Playwicki celebrates silver anniversary

The Lower Southampton-based farm is hosting a year-long celebration in honor of its purchase by the township 25 years ago

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

Tradition of excellence: Playwicki Farm was purchased from the estate of Elizabeth Snodgrass on May 18, 1994 by Lower Southampton Township, and officially opened its doors to the public in 1999. Source: Playwicki Farm

The historic Playwicki Farm in Lower Southampton may be known for its breathtaking colors of nature, whether it’s the green grass or vibrant flowers sprouting from the trees. But throughout 2019, the space will encompass a different shade — silver.

Not literally, of course, but symbolically as the Playwicki Farm Foundation celebrates the 25th anniversary of its purchase by Lower Southampton Township. Festivities will include a yearlong program of special community events and activities at the 110-acre bucolic farm, located at 2350 Bridgetown Pike.

“The entire board is very excited about it, the Playwicki Farm Foundation,” said Rose McMenamin, president. “We’ve put together a wonderful, yearlong program filled with terrific entertainment, great food and exciting and colorful events so that everyone in our community, young and old, has the opportunity to participate in our very special silver anniversary year. I want to invite everyone to join with us in saluting this magnificent farm property, which was the last large open space in the township.”

Playwicki will host a kickoff reception on Feb. 7 for sponsors, past and present board members, politicians and community members who had a hand in the farm’s success and growth over the past 25 years.

The silver celebration continues with a flea market on May 4, a concert by Hearts Club Band on May 10, a salute to our nation’s military on Armed Forces Day on May 18, a Tri-County Band patriotic concert on June 12, and a unique Flag Day Food Truck Rally produced and directed by Mommy’s Little Black Book on June 14. These events are part of Playwicki’s ever-growing 2nd Fridays series.

“We sort of polished it up a little bit. We found our niche, we know what works for the community to bring the people out so that they’re family-fun,” McMenamin said. “So that’s what we focus on now. It’s really about getting the families out there, having the children there, having everyone there. All of our events really reflect that.”

In addition, the year will feature a performance by KIRKO on Aug. 9, Splash for Playwicki at the Dolphin Swim Club on Sept. 8, a remembrance of 9/11 on Sept. 11, a Fun Day showcasing crafts and an artisan fair on Sept. 28, and a Trunk or Treat Halloween event staged by the Lower Southampton Police, area volunteer fire departments and EMT services on Oct. 28 or 29. Programming concludes with Handbag Bingo on Nov. 8 and a Holiday Market Celebration on Nov. 30 and Dec. 7. Additional events and activities will be announced throughout the year.

At each event, attendees are welcome to share memories of Playwicki, either by filling out a form or bringing a small item. All submissions will be placed into a time capsule, which will be opened at a later date, which has yet to be determined.

“Many people that have lived here forever in the community have some wonderful memories of Playwicki Farm before the township owned it, with the Snodgrass family and the Van Artsdalen family, and they have pictures,” McMenamin said. “So we want them shared.”

The farm was purchased from the estate of Elizabeth Snodgrass on May 18, 1994, by Lower Southampton Township, and officially opened its doors to the public in 1999. Today, guests can enjoy open space, old growth forest, wetlands, agricultural land, a wildlife habitat, defunct quarry, paved walking and jogging path, children’s play area, refurbished barn for events and a commercial kitchen. The property also contains a variety of prehistoric and archeological sites dating from 7000/6500 B.C.

In September 1996, the Playwicki Farm Foundation was created as in independent, tax-exempt corporation to raise money for charitable, educational and scientific purposes. The funds are used for the repair, replacement, maintenance and preservation of the farm so that the township can enjoy it 365 days a year.

According to McMenamin, who has been a board member of the foundation for approximately eight years, each of the 25th anniversary events was voted on and approved as a group.

“We were all in agreement as to what we wanted to accomplish, what we wanted to do,” she said.

For McMenamin, who began brainstorming for the year in July 2018, it’s a thrill to be a part of such a major milestone. She originally became involved with the foundation to bring Splash for Playwicki to the farm, an effort to promote area restaurants. A year later, a seat on the board opened up, and it was a no-brainer for her to join.

“I’m enjoying myself. I’m having a great time making it what it should be for the community and the events that we have,” she said. “It’s a beautiful place. It really is lovely.”

McMenamin stressed that making Playwicki thrive is truly a team effort, and thanked the willingness of the township and Matt Gilbert, parks and rec director, to always lend a hand.

“We don’t walk alone. We certainly need their support and their help, and they’re a part of it,” she said.

In conjunction with the anniversary festivities, Playwicki will be completing a handful of projects. These include the renovation of the office room, which will feature a new floor, bathroom and lighting, as well as an expansion of Playwicki’s museum, which displays artifacts left behind by the Snodgrass and Van Artsdalen families. ••

For more information on Playwicki Farm and upcoming events, call 215–357–7300, ext. 340, email playwicki.farm.foundation@gmail.com or visit playwickifarm.org

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com