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The Ultimate Guide to Delaware's Annual Events

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January

1 — Hummers Parade | This New Year’s Day parade down Broad and Main streets in Middletown is as whacky an event as you’ll find. Locals spoof the year’s biggest news stories—and anything else they choose.

 

February 

7 — Lewes Polar Bear Plunge | On the first weekend of February, jump into the chilly Atlantic at Rehoboth Beach to benefit Special Olympics Delaware. Or stand on the boardwalk and marvel at the spectacle of hundreds of folks braving the winter waters.

26 — Oyster Eat and Shrimp Feast | On the last Friday of each February, you can slurp oysters and clog to a live bluegrass band at the male-only Georgetown Fire Company’s annual Oyster Eat. Ladies do their thing the same night at the Lewes Fire Department’s Shrimp Feast. They say it’s a wilder party than the Oyster Eat.

 

March

25 — Great Delaware Kite Festival | The parade grounds at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes become the launching site for kites of all shapes, sizes and colors. Take part in one of the contests or just sit back and stare skyward.

(TBA) — St. Patrick’s Day Parades | Floats, bands and step dancers take to King Street in Wilmington, Smyrna and downtown Dover during these annual celebrations.

 

April

2 — Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival | This annual affair features baking contests, delicious desserts and family fun at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. You may want to hit the boards for a little power walk afterward.

23 — Bugs & Bud Festival | This annual event in Milford celebrates the official state bug (ladybug) and spring blooms. 

30 — UD Ag Day | UD’s College of Agriculture hosts tours, exhibits, kids’ activities, music and food on the grounds of Townsend Hall in Newark. The hayride around the surrounding farmland comes highly recommended.

 

May

5–8 — Wilmington Flower Market | Held each Mother’s Day weekend since 1921, the flower market offers a huge selection of plants and flowers at Rockford Park. Plus, there’s always an interesting lineup of live entertainment and plenty of festival fare. 

Dover Days

6–8 — Dover Days | The largest festival in Kent County celebrates Delaware history in the state capital. Visit the historic Green to watch children in Colonial attire dance around the Maypole and other activities.

8 — Point-to-Point | Attend Point-to-Point steeplechase races at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library. Tailgate with the who’s who. You may even catch a glimpse of Martha Stewart.

13-15 — NASCAR at Dover International Speedway | NASCAR’s best do battle on the Monster Mile over three-days at Dover International Speedway. Be sure to say hi to Miles the Monster.

 

 

 

 

Wilmington Grand Prix 

15 — Wilmington Grand Prix | One of the premier pro-am bicycling races in the country takes to the streets during three days of festivities. The Saturday street fair includes skateboarding demos, demos of X Games-style BMX riding and a party atmosphere at Market Street businesses.

21 — A Day in Old New Castle | The state’s oldest home and garden tour lets visitors step back in time. The town gives Colonial Williamsburg a run for its money.

28 — Horseshoe Crab & Shorebird Festival | Take a boat ride or a canoe trip and listen to music at Milton Memorial Park and Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge—one of the state’s hidden gems.

(TBA) — Strawberry Festival | Visit Fifer Orchards in Wyoming for a celebration of everything strawberry.  No doubt you’ll wind up chatting with a Fifer.

 

June

7–11 — Holy Trinity Church Greek Festival | Enjoy five days of homemade Greek goodies, traditional dancing, wine and other fun at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Wilmington. Moussaka for all. 

St. Anthony’s Italian Festival 

12–19 — St. Anthony’s Italian Festival | Celebrate the old country during this weeklong festival in Wilmington’s Little Italy. Enjoy amazing food, live entertainment, vendors and amusement rides. Take a guided tour of beautiful St. Anthony of Padua Church, a Delaware and national historic landmark.

16–19 — Firefly Music Festival | Firefly offers four days of musical performances by popular rock acts—nine stages, more than 110 bands—in the woods near Dover International Speedway. Around 90,000 music fans attended last year’s event.

20–25 — Clifford Brown Jazz Festival | Free concerts in Wilmington’s Rodney Square feature some of the hottest—meaning coolest—musicians on the scene. Past performers include Chick Corea, Jonathan Butler and Lalah Hathaway. 

24-26 — Big Barrel Country Music Festival | The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway hosts a three-day country fest that in its inaugural year featured Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood.

Positively Dover 

25 — African-American Festival | This event, known as Positively Dover, is usually held on the fourth Saturday in June on Legislative Mall in Dover. Performances by the youth of Sankofa African Dance Company can’t be missed.

25–26 — New Castle County Ice Cream Festival | The long-running Fourth of July weekend fest—live music, crafters and, of course, ice cream—is held at Rockwood Park in Wilmington.

(TBA) — A New Night Downtown Newark | This family event showcases Newark’s unique and eclectic businesses with a street fair feel. Find food, music, shopping and other excitement.

 

 

July

3 — Rehoboth Beach Fireworks | Join 80,000 people on the boardwalk and beach as fireworks light the night. There is no better place than the sand to catch the reflection of exploding pyrotechnics over the ocean.

8–9 — Nanticoke Riverfest | Hundreds take to the Nanticoke River in downtown Seaford for three days of fun, games, car shows and the famous float-in.

15–31 — Delaware Shakespeare Festival | Who needs Central Park? The festival produces the best from the Bard at Rockwood Park in Wilmington.

Delaware State Fair / Photo courtesy of the Delaware Tourism Office

21–30 — Delaware State Fair | The 10 day event in Harrington features grandstand events like a demolition derby and concerts by some of the top acts in the country. You haven’t truly experienced the fair until you stop by the livestock area to pet something.

21 — Delaware Today’s Best of Delaware Party | Delicious food from dozens of the state’s top restaurants, boutiques, salons and other businesses. The event, held at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, includes live entertainment, tons of great food and everyone you want to see. Proceeds go to local nonprofits.

TBA — People’s Festival | A celebration of music and culture in a tribute to Bob Marley is at Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park in Wilmington. Past performers include Richie Havens, The Wailers and all kinds of Marleys, of course.

 

August

5–7 — Riverfront Blues Festival | Top national acts join talented locals for three days of blues at Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park in Wilmington. Locals can’t pass up the Jimmy Pritchard Band.

6 — Wyoming Peach Festival/Peach Ice Cream Day | The peach is celebrated with activities while Fifer Orchards sells ice cream and presents live music.

20 — Middletown Peach Festival | Life’s a peach at this annual event, which features a parade, a pie-baking contest, music, food, games and local art. 

27–28 — August Quarterly | The oldest continuous African-American religious festival commemorates the founding of the Union Church of Africans in Wilmington.

(TBA) — Outdoor Fine Art and Craft | Show More than 100 artists and artisans exhibit work for sale on the grounds of the Rehoboth Art League in Rehoboth Beach over two weekends.

(TBA) — Delaware Junction | This three-day country music and camping festival is held at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington. Last year’s headliners included Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean and Toby Keith

 

September 

3 — Arden Fair | Held the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, this century-old tradition offers an antiques market for crafts, games, food and music in Arden.

5 — Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral | Bid a New Orleans-style farewell to summer during this quirky tradition held on the boardwalk each Labor Day.

10 — Bethany Boardwalk Arts Festival | More than 100 fine artists and crafters display and sell their work. 

10 — Nanticoke Powwow | Held in Millsboro, the powwow is a glimpse of native culture, as well as traditions from tribes across the country.

10–11 — Brandywine Festival of  the Arts | Always the weekend after Labor Day, this fest features more than 100 juried artists selling works at Brandywine Park’s Josephine Gardens in Wilmington.

16–18 — Oktoberfest Delaware | â€‹Saengerbund in Newark serves authentic German foods and beverages. Sing and dance your heart out.

18 — Hagley Car Show | View antique and restored cars dating from the early 1900s to the 1980s at beautiful Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington.

22–29 — Polish Festival | This annual event held on the Wilmington riverfront features traditional Polish food, music, dancing and a packed midway.

23 — Riverwalk Freedom Festival | This three-day event along the Mispillion River is Milford’s largest annual outdoor festival.

24 — Art on the Green | The New Castle Hundred Lions Club hosts this annual show of arts, crafts and music at Battery Park in New Castle.

25 — Newark Community Day | From Memorial Hall to Main Street, UD’s Green is filled with hundreds of arts, crafts and food vendors, plus musicians and demonstration groups, during this popular community celebration. This marks the 45th year it’s been held.

30–Oct. 1 — Wings & Wheels Fall Festival | Past festivals at the Sussex County Airport in Georgetown have featured a vintage plane fly-in, WW II re-enactments and a classic car show.

30–Oct. 2 — NASCAR at Dover International Speedway | Dover plays host to three different NASCAR series races during the three-day weekend. The chase for the Sprint Cup really starts to heat up this time of year.

(TBA) — Taste of Newark | The annual foodie event pairs more than 50 restaurants with the area’s finest wine distributors for a great day on UD’s Old College Lawn along Main Street.

 

October

2 — Coast Day | Tour research vessels, touch sea life and enjoy cooking contests at UD’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment in Lewes. The view of Roosevelt Inlet and the bay is unparalleled.

8–10 — Greyhounds Reach the Beach  | Retired racers and their owners gather on Columbus Day weekend in Dewey Beach.

9 — Vendemmia da Vinci | Savor Italian food and wines, get in on the wine- and gravy-making contests and enjoy live Italian music—from Sinatra to opera—at Bellevue State Park in Wilmington.

13-16 — Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival | The four-day festival features national acts and local performers at various locations. Previous festivals have performances by such stars as Pattie Austin, Gerald Albright and Al Jarreau.

14-15 — Apple Scrapple Festival | Experience this Bridgeville tradition for two local delicacies. 

24 — Delmarva Folk Festival | This two-day event near Hartly celebrates 25 years as it offers a relaxed, rural setting in which to enjoy folk performances. Camp if you want.

28–30 — Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddler’s Festival | This event in Rehoboth includes costume parades for humans and dogs, and a skim and surf fest. 

(TBA) — Delaware Wine & Beer Festival | Kent County welcomes all to taste some of the best local wines, craft beers and small-batch spirits Delaware and the region has to offer, plus contests for home brewers.

 

November

10 — Return Day | This only-in-Delaware event is held the Thursday after an election in Georgetown. Winners and losers bury the hatchet and parade together while you enjoy roasted ox.

11–13 — Delaware Antiques Show | Thanks to Winterthur, some of the country’s most distinguished antiques dealers are showcased at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington.

(TBA) — First State Heritage Park Market Fair | This event on The Green in Dover takes visitors back to a typical market day in the 18th century.

(TBA) — Yuletide at Winterthur | The stunning period rooms of Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library are decorated for the holidays with, among other things, trees dressed in the fashion of their times.

(TBA) — Chocolate Fest | This choco-centric event at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino offers the tasty treat in as many delicious forms as you can imagine.

(TBA) — Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival | This amazing five-day festival features 100 of the best current American and international films.

 

December

(TBA) — Christmas at Hagley | Visitors to Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington can make Victorian Christmas paper decorations, taste holiday cookies and tour the original du Pont family home in its finest holiday raiment.

(TBA) — Christmas in Odessa | Take a self-guided tour of historic private homes and buildings that have been decorated for the holidays, with one based on a classic work of children’s literature. The tour begins its second half-century this year.

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