. EST. Parkway Central Library, Rm. 108, 1901 Vine St., 215-686-5402 or