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Long weekend of fun, music opens tonight

Brandywine Hospital's annual Strawberry Festival presents bands, rides, food and more.

The time has come again for Brandywine Hospital's Strawberry Festival, which starts at 5 p.m. today on the hospital grounds in Coatesville.

The annual festival will run all weekend with a wide variety of fun and games, including tonight's Battle of the Bands, which pits last year's winner, Eden's Unknown, against newcomer Circian Dubb.

Tomorrow night is T.G.I.F., sponsored by ArcelorMittal, the Coatesville steelmaker, with a concert by Common Crave, a new Philadelphia band. After the concert is the annual fireworks show at 9:30 p.m.

In addition to the bands and other entertainers, traditional festival attractions will include rides for all ages, craft vendors, and food including Mexican, Greek and Italian specialties; hamburgers and hot dogs; and strawberry shortcake, a festival tradition.

Kids can enjoy the rides in the Majestic Midway. Tonight only, wristbands for unlimited rides in the Midway cost $20.

There are new family fun areas, including Strawberryland, which features moon bounces, inflatable slides, a trackless train and carnival games.

The new Berry Blast Zone will feature activities for older kids and families, such as a Velcro wall, an inflatable Sports-a-Rama, inflatable boxing and obstacle courses. Individuals will pay $7 for a wristband for each area.

To help festivalgoers save gas and avoid traffic, the festival is again providing the Strawberry Shuttle bus to take them from the K-Mart on Lincoln Highway in Thorndale to the hospital grounds, said Jill Whitcomb of the Brandywine Health Foundation said. The shuttle will be available tomorrow and Saturday evening from 5 p.m. until the close of the festival.

Money raised from the festival will benefit a number of local health and human service organizations through the Brandywine Health Foundation.

If You Go

Brandywine Hospital, Coatesville, is by the Brandywine Hospital exit on Route 30.

Festival hours are 5 to 10 p.m. today, 5 to 11 p.m. tomorrow, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

For details and entertainment schedule, see

» READ MORE: www.brandywinestrawberry