6ABC Forecast for April 27: Showers of Support

6ABC Meteorologist Adam Joseph

6ABC meteorologist Adam Joseph is recovering from a hamstring injury.

But you’d never know it.

He strides into the studio’s lobby with his mega-watt smile beaming, and bounces up to where I’m sitting. Handshake. Welcome. The guy gushes good energy, and not just when the cameras are on.

We’re off to his office to chat, and in walking through the maze of cubicles, I need to step lively to keep pace.

We settle in to discuss the annual Revolutionary 5-Mile Run® scheduled for April 27, 2014, at Valley Forge National Historical Park. Joseph has participated in seven of the past eight editions of the race, and he has registered for year nine.

Adam at the 2013 Revolutionary Run

Adam at the 2013 Revolutionary Run

He admits up front that running in Valley Forge is special. “Everyone knows Valley Forge Park,” Joseph says. “It’s centrally located. It’s simple to get to. And if people don’t want to run on pavements, there are many other options: You can run Mount Misery and some of the trails there that are just awesome. And Mount Joy, across from the covered bridge — there are just so many.”

Adam

The surroundings also hold the opportunity for the television forecaster to unplug for a while. “It’s very quiet. There’s not a lot of distraction. When I run by the cannons or the monuments, it’s great to think about what happened there. And seeing the history that was made there. So a lot of times my mind will drift, thinking: What happened where I’m running, right here, right now? And if I’m huffing and puffing and struggling, I imagine what those people did on those same grounds. It’s a cool place to let your mind flow while running.”

Joseph’s early days as a runner included significant training with hills, and the rises throughout Valley Forge play to that particular strength. While working in West Virginia, he was invited by a friend to participate in his first triathlon. “It was in the mountains,” he recalls, “very hilly, and it poured rain that day. I remember going down the mountain on my bike and being really scared. The end of the race was running three miles back up the mountain. So I’m very familiar with hills,” he laughs. “That’s another draw for Valley Forge because if you’re a strong hill runner, the location is great.”Adam Joseph

Competitively, Joseph will use the hilly terrain to gain some time on his fellow runners. “It seems like I can catch people on hills,” he grins.

For novice runners considering the experience — and challenge — of the Rev Run, Joseph advises to go for it. “Five miles is a great distance. It’s not a grueling 10 miles or a 10k, which is 6.2 miles. But it just gets you to that point where, when you do it for the first time, you get the pride of being able to say, ‘Hey, I just did a five-mile race!’ Which is a big deal. And it’s a hard five-mile race; it’s not an easy five-mile race.”

He speaks of the event in surprisingly philosophical terms: “A lot of people wear headphones while they run. I don’t like wearing headphones in a race; it takes away from the experience. I love listening to peoples’ feet. A good way of getting into a rhythm is listening to other peoples’ feet. You’re also more aware of where they are when you can hear them, so you’re passing runners and calling that you’re on their left or right. It’s more respectful.”

Joseph continues: “It’s about good sportsmanship, so to speak. The sportsmanship is not only about you, when you’re running a race. It’s also about supporting everyone else around you, being engaged with everybody around you, encouraging everybody around you. The differences in runners’ ages and ethnicities and whatnot, don’t matter. You find encouragement in everybody. Give encouragement. Get encouragement.”

Enthusiastic Runners

One more important aspect of participating in the Rev Run for Joseph is recognizing the dozens of volunteers who support the event. “On race day,” he advises, “when you pass a volunteer, thank him or her as you go by. Because they’re standing on a chilly corner and have been there since six or seven o’clock in the morning. So a simple thank you is terrific.”

Fortunately, any of the “chilly corners” present on race day at Valley Forge will be more the result of the early morning start time rather than any meteorological menace. “Snow for April 27?” he laughs. “I think we’ll be okay by then!”

Registrations for the Ninth Annual Revolutionary 5-Mile Run® are still open. The Rev Run website has comprehensive information on all aspects of the day: running, walking, sponsoring, volunteering and spectating. The deadline for e-registrations is midnight, April 20, 2014. You can still sign up to participate, though, at packet pickup at our offices, 1000 First Avenue, Suite 101, King of Prussia, April 25–26. Lending your support, ensuring that Valley Forge remains vibrant, relevant and engaging for generations to come.

Adam Prepares

Adam is preparing. Are you?

A memorable capper to participating in the run would be an overnight in one of our fine local hotels or B&Bs. See our website for recommendations. And if your post-race traditions include raising a glass somewhere to celebrate, consider the handcrafted beers of Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery.

Widespread Outbreak of Spring Fever

According to the weather forecast, the Valley Forge and Montgomery County area is supposed to hit 70° sometime over the next handful of days. This is the first time we’ve reached that temperature since November 7, 2013, more than five months ago.

If that doesn’t make you want to put the top down on the convertible and zip around in short sleeves, nothing will.

Fortunately, if you’re in The Pursuit of events that will entertain, engage and inform, the options are as plentiful as the daffodils springing up countywide.

“Hare” is an interesting outing for your youngsters: The Upper Schuylkill Valley Park program “Hippety Hop” on April 11. Educators will introduce very special some-bunnies, the resident rabbits at the park. They’ll also talk to the kids about wild rabbits before moving onto story-and-craft time.

Upper Schuylkill Valley Park

Spring is the perfect opportunity to jazz up a wardrobe, and nothing adds a little sheen to an outfit like a new piece of jewelry. But instead of buying something ordinary from a store, why not create something on your own? The demos, classes, vendors and workshops at Beadfest, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, help you do just that. Over 100 instructional sessions are scheduled throughout the entire weekend (April 10–13), providing detailed how-to’s on a variety of crafty techniques. Vendor exhibits include a vast array of supplies, materials and tools. And you can chat with notable author-instructors at book signings throughout the weekend.

Beadfest

Although Washington D.C. may lay claim to the most notable celebration of spring cherry blossoms, the nation’s capital doesn’t have a monopoly on their beauty. Morris Arboretum is devoting the next two weekends (April 12–13 and 19–20) to its Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival. The itinerary comprises a floral fantasia that honors traditional Japanese cultural activities. Take a 45-minute cherry walk on the grounds, led by an Arboretum expert. Help your youngsters in-“crease” their appreciation for the art of Origami by learning how to construct a paper bird of their own. And for an experience truly hard to beat, feel the thump in your stomach as the Kyo Daiko Drummers pound out intricate rhythms and spring forth with dazzling choreography. Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival

Each spring, Hollywood cranks up for the oncoming summer movie season, and in the queue for 2014 is yet another variation on The Wizard of Oz. The 1939 original is one of the most successful book-to-film adaptations ever produced, a blueprint for skillfully bringing an author’s pages to the big screen. The challenge of that task is the topic of the discussion “Based on the Book: Bestseller Cinema” at the Norristown Public Library on April 12. KYW Newsradio film critic Bill Wine will speak in depth about some of his favorites and invite armchair critics to debate the merits — or drawbacks — of his choices.

Saturday, April 12 is the annual Keswick Village Spring Fling. Local businesses put their wares on display in the sunshine and fresh air of a sidewalk sale. And they’re also the backdrop for a challenging scavenger hunt whose payoff is a collection of discounts and a grand prize basket of gifts.  What’s an outdoor festival without music? Not much. Which is why The Planets have been booked to keep the day energized.

Keswick Village

Gramma’s cure for a fever was to bustle you into bed for a rest. If spring fever is making you dizzy, perhaps it’s best to get off your feet for a while and take it easy. There’s no better place to do that than in the lap of luxury to be found at the various hotel options in Valley Forge and Montgomery County, listed on our website. Gram was also a fan of home-cooked meals, and for a taste of that kind of meal, give a try to Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, where every single food and beverage ingredient is farm fresh.

 

Zippity-Zoo Lines

The elk at Elmwood Park Zoo are gaining neighbors. Not that they seem to care much.

While they quietly graze, the open area next to them buzzes with the whine of circular saws and huge augers. A crew works overhead, perched in the trees like a pack of monkeys with power tools. From the safety of their harnesses, the craftsmen are building platforms, decking and walkways and installing guidewires, swings and rope ladders.

Working on the Zip Lines

The elk glance momentarily, blink and return to munching, ignoring the increased traffic. Their indifference is an asset, because coming this May, the pace of their neighborhood is going to increase. A lot.

The zoo, which turns an impressive 90 years old this year, remains as vibrant as ever. Its latest expansion project includes Treetop Adventure Park Philadelphia, a series of ziplines for children and adults. When completed, visitors will be able to zoom from tree to tree, scaling heights that rise as high as 80 feet in the air.

Zoo Marketing Director Shaun Rogers is all smiles as the park continues to come together. “The course for the younger kids was the first thing built,” he says, referring to the ropes and platforms near the tree trunks and lower branches. “Work started in the late fall — maybe early December — and then stopped because the weather got to be horrible. They were supposed to be right back. But we had snow after snow after snow….”

Zip Lines for Kids!

With the onset of spring, however, construction started again in earnest, and the zip courses are on schedule for a May opening. “They’re working on the second-level kids’ course, now,” Rogers says. The decks and support beams are taking shape for “games,” the industry term for obstacles and challenges encountered between the trees.

Very soon, the focus will shift to the adult course, whose beginning point now is a mere strip of orange-red warning tape around three trees in the zoo’s playground. “That course goes up the trees, over the playground, across a walkway and then over Stony Creek. It’s full-fledged,” Rogers promises. His estimate is that the course will be able to accommodate 25 adults at one time and engage them for upwards of three hours.

None of the zips will include interaction with the animals themselves, but they will constantly be in close proximity. In addition to the elk that live beside the kids’ lines, the zoo’s mighty bison are quite close. Despite the lack of direct animal contact, Rogers says: “There will be an educational component. When you’re up on the platforms, there will be signage about the trees that you’re attached to and the things that you can see.”

The company behind the construction is Tree Top Concept of central Florida, which found the Elmwood Park site particularly advantageous. “We have available open space,” Rogers says. “The flexibility is here that other zoos with closed in footprints may not be able to handle.” The area across Stony Creek provides enough room to expand all the way westward to the border of Norristown Farm Park.

TreeTop Adventure Park

Given its commitment to conservation and environmental issues, the zoo and Tree Top Concept are making extensive expertise to ensure not only public safety but also natural preservation. “We have a horticulturists that check the trees and make sure that as we go up into them, they’re all in good shape and suitable to the construction elements. They also make sure things are safe,” Rogers says.

Treetop Adventure Park Philadelphia is only one of a number of new experiences coming to Elmwood Park Zoo this spring:

  • Birds of ParadiseAn exotic bird encounter will allow close contact with fine feathered friends, including the ability to feed Sun Conures, medium-sized colorful parrots from northeastern South America. Housing these yellow-and-orange beauties is the former butterfly house, which has been completely transformed by a running waterfall, a pool of tropical fish and beautiful, Brazilian-themed murals.
  • In conjunction, trained bird shows are being added to the schedule of events.
  • A carousel and kiddie train are being installed near the present playground.

Last, the zoo’s biggest stars — well, certainly its tallest — are indeed returning for summer 2014. “Our giraffes, Jukuu and Dhoruba, are coming in time for Memorial Day Weekend,” Rogers promises, “along with the opportunity again to hand-feed them.”

The Giraffes Return!

The habitats of the animals at Elmwood Park Zoo have been created with an eye toward making them feel natural and right at home. The staffs associated with the hotels throughout Montgomery County, Pa., are experts at doing the same for humans, crafting cozy nests or luxurious lairs. Check out the options listed on our website. And if your stomach starts to growl, zip over to one of our fine restaurants for a bite. Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, for example, is one of our better watering holes.