This upcoming weekend may be the weekend we've all been waiting for! A forecast of mostly sunny skies and breezy, pleasant conditions from Friday to Sunday, combined with a laundry list of varied activities all around us, should satisfy just about everyone's tastes, from the outdoor enthusiast to the cultural and arts maven to the volunteer activist and, even, the happy couch potato.
Town-to-town highlights include a chance to watch the Royal Wedding Live early Friday morning at St. Andrew & Holy Communion Church in South Orange via their 122 inch TV screen. At Seton Hall, Christopher Durang's political comedy Why Torture Is Wrong, And The People Who Love Them will be on stage all weekend long. The South Orange International Blues Festival partners with SOPAC for their Blues in The Loft concert this Sunday.
In Millburn on Saturday, the Millburn Short Hills Art Advisory committee will be holding their second annual Art Appraisal Event at the Millburn Library. Bring your potential treasures for appraisal by experts in various art and antique categories. Back at the Library again on Sunday morning, don't miss Millburn Bike Day, which will include a ride through South Mountain Reservation, bike and helmet safety checks, plus free raffles and gifts and fun for all ages.
This weekend in Maplewood is jammed with stuff to do. The Spring into Maplewood shopping and dining event takes place in Maplewood Village Saturday afternoon. On the other side of town, 1978 Arts Center presents theirTake Five Jam with live jazz performances celebrating National Jazz Appreciation Month. Saturday evening, Studio B takes over the Burgdorff Center for another raucous Story Slam! night featuring many great local writers and their tales. And on Sunday, make sure to check out theMaplewood Rotary Club's 20th Annual Maplewood House Tour, as five amazing local houses will be on display and open to the public.
Here's the full wrap-up for this weekend in our area:
- The Royal Wedding Live at St. Andrew & Holy Communion Church: You are cordially invited to the Royal Wedding at Westminster Abbey via the 122 inch TV screen at St. Andrew & Holy Communion, which will be a large-screen viewing location for the royal wedding, complete with hymns and communion. The church welcomes one and all from the neighborhood and beyond as they celebrate the royal wedding and the church’s ties to the worldwide Anglican Communion. The screening is free and open to the public. Invite your friends and neighbors. Free, Friday, 5 a.m., South Orange
- Why Torture Is Wrong, And The People Who Love Them:Seton hall University welcomes you to the Theatre-in-the-Round for a lovely evening featuring a little bit of torture, the occasional rufie, tales of burnt squirrels, a journey through Hooters, and a woman whose underpants just can't seem to stay up on her waist, perhaps as a result of shoddy Chinese manufacturing. Christopher Durang turns political humor upside down with this raucous and provocative satire about America's growing homeland "insecurity." Honing in on our private terrors both at home and abroad, Durang oddly relieves our fears in this black comedy for an era of yellow, orange and red alerts. $3, $5, Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m., South Orange
- Second Annual Appraisal Event: Millburn Short Hills Art Advisory Committee hosts its second annual Art Appraisal Event to benefit the committee's township Scholarship Award for Graduating AP artists going on to a four year art college or architectural school. This year's fundraiser at the Millburn Library will be hosted jointly by the Art Advisory committee and the Internationally renowned Art Advisory company, Gurr Johns, of New York and London, UK, the oldest independent Art Advisory and Appraisal company in America. This will be an Antique Road Show-style event with several experts on hand for expert opinions and appraisals on your paintings, rare books, porcelains, jewelry, even an expert in Chinese and Asian Art. Come for a fun, enlightening afternoon! Parking is free! $25 for two items to be appraised, Saturday, 1-4 p.m., Millburn
- Seth Boyden Demonstration School PTA 5K: With the nicer weather, are you looking for a race to run? The first Annual 5K fundraiser benefiting the school takes place this Saturday. The race course is the certified 5K loop in the South Mountain Reservation and there will be a Kids Fun Run as well that morning, for children ages 3-10. Bring your family, tell your friends, come have a great time! $20 Pre-registration, $30 race day, Saturday, 8 a.m., in South Orange
- Trash Clean Up Event in the South Mountain Reservation: The Trash Tacklers is a volunteer program of the South Mountain Conservancy that helps remove garbage from major picnic areas and other places illegally used for dumping in the Reservation. The Conservancy, which is involved in forest regeneration and trail maintenance, is also dedicated to reducing litter and making people’s experience in the Reservation more enjoyable. If you can spare a couple of hours and want to get some fresh air, then join us in the Reservation to do good for yourself and your community. Volunteers of all ages can assist in this effort, but teenagers below 16 require adult supervision. Free, Saturday, 10a.m.-noon, Maplewood
- Spring Into Maplewood: Spring into Maplewood and celebrate the season, Saturday, Enjoy an afternoon of spring shopping and dining in Maplewood Village and earn chances to win a valuable Spring Gift Card Giveaway worth more than $600. Start your afternoon with a Fashion Show at 1:00pm at Highland Place Restaurant, then visit participating merchants for chances to win a collection of gift cards to Maplewood Village shops and restaurants. The more stores and restaurants you visit, the more chances you’ll have to win. Free, Saturday, 1 - 5 p.m., Maplewood
- Take Five Jam Party at 1978 Arts Center: This is the closing party for the Take Five Exhibition that has been on view at Gallery 1978 the past several weeks. There will be live jazz performed by Jazz Elders, marking the end of a celebration of National Jazz Appreciation Month. Artists on exhibit include Steven Ellis, Mansa Mussa, Bill May, Joel Crooms, Evelyn Graves and McDonald Wright. Free, Saturday, 2-5 p.m., Maplewood
- Studio B presents STORY SLAM!: This is a 5-minute story throw down between you and other local hot shot writers. Here's the idea: you write a story, practice in front of your cat, show up on Saturday, put your name into the hat. If your name is drawn you read your heart out, and at the end of the evening our three Story Slam judges (who happen to be literary agents) decide who will reign supreme! You feel good, and go home and write some more. Of course, you can just come and enjoy the show too. Support local writers! Free, Saturday, 8 p.m., Maplewood
- Millburn Bike Day: Millburn Township is planning the Millburn Bike Day on Sunday, at the Millburn Free Public Library, to celebrate biking in Millburn. Fun for all ages with bike and helmet safety checks, free raffles and gifts, and a ride through South Mountain Reservation that starts at 10 a.m. Free, Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-noon, Millburn
- Hudson Vagabond Puppets: Butterfly, The Story of a Life Cycle: Take a microscopic look at the insect world on the big stage at SOPAC! From her tiny egg we will follow the Monarch Butterfly as she grows through her caterpillar state and makes the amazing metamorphosis in the chrysalis and her incredible 1,500 mile journey to Mexico. With her insect companions she will learn about her symbiotic relationship with Milkweed. She depends on it for food, home, and her unique form of defense against predators. $20, Sunday, 2-3 p.m., South Orange
- The Revolutionary War in the Watchungs and George Washington: Well-known Newark Star-Ledger columnist and author Mark Di Ionno will discuss the Revolutionary War in the Watchungs this Sunday at Durand-Hedden House. Visitors can view an historical display on the local settlers who participated in the Battle of Springfield. They can also meet members of the 3rd NJ of the Brigade of the Revolution reenacting soldiers of the period in the house and on the grounds. Another special feature in the afternoon will be Maplewood resident Ann Wilson's exhibit of her collection of George Washington inaugural buttons. These rare buttons were made and worn at the time our first President was sworn into office in 1789. Free, Donations Appreciated, Sunday, 1-4 p.m., Maplewood
- Maplewood Rotary Club's 20th Annual House Tour: The Maplewood Rotary Club is sponsoring its 20th Annual Maplewood House Tour on Sunday afternoon. Five amazing houses will be displayed with a variety of architectural styles ranging from landmark to brand new additions, each having their own exquisite décor reflecting the owners’ lives and personal taste. The houses can be visited at your own pace between 1 to 4 pm. A map highlighting the locations will be printed on the tickets. Tickets can be purchased for in advance from participating local merchants or online or on the day of the tour at any featured house or at the following local merchants: Perch Home, Millburn Pet Shop, No. 165, 3r Living 147 Maplewood Ave., Weichert Realtors on Valley St., or Coldwell Banker on Maplewood Ave. $20 in advance or $25 at the door, Sunday, 1-4 p.m., Maplewood
- South Mountain Reservation Hike: As part of the Rahway River Association's Discover the Rahwayseries, come hike along the West Branch of the Rahway River and learn about the Reservation's natural history. This five mile hike will be both recreational and educational, and will include easy, moderate and difficult trail sections. Wear comfortable shoes and bring water and snack. Meet at the Locust Grove parking area off Glen Avenue in Millburn. Free, Sunday, 1-4 p.m., South Orange
- Society of Musical Arts Orchestral Concert: The Society of Musical Arts presents a free orchestral concert in the Maplewood Municipal Building on Sunday. The society is pleased to bring back former Maplewood native Michael Tree, world-renown viola soloist and founding member of the Guarneri Quartet. Our May concert features Mr. Tree in Max Bruch’s Romanze for Viola and Orchestra, plus works by Dvorák, Mendelssohn, and Pennsylvania composer Nancy Galbraith. Stephen Culbertson of Montclair conducting. Free, Sunday, 3- 5 p.m., Maplewood
- Blues in the Loft at the South Orange Performing Arts Center:Join the South Orange International Blues Festival (SOIBF) and SOPAC as they present Blues in the Loft, featuring Michael Hill’s Blues Mob, a cutting-edge premier contemporary blues band and one of the headliners from the 2010 SOIBF. World-renowned guitarist Dave Stryker, another featured performer from the 2010 SOIBF, will also make a special guest appearance. Additionally, featured youth and adult musicians from the 2010 SOIBF “Blues Battleground” competition will perform. This is a blues event for all ages! $20, Sunday, 5-9 p.m., South Orange
Donald Pun lives in Maplewood and posts the event round-up column here each weekend. Previously, he was a regular contributor for the NY Times' Maplewood, South Orange, and Millburn Local blog section.