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The Biggest Happenings in Delaware

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January

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

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.

Oyster Eat and Shrimp Feast
On the last Friday in February, 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

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

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.
 

April

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.

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

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.
 


photo by bob hickok

​Point-to-Point at Winterthur

NASCAR at Dover International Speedway

May

Point-to-Point
On the first Sunday of May, attend Point-to-Point steeplechase races at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. Tailgate with the who’s who. You may even catch a glimpse of Martha Stewart.

A Day in Old New Castle
The state’s oldest home and garden tour lets visitors step back in time. There are those who say the historic town could give Colonial Williamsburg a run for its money.

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.

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.

Dover Days
In its 82nd year, the largest festival in Kent County celebrates Delaware history in the state capital. Hit The Green to watch children in Colonial attire dance around the famous maypole.

NASCAR at Dover International Speedway
NASCAR’s best do battle on the Monster Mile during a three-day weekend at Dover International Speedway. The track recently underwent renovations to enhance the fan experience. Be sure to say hi to Miles the Monster.

Strawberry Festival
Stop by Fifer Orchards in Wyoming for this celebration of everything strawberry. No doubt you’ll wind up chatting with a Fifer.

Seaford Heritage Weekend
This event at the Governor Ross Plantation celebrates Seaford’s history.

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.
 

Firefly Music Festival

June

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
Celebrate the spirit of the old country during this weeklong festival in Wilmington’s Little Italy. Enjoy awesome food, live entertainment, street vendors and amusement rides. Be sure to take a guided tour of beautiful St. Anthony of Padua Church, a Delaware and national historic landmark.

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.

African-American Festival
This event, known as Positively Dover, is 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.

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. If the 2015 fest follows the initial three-year trend, the event will be too cool to imagine.

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


Photo by Kevin Flemming

​Delaware State Fair

July

Old-Fashioned 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. Coneheads, rejoice.

Rehoboth Beach Fireworks
Join 80,000 on the boardwalk and beach as fireworks light up the night sky. There’s no better venue than soft sand to catch the reflection of exploding pyrotechnics on the ocean.

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

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

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.

Best of Delaware Party
Delaware Today’s annual blowout features fare from dozens of the state’s top restaurants, boutiques, salons and other businesses. The event, held at sites like the Chase Center on the Riverfront and Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, includes live entertainment. Proceeds go to local nonprofits.

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

August

Riverfront Blues Festival
​Top national acts join talented local folks for three days of the blues at Tubman-GarrettRiverfront Park in Wilmington. Locals can’t pass up the Jimmy Pritchard Band.

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.

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

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

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.
 


Photo by Suzanne Smith

Nanticoke Powwow

September

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

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.

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

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

Oktoberfest
Delaware Saengerbund in Newark serves authentic German foods and beverages. Sing your heart out.

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.

Fringe Wilmington Festival
Fringe is an annual celebration of unconventional art that includes performances, exhibitions, film screenings and a filmmaking competition at venues throughout Wilmington.

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.

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

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

Bethany Boardwalk Arts Festival
More than 100 fine artists display and sell their work. A silent auction is also held.

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

Dewey Beach Music Conference and Festival
The three-day festival features 150 bands playing at various venues.

Elvis Festival
More than 20 Elvis tribute artists share two stages at the Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach. This night is so entertaining, you’ll find it hard to leave the building.

Taste of Newark
The annual foodie event pairs nearly 50 restaurants with the area’s finest wine distributors for a great day on UD’s Old College Lawn along Main Street.

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. 
 


Photo by Bud Keegan

St. Anthony’s Italian Festival

October

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 Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park in Wilmington.

Delmarva Folk Festival
This two-day event near Hartly offers a relaxed, rural setting in which to enjoy folk performances.

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.

Wings & Wheels Fall Festival
Festivals at the Sussex County Airport in Georgetown have featured a vintage plane fly-in, WW II re-enactments and a classic car show

Greyhounds Reach the Beach
Retired racers and their owners gather for three days in hound-friendly Dewey Beach.

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.

Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival
The four-day festival features national acts and local performers at various locations. Last year—the festival’s 25th anniversary—featured a performance by Pattie Austin and Gerald Albright.

Apple Scrapple Festival
Experience this Bridgeville tradition for two local delicacies.

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

Outdoor Show at Rehoboth Art League

November

Delaware Antiques Show
Thanks to Winterthur, some of the country’s most distinguished antiques dealers present at the Chase Center in Wilmington.

First State Heritage Park Market Fair
This event held on The Green in Dover takes visitors back to the 18th century.

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

Chocolate Fest
This choco-centric event at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino offers the tasty treat in many forms.

World Championship Punkin Chunkin
This three-day event has traditionally been staged the weekend after Halloween. The Chunk wasn’t held in 2014, but organizers expect to find a new location where the air cannons, trebuchets and others can compete.

Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival
This five-day fest shows 100 of the best American and international films.

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.
 

December

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

Christmas in Odessa
Take a self-guided tour of historic private homes and buildings that have been decorated for the holidays. The tour begins its second half-century this year.

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