An idyllic town named for poetic giant John Milton reclaims its past with a party of epic proportions.
It’s easy to romanticize a town supposed to be named for 17th-century poet John Milton. August 3-5, little Milton will celebrate all it has to offer—and its 200th anniversary.
“I like the small town life,” says Charlie Fleetwood, head of the coordinating committee for the bicentennial bash. “If you don’t know who someone is, you figure it out pretty quick.”
The town will light the fires Friday night, turning hot air balloons into 100-foot-tall lanterns. There will also be a kickoff party at the Milton Theatre. On Saturday groups such as the Milton Historical Society, Art League and Garden Club will sponsor special events all over town, including balloon flights, Civil War reenactments, train rides, arts and crafts shows, house and garden tours, canoe and kayak races, a parade and more. A fireworks extravaganza and music by Vinyl Shockley will cap the day. Activities on Sunday will include a community worship service and gospel music at 1 p.m. In the evening, the 23-member U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters Chorus will offer its world-renowned choral magic.
Named Milton in 1807, the town was a lively commercial and industrial hub during its 200 years. It had several milling operations, a shipbuilding industry, hosiery and button manufacturing, and the Draper King Cole Cannery.
Milton is today one of the fastest growing towns in the state, so its 200th birthday is anything but a coda.
“I think it’s a really exciting time for the town, and the committee is working hard to put together a great program,” says Milton Mayor Don Post. “It’s a great time to showcase what we have to offer.”
Events will be held rain or shine. You won’t see this kind of party in Milton for another 100 years, so don’t miss it. For more, call 684-4110. — Mark S. Reeve
Lewes Antiques Show
There’s nothing like a summer day at the beach. Add live music, food, and artifacts older than you can imagine, and you’ve got the oldest tradition the Lewes Historical Society has to offer. On August 4 from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m., the historical society will hold its 44th annual antiques show on its three-acre historic grounds. About 60 vendors selling everything from Delaware collectibles to maritime relics will set up shop outside, rain or shine. Whether you are an experienced collector or just looking to start, there will be something for everyone. For more information, contact the Lewes Historical Society at 645-7670, or visit at www.historiclewes.org. —Adam Asher
A 25-Year-Old Kid
Steve Seyfried has seen much change since he founded the Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre 25 years ago. But he has one reassuring observation: The more things change, the more children stay the same. “The reaction from the kids has been very consistent over the years,” he says. “When we get them in the theater, in the middle of the show, it could be 1982, 1992 or 2002.” When Seyfried and his wife discovered the Delaware beaches 25 years ago, they hatched a plan to spend their summers in Lewes. The Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre was it. Since its birth in August 1982 with a performance at All Saints Episcopal Church in Lewes, it has delighted young and old. The Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre has grown to offer performances at three locations in Lewes, Rehoboth and Bethany. It also offers a film and television camp, a create-a-play camp and traditional theater workshops for young people. While the offerings have grown, the theater has stayed true to its formula: classic productions performed by a very small cast (as in one or two members). This month the theater will perform the “Wizard of Oz,” “Aladdin,” “Robin Hood,” and “Androcles and the Lion.” Though time has stood still for Seyfried to some degree, he laughs when he points out that Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre is well into its second generation of audiences. “We’re meeting parents who came as children,” he says. “The first time that happened it was a bit of a shock. But it’s great.” For more, call 227-6766 or visit www.rehobothchildrenstheatre.org. —Carrie Townsend
Wilmington might be the last place one would picture as hosting the oldest, largest annual religious festival in the country, but it makes sense. In the early 1800s, America’s first African Union Methodist Protestant church was founded in Wilmington. Each year since, a mass prayer service is held in commemoration as part of a celebration called the August Quarterly. This year the service will be held August 26 at the Chase Center in Wilmington before the live music, food and fun begins at Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park at 2 p.m. “When you go to the quarterly, you see a mosaic of people,” says Reverend Chris Bullock of Canaan Baptist Church in Wilmington, who has attended the festival for years. “It’s the coming together of the human family.” For more, visit www.augustquarterly.org.