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Hot Fun in the Summertime

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Resident Hardy Hoeger jests at the Arden Fair, which is
celebrating its 101st birthday. This year’s event, set for
August 31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will feature antiques
vendors, children’s rides, food and entertainment.
Photograph by Joe del Tufo www.joedeltufo.com

In Delaware, fun is as close as the neighborhood park or as far as the beach. It’s in the city and in the suburbs. There is so much fun, in fact, that it’s hard to pack it all into only three months. Here are some ideas. Schedule a date, grab some friends and prepare to celebrate summer in the First State.

 


DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival,
photograph by Ben Johnson

 

Music
Sounds of Summer
Cool jazz heats up Wilmington when the DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival (576-3095, www.cliffordbrownjazzfest.com) returns June 15-22. This year’s roster includes David Sanborn and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

New events include unveiling of the Clifford Brown gardens off Clifford Brown Walk at about 3 p.m. on June 15. At 2 p.m. on June 22, The Grand Opera House (818 Market St., 652-5577) will host a tribute to Clifford Brown. The concert is free.

Rodney Square will serve as the venue for free concerts June 16-21. The festival will hold lunchtime shows at the Delaware History Center (500 block of Market Street Mall) and H.B. DuPont Park.

Hot licks continue during the Riverfront Blues Festival (www.riverfrontbluesfest.com) August 8-10 at Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park. Featured artists include Elvin Bishop and Koko Taylor. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. A weekend pass is $50.

Beginning June 5, Bellevue State Park (761-6963, www.destateparks.com/bvsp/bvsp.htm) in North Wilmington holds concerts Thursdays and Saturdays starting at Performances, from jazz to rock, are free with park admission.

Beginning June 18 at 6:30 p.m., visit Rockford Park for the Wilmington State Parks Evening Concerts (577-7688, www.destateparks.com/Activities/SummerConcerts/RockfordTower.asp). Every Thursday from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Newark (366-7060) offers a concert on the Academy Building lawn at Academy and Main streets. Hear everything from jazz to kids’ tunes.

On Wednesdays July 2 through August 13, the New Castle Lions Club (328-LION) presents concerts in Battery Park in Old New Castle. The lineup includes Sin City and the Diamond State Concert Band.

Every Friday from May 30 to August 29, dance under the stars at the Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike, 610-388-6221) in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Concerts start at 6:30 p.m. and run the gamut of styles, including rock, classic and Dixieland. Bring a picnic, pick up a bottle of wine, and relax.

The Delaware Concert Band Festival noon to 6 p.m. on August 23 will showcase concert bands from across the region on the Academy Lawn in Newark.


Rehoboth Bandstand, photograph by Chuck Snyder

Head to Rehoboth Beach starting June 11 for free concerts at the Rehoboth Bandstand (www.rehobothbandstand.com). Love Seed Mama Jump, The Eddie Sherman Show and Groove Train are just a few of the planned performances.

If you’ve got some cash for tickets, however, some of the best tunes are at the Bottle & Cork (1807 Highway One, Dewey Beach, 227-7272), where featured performers include Citizen Cope on June 24, Bruce in the USA on July 21, and Patty Smyth & Scandal on August 3.

 


The Dover Allstars, photograph by Lora Bilton Englehart

Banding Together
“I don’t know where you guys are from, but you’re great,” a boomer in a Hawaiian shirt shouted at the band at Béseme Restaurant in Lewes. The band was from Kent County, and how they got together is quite a story.

A few years ago Dave O’Brien posted old photos of Dover High classmates from the late 1960s and early ’70s online. Friends sent other friends the link. “It was like a spider web,” O’Brien says, “with one person knowing where two or three more people were.”

The gang decided to reunite in Rehoboth. Then someone suggested they try to reunite the old rock ’n’ roll bands for a concert at the Bandstand.

Fifty former members of such Dover-area bands such as The Dimensions, The Prodigals and Color received strange messages asking if they wanted to play in Rehoboth. Some had continued to perform. Others hadn’t played in decades. Most said sure. Thus Johnny Hedges and the Dover Allstars was born.

Alumni of Dover High, Caesar Rodney, Holy Cross and the Dover Air Base School came from as far as Hawaii, Florida and Massachusetts. The concert blew everyone away, and within weeks, a date was set for the band’s return this summer.

One group continued to practice. The Draw will serve as the core for this year’s reunion show June 21, which is sure to be an even bigger and better Dover Allstars Reunion Concert than last year’s. —Lora Bilton Englehart

 


Brandywine Arts Festival

Art
Cultivate some Culture
The arts seem more vibrant when enjoyed outside. Watch the muses at work during the Rehoboth Beach Plein Air Paint-Out, June 20-22, sponsored by the Rehoboth Art League (227-8408, www.rehobothartleague.org) and Rehoboth Beach Main Street (www.rehomain.com). More than 30 painters from the region will paint outdoors for the afternoon, then submit their work to judges for review. Winners are announced at a social event 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Bellmoor Inn ($20 per person).

The Rehoboth Beach Art League holds its Outdoor Fine Art and Fine Craft Exhibit on the organization’s grounds (12 Dodds Lane, Henlopen Acres, 227-8408) August 9-10 and August 16-17. The event showcases more than 100 artists and crafters from the region.

More than 200 artists and crafters take part in the Brandywine Arts Festival (475-6350, www.brandywineartsfestival.org) at Brandywine Park in Wilmington September 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults; free for children.

Get your culture in air-conditioned comfort during the Newark Film Festival (www.newarkfilmfestival.com) September 4-11, mostly at Cinema Center 3 (411 Newark Shopping Center, 737-3720). Last year the festival showed 26 films, five of them produced locally.

 


Harry’s Seafood Grill

Eat & Drink
Sip and Sup al Fresco
After years of living in Latin American countries that offered many opportunities to dine al fresco, Seaford resident Annette Silva looks forward to warm days when she can eat outside at a restaurant. Her favorite spot is Gilligan’s Waterfront Restaurant and Bar overlooking the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal (134 Market St., Lewes, 644-7230).

“It’s delightful. You can sit there, smell the ocean, watch the boats go by and enjoy a seafood meal with friends,” Silva says. “What’s not to like?” Indeed.

Many of the state’s best restaurants offer outdoor seating, often with a water view. Irish Eyes Pub & Restaurant (213 Anglers Road, Lewes, 645-6888) is equally favored for its ambiance. The deck faces west, toward the sunset. If you have an intimate relationship with the water, the deck at Catch 54 Fish House (Del. 54, Fenwick Island, 436-8600) is just inches over Little Assawoman Bay.

The second-story porch at Mango’s (Garfield Parkway on the boardwalk, Bethany Beach, 537-6621) gives a seagull’s view of the surf, the sunbathers and the sand. Iguana Grill’s new location (122 Mulberry St., Milton, Road 684-4211) has a deck overlooking Wagamon’s Pond. The wraparound porch at the first Iguana Grill (52 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-0948) offers a view of lively doings on the street.

Victorian elegance defines The Buttery (Second Street and Savannah Road, Lewes, 645-7755). Smile at pedestrians who watch enviously as you tuck into the famous seafood chowder.

The Cultured Pearl’s new location (301 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-8493) has rooftop dining that resembles an island oasis, complete with water features, boardwalks and pagodas. As early as April, people were booking tables for July 4. Café Sole (44 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-7107) offers a charming little patio just off one of the town’s liveliest streets.

Al fresco dining on one of Ruddertowne’s decks (113 Dickinson Street on the bay, Dewey Beach, 227-3888) and at Harpoon Hanna’s (Del. 54 and the bay, Fenwick Island, 539-3095) can’t be beat. Both provide prime sunset views.

Waterfront dining isn’t limited to the beach. Harry’s Seafood Grill (101 S. Market St., Wilmington, 777-1500) on the Wilmington Riverfront gives diners a shady spot to watch the Kalmar Nyckel and other vessels glide along the Christina River.

You can also check out the action at Penelope’s on the Deck (110 S. West St., Wilmington, 658-6626). The alter ego of steakhouse C.W. Harborside, Penelope’s combines a casual menu with entertainment and a riverfront view. So does Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant (710 S. Madison St., Wilmington, 472-2739).

The patio at Chesapeake Inn Restaurant & Marina (605 Second St., Chesapeake City, Md., 410-885-2040) is party central in summer. In just a few steps, customers go from boat to bar or boogie down to live music on the dance floor.

In more urban settings, outdoor dining gives folks a chance to check out the street scene. Head to Caffé Gelato (90 E. Main St., 738-5811), Home Grown Café (126 E. Main St., 266-6993), Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant (147 E. Main St., 266-9000) or Klondike Kate’s (158 E. Main St., 737-6100), all on Newark’s happening main drag.

In Wilmington, ladies who lunch opt for Toscana Kitchen + Bar’s patio (1412 N. DuPont St., 654-8001). Get there early. “If someone says, ‘Can you save me an outside table?’ it’s tough to do,” says owner Dan Butler. The younger set mingles outdoors at Kelly’s Logan House (1701 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 65-LOGAN). The only time you’ll want to head inside is when the band takes the stage.

 

 

Pack a Picnic
You needn’t go to a restaurant to dine al fresco. Go for a picnic. Jayla Boire heads to Valley Garden Park (Campbell Road, off Del. 52) in Wilmington with delicacies from Sugarfoot Fine Food (1014 N. Lincoln St., Wilmington, 655-4800). “Yum,” she says.

“We usually have fried chicken, deviled eggs and potato salad,” says owner Anne Day. Sugarfoot is also within easy reach of Rockford Park and Brandywine Park, both in Wilmington.

Or grab goodies at Toscana To Go (1402 N. DuPont St., 655-8600), such as a focaccia sandwich with chicken salad, candied pecans, herbed cream cheese, lettuce and tomato. Presto! (1204 Washington St., Wilmington, 7-PRESTO) offers gourmet sodas, sandwiches, salads and sushi.

Before visiting Brandywine Creek State Park (Adams Dam Road, near Del. 100), pick up sliced wraps and fruit salad from PUFF (Mendenhall Station, 330 Kennett Pike-Suite 11, Chadds Ford, 610-388-9160) or from Centreville Café (5800 Kennett Pike, Centreville, 777-4911).

Headed to Cape Henlopen State Park (42 Cape Henlopen Drive, 645-8983) for a bike ride or swim? Swing by Café Azafran (

109 Market St.

, Lewes, 644-4446) for fresh mozzarella and roasted peppers or a panini of Serrano ham and olive tapenade. Or relax in 1812 Memorial Park on Front Street with noshes from Lewes Gourmet (110 Front St., Lewes, 645-1661).

 


Carrie Underwood

Visit the State Fair
The Delaware State Fair (www.delawarestatefair.com) July 17-26 brings together headline acts, monster trucks and prize-winning hogs for one of the biggest parties in the state. (

18500 S. Dupont Hwy.

, Harrington, 398-3269).

The fair starts with a demolition derby on July 17. The monster truck show is July 20. Entertainment features country act Brooks & Dunn with opener Rodney Atkins on July 18. Rockers Three Doors Down, Hinder and Staind perform on July 19. “American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood and opening act Lady Antebellum appear on July 21. “Idol” finalist Chris Daughtry’s band, Daughtry, performs July 22. Trace Atkins with “Idol” finalist Bucky Covington is scheduled for July 23, and Chris Young, of “Nashville Star,” plays July 24.

Saturday features Tony Hawk’s Boom Boom HuckJam tour. That means skateboarding, of course, but Hawk’s BMX and motocross pals will come along too.

Between acts, you’ll find livestock competitions. The country feel appeals to the Rileys of Millsboro, who take their campers and stay all 10 days. “We show our pigs and lambs, and this year, our little brother is taking a goat,” says Erin Riley, 15. “We feel at home there.”

For tickets, visit www.delawarestatefair.com. Admission is $5 in advance, $6 at the gate for adults. Children 9 and under get in free.

 


Traditionally dressed dancers make the Greek Festival
in Wilmington a celebration to remember.

Go Global
It’s a small world after all in the Small Wonder, where you sample a slice of other cultures without leaving the state.

The ethnic flair kicks off June 3-6 with the Greek Festival (www.holytrinitywilmington.org/greekfestival/greekfestival.htm) at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church (808 N. Broom St., Wilmington, 654-4446), from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day. The event is about “food, fellowship and fun,” says Susie Kelleher, office manager at the church.

St. Anthony of Padua’s Italian Festival (421-2790, www.stanthonynet.org/Festival) becomes the city’s main event June 8-16 on the church grounds (901 DuPont St., Wilmington). The kids like the rides. The adults like the entertainment—which this year includes tenor Aaron Caruso, accordionist Richard DiBlassio and the Vivaci Dancers. Everyone likes the food. There’s everything from cannoli to sausage sandwiches to steamed crabs.

Dover’s Legislative Mall is the setting for the African American Festival on June 28. The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., has the air of an outdoor African market. “The most important part of the day is the food and entertainment,” says founder and director Reuben Salters. The Platters perform at 6 p.m. Other entertainers include jazz musicians, gospel singers and African drummers. The event is sponsored by the Inner City Cultural League (

109 Bertrand Drive

, 736-0101).

From noon to 6 p.m. on August 24, El Festival Hispano (745-6828, www.yosoydelmarva.com/elcentrocultural/site/index.html) turns the Millsboro Little League Complex (262 W. State St.) into a fiesta, with food and entertainment.

Finally, the Nanticoke Powwow is scheduled for September 6-7 in a grove near the Nanticoke Indian Museum (

27073 John J. Williams Hwy.

, Millsboro, 945-3400). “It’s a festival unlike any other,” says James Diehl of Seaford. “You can get a first-hand look at what life was like long before European settlers came to the area, and you’ll have a lot of fun at the same time.”

 

Celebrate the Fourth
Wilmington’s Independence Day Celebration in Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park (www.ci.wilmington.de.us/July4th/index.htm) remains a summer mainstay. This year, the city has created the Independence Day Symphonic Orchestra from members of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and other regional orchestras.

Plans call for performance of the “1812 Overture.” But instead of cannons, the crescendo will feature fireworks. “High School Musical” will kick off the festivities at 4 p.m. There’s also an outdoor ice-skating rink.

Newark (366-7060) holds its Liberty Day Celebration at 4 p.m. at the University of Delaware’s David M. Nelson Athletic Complex (South College Avenue at Del. 4). Fireworks start about 9 p.m.

Dover’s festivities (www.dover4thofjuly.com), held on Legislative Mall, include daytime events and fireworks at dusk. Each year, members of the Walter L. Fox Post No. 2 of the American Legion parade on State Street from Hazel Road to The Green.

Rehoboth Beach (www.rehomain.com) starts its celebration at 8 p.m. with a concert by the U.S. Army Field Band at the bandstand. Fireworks follow at about 9:15. The Funsters, a popular local band, will take the bandstand after the display. “There is something about the fireworks that stirs up my patriotism,” says Funster Grier White, a history teacher who lives in Lewes. “It inspires me to think about when Francis Scott Key wrote the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’”

Bethany Beach (www.townofbethanybeach.com) starts early with a parade that begins at Garfield Parkway and North Pennsylvania Avenue. Horseshoe and pie-eating contests on the Christian Church grounds follow at 2 p.m. Fireworks start at dusk.

 


Longwood Gardens

More Big Bangs
July 4 isn’t the only time you can witness a snap, crackle and pop. The fireworks at Hagley Museum and Library (

298 Buck Road East

, 658-2400) June 13 and June 20 is the social event of the season. “They are the best fireworks I’ve ever seen,” says Mary Alice Panarello of Wilmington, who rarely misses them.

When gates open at 5 p.m., the grounds become a gourmet picnic spot. Guests serve everything from pâté to Brie to lobster. The main event blends music, narration, aerial shells and sets to create a colorful impression. Only members can buy tickets, so join soon.

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square (610-388-1000 ext. 100) brings together fire, water and air for its fireworks extravaganzas on July 4, July 19, August 31 and September 6 over the famous fountains. Go early to dine at Longwood’s Terrace Restaurant from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., which will feature cookout fare. Tickets must be bought in advance. Prices are $10 for children in a group to $32 for a single adult.

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