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COVID restrictions are lifting and in-person events are back. Dining at restaurants, hugging family and friends, indoor and outdoor events are returning. The city just announced the line up for Welcome America and the Made in America Festival. Here’s a run-down of more in-person performances, festivals and other events coming up in Philadelphia and the surrounding region, including many free events.

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I have a confession to make: I’ve been enjoying watching episodes of “Naked and Afraid” (Discovery Channel). I’ve always enjoyed camping — setting up my tent, building a fire, and cooking over an open flame. And I’m sure that an inherent instinct for self-sufficiency/survival is part of what inspires me to grow a portion of my food. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to live off the land. So, this series intrigues me.

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Death is a difficult topic for many to discuss and plan for. Preparing for one’s death through the form of prepaid funeral arrangements can be beneficial. After an individual’s death, their assets are often inaccessible until the estate has been opened, which leaves family members needing to advance the costs of the funeral until the estate has been opened. The prepaid funeral is one way to make sure that your funeral and burial costs are covered. In addition to helping your family after your death, a prepaid funeral contract can be a good way to spend down assets in order to qualify for Medicaid.

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To borrow the iconic “Friends” series catchphrase, Plymouth Township Day 2020 was the one COVID-19 canceled. Happily, Plymouth’s annual community fair is back – scheduled to take place in East Plymouth Valley Park June 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and marking its 30TH anniversary, albeit a year after the fact.

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As I pen these words, I am compelled to speak out against hate. These words ring out in my heart, “When you see something, say something.” We have seen so much hate in our country and in our world. And it is time for people of all walks of life, of all faiths, to speak out clearly against any injustice.

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After doing all of your shopping online for more than a year, are you longing to try things on? Did being cooped up inside make you want to spruce up your living space? Do you value locally-made products? If so, you’ll love the pop up shopping opportunities springing up around the region.

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"Murder In The Cookbook Nook," "Gingerbread Cookie Murder," "On What Grounds, Do or Diner," "And Then There Were Crumbs," "For Batter or Worse," "Beyond A Reasonable Donut." What do these titles all have in common? They are just a sampling of the plethora of creative titles for a category of novels.

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PLYMOUTH -- She jokes that it keeps her out of trouble. But judging from local response, Kim Robbins’ contributions to the public art scene in Conshohocken and Plymouth Meeting do way more than keep her on the straight and narrow.

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GLEN MILLS-- As early childhood educators continue to go beyond the call of duty in today’s environment, six teachers from The Malvern School have been recognized as recipients of the 2021 Terri Lynne Lokoff Teacher Awards. Recipients – who were honored at a virtual ceremony on Saturday, May 22 – include:

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With the summer upon us and the sense we’re over and done with everything, that everything has got to change, I found myself after a year and a half facing down the mall. I walked into Bloomingdale’s to check in -- sort of a community service making sure area businesses were functioning well -- and maybe with just the slightest curiosity if by chance they had a new version of my vegan leather jacket that mysteriously delaminated.

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AMBLER — The lights of The Ambler Theater’s iconic marquee sign will soon shine once again as the downtown cinema is set to reopen Friday, June 4.

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PHILADELPHIA -- Congratulations to Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia’s beloved public market, for being voted the best public market in America by USA Today 10Best. The market is one of the oldest and largest public markets in the nation and after more than 125 years, it continues to grow, evolve and find new ways to please locals and tourists.

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Where did May go? I’ve been considering all of the things yet unplanted and looking at the calendar in disbelief — those thirty-one days somehow gone in a blink — and wondering how it’s gotten to be June already. Sure, I can point to all the things that I have accomplished, but the weeds are still growing like crazy despite the lack of rainfall, there are poison ivy plants that need to be pulled before they get completely out of hand, and the annuals I purchased at the end of April are still sitting in their little pots.

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EAST NORRITON — Even though the 18th annual Walk & 5K Run Through the Park will be a mask-wearing, socially distanced in-person event on June 5, organizers are confident they can recapture at least part of that pre-pandemic feeling for everyone involved.

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To be eligible for Medicaid coverage for long-term skilled nursing care, you must meet very strict financial eligibility rules. The eligibility rules can be difficult to navigate. One of the most overlooked traps for the unwary, is Pennsylvania’s Estate Recovery program.

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Now that azaleas and lilacs are blooming and temperatures are growing higher, it's the perfect time to check out some of the area's gardens. Of course you'll want to visit Longwood Gardens, the horticultural showplace in Kennett Square. But don't stop there, Philadelphia is America's Garden Capital with more than 30 gardens within 30 miles. Here's a sampling (or you could say, sapling) of lesser-known gardens including many outside of the city limits.

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If you’re leading up to or have hit age 50, you might be feeling like you’re in a fashion predicament all of a sudden and find yourself questioning what’s in your wardrobe.

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One of the most essential components of a successful vegetable garden has nothing to do with the richness and consistency of the soil, the amount of sunlight the plot gets, or even the kinds of seeds or plants you choose. At least in this part of the vegetable-growing world, a good fence is perhaps the most important factor if you plan on actually having some veggies left to eat after the deer, rabbits, and woodchucks have had their fill. (Actually, they never seem to get full!)

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The New York Catskills, an area that was once a resort mecca, where food and entertainment prevailed, has made a comeback with the opening of several boutique inns and large-scale resorts.

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It's back! Every foodie’s favorite time of the year -- Center City Restaurant Week. More than 60 restaurants will participate in the glorious gluttonous event, which runs from Monday, May 17 through Friday, May 28. Each restaurant will offer 3-course prix fixe meals for lunch for $20 and dinner for $35. Eat indoors, outdoors or get take out.

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The past few days, I swear that when I look at my little tomato plants, I can see them shivering. What’s with the weather lately? First, we’re launched into summer temperatures, and then we’re dropped into days that feel more like early March. We should be going down, maybe, to overnight temperatures in the upper 50s, not spending our days there.

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Essential oils — typically distilled from aromatic plants like lavender, lemon, peppermint, bergamot and eucalyptus — have been around for centuries. Ancient Egyptians used them for embalming and mummification. Medical icon Hippocrates supposedly advised patients in ancient Greece “healing begins with an aromatic bath and daily massage,” and contemporary proponents believe essential oils relieve ailments that range from headaches to insomnia.

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When you hear the words “garden club,” what comes to mind? Do you picture a group of soft-spoken, white-haired women — à la Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple — who gather for meetings, sip tea out of fine China cups, and grow African violets?

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COLLEGEVILLE — Holy Cross Regional Catholic School student Khai Scavone is the proud winner of Artsonia’s Artist of the Week contest, a voting competition held on Artsonia.com, the world’s largest collection of student art portfolios exhibiting over 80 million pieces of student art.

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The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was passed in December 2014. On April 18, 2016, Pennsylvania enacted its own legislation on ABLE accounts and in 2017 the Pennsylvania Department of Treasury began allowing individuals to enroll and open ABLE accounts. Pennsylvania ABLE accounts allow eligible individuals with qualified disabilities to save tax-free for disability-related expenses without jeopardizing any means-based government benefits the individual may be receiving. Although the law has been around for over five years, many families are unaware of the benefits of ABLE accounts for individuals with a disability.

LOWER POTTSGROVE — The Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area is bringing the Paddling Film Festival to the region for the second year in a row as an outdoor and physically-distant drive-in theater experience at The SunnyBrook Ballroom on Thursday, May 6, from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.

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Did your mom always tell you to help others? Show her you were actually listening by getting her a mother's day gift from a local small business. Here are some gifts from local businesses that your mom will love as much as knowing that you took her lesson to heart and helped a local business owner.

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Good news for bargain hunters who care about personal grooming – the pandemic-shuttered beauty salon at Central Montco Technical High School reopened April 22 and is accepting clients through early June. A limited number of appointments are currently available Monday through Friday between 8 and 11 a.m. But June 29 through Aug. 5, the full-service shop will be open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Walk-ins are not permitted at either session.