Nonprofit Charities in Delaware: The Rev. Dale Dunning Runs Jusst Sooup Ministry in to Feed the Hungry and Homeless in Sussex County

Souper Woman—This hero needs no cape—just a ladle.


Published:

It started with a hot plate, which turned into a Crock-Pot, which turned into 17 Crock-Pots. Then it became a ministry.

Is that business savvy, or is it a spiritual mission so intense that it fortified its leader to serve thousands in need despite her own hardships? In this case, it’s a little of the former, and a lot of the latter.

Meet the Rev. Dale Dunning, whose Jusst Sooup Ministry serves 1,000 quarts of soup a week to feed the hungry and homeless in Sussex County. Dunning has led 17 downstate soup kitchens, and helped start two new ones near Newport last year. Jusst Sooup has served more than 55,000 meals, and assisted at least 5,000 homeless people since 2007.

The press loves her. And why wouldn’t we? About the time Dunning was receiving her Jefferson Award in Delaware, People Magazine was naming her a “Hero in Hard Times.” For serving the hungry here at home, she’s earned the ink.

This isn’t just about soup, as the name suggests. This is a ministry that draws its inspiration from John 21:17 If you love me, then feed my sheep.

“I wouldn’t have called me,” says Dunning. “But God called me.”

If you want to keep up with Dunning, you’d have to wear your running shoes. The reverend sets up shop at Rehoboth Presbyterian Church Monday and Thursday mornings, where she serves soup, sandwiches, apples and iced tea. On Tuesdays, she works at Brandywine Counseling in Georgetown. Sometimes she’ll visit the Home of the Brave, a home for veterans, located south of Milford.

Dunning, a graduate of the Sussex County School of Theology, does more than ladle soup. She dispenses prayers, hugs and smiles, too. She helps people write their names, put on their socks, find temporary housing and fill prescriptions.

“For me, it’s an honor,” Dunning says. “The more I do this, the more I desire to do this.”

People can freshen up in her donated motor home that she parks outside the door wherever she visits. Named Beulah after Dunning’s mother, the vehicle is a fixture in local Christmas parades.

The community supports Dunning’s mission. People donate toiletries. Local churches make sandwiches. Kickin’ Chicken and Domino’s Pizza donate food, as do the residents of Independence, a local development. Shore Taxes and AAA Storage help out, too. “The people of this community are absolutely wonderful to Jusst Sooup,” she says.

Music plays an important role in the ministry. Dunning’s son, Brooks, welcomes visitors by playing reggae and gospel music from just outside the dining room door. Local musicians created a CD called “Just Soup.” The CD, which raises money for the ministry, features icons like Keith Mack and Ed Shockley. Its cover boasts a photo of Dunning with her arms stretched to the heavens. (The CD is available at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach.)

“There are some people who feel that all hope is gone,” says Dunning. “People need to know someone cares.”

Dunning rises before 2 a.m. most days to make soup in her Lewes home. She wakes her husband, Ken, at 3:15 a.m. They arrive at church by 5:45 a.m. Ken, a quiet man who likes a good (or bad) joke, is often at some soup kitchen well before dawn.

Ken, like his wife, is a workhorse. When he’s finished at the soup kitchens, he starts his full-time job for a utilities company. He works three jobs, in fact, and would work a fourth to support his wife. The couple has been married for 40 years. And they’ve been through some seriously hard times.

Ken and Dale Dunning know what it’s like to lose a home to foreclosure, because they’ve lost theirs. That’s why their compassion feels sincere. They see themselves in the people they serve. “Everyone deserves to be treated with respect,” she says.

The only time Dunning is anything but positive is when she thinks of the way people treat the unfortunate among us. “People tend to look down on them,” she says. “What right do I have to humiliate anyone? How can I say I’m better than she is? No one deserves to be disrespected like that.”

Jusst Sooup is a family affair, and the Dunnings could not do what they do without stalwart volunteers.

Marion Forman, 84, is one of them. “It just breaks your heart when you have a nice home and you see these people wandering around with nothing,” she says.

Demand is up for Dunning’s services. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Delaware increased from 933 homeless people to 1,130 people statewide—about a 21 percent increase—between 2008 and 2009. Those stats reflect the impact of the economic downturn. Dunning knows there are more homeless people in Sussex County than she can help. They sleep in cars or in the woods.

In December, Schell Brothers, a local developer, donated six acres of land near Harbeson to Jusst Sooup. It’s a cornfield now, but Dunning hopes to establish her own building there soon, complete with a commercial kitchen, chapel and garden. Its name will be The Jusst Sooup Ranch.

Dunning’s smile widens when she talks about the building. The ideas burst from her like water over a dam. “We can have a mega-garden and a mega-kitchen,” she says. “There are a lot of things I cannot do, but I’m going to try real hard to put a dent in hunger.”

People in need can stay at the Dunnings’ ranch temporarily. If they’re unemployed, they can mow grass or tend the garden or wash dishes to earn a few bucks. If they’re alcoholics, they get rides to AA meetings.

“We’re going to be a family,” Dunning says. “If we all pull together, it will not be so hard on anyone. I know the Lord did not bless me with six acres of land for it to just sit there.”

Chris Schell of Schell Brothers calls Dunning “one of those rare people who truly puts the needs of others before her own,” he says. “Her unselfish labor of love has been life changing for people right here in the local community.”

The Dunnings would rather feed somebody else before themselves, Schell adds. “They’ve been helping people for over 15 years and they deserve a little help from the community.”

So, yes: It started with a hot plate. But it grew to be so much more. “I never thought it would get this big,” says Dunning. “I thought I would just keep carrying around that little pot.”
 

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January 2018

Flakey, decadent, and oh so sweet-- What better way to celebrate National Pie Day than with a fresh baked pie from Linvilla Orchards. All pies will be $5 off the entire weekend. For over 40 years...

Cost: Varies

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Linvilla Orchards
137 W Knowlton Rd
Media, PA  19063
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January 2 – 27 Winter Group Show A rotating group show featuring an eclectic mix of artwork including oil paintings, pastels, ornamental boxes, art glass and jewelry. Custom Framing and Gift...

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Telephone: 302-286-5704
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Hilton Wilmington/Christiana
100 Continental Dr.
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Telephone: 302.631.1551
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1101 Arch St
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Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 South Railroad Avenue
Wyoming, DE  19934
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Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc., Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore
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200 Water St.
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, DE  19801
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Cost: Varies

Where:
Linvilla Orchards
137 W Knowlton Rd
Media, PA  19063
View map »

More information

January 2 – 27 Winter Group Show A rotating group show featuring an eclectic mix of artwork including oil paintings, pastels, ornamental boxes, art glass and jewelry. Custom Framing and Gift...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: free

Where:
Coastal Audiology
32034 Long Neck Road
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Telephone: 302-316-0525
Website »

More information

Come join us in celebrating the mission work of the American Heart Association while raising funds to end cardiovascular disease. There will be a live and silent auction, served dinner with wine,...

Cost: $175.00

Where:
Chase Center on the Riverfront
Justinson Street
Wilmington , DE
View map »


Telephone: 302-286-5704
Contact Name: Denise Griffin
Website »

More information

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:     December 19, 2018   FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: Dave Ruffner Rehoboth Beach Film Society 107 Truitt Ave., Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 302-645-9095,...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
2nd and 3rd Streets
Wilmington, DE  19801


Sponsor: Notbybreadalone Outreach Ministries
Telephone: 442-0440
Contact Name: Ministers Wayne and Stephanie Dumpson
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Cost: Free

Where:
Wilmington Public Library
10 E. 10th St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Show glides through life of professional figure skater Randy Gardner with help from Tai Babilonia and Dorothy Hamill. Wilmington, DE—“It ain’t no Ice Capades,” Randy...

Where:
200 Water St.
Wilmington
, DE  19801
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Sponsor: Carolina Millard
Telephone: 302-594-1100, ext. 215

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January 2 – 27 Winter Group Show A rotating group show featuring an eclectic mix of artwork including oil paintings, pastels, ornamental boxes, art glass and jewelry. Custom Framing and Gift...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: free

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Seaford Audiology
24488 Sussex Highway, Suite 4
Seaford, DE  19973
View map »

More information

On January 22nd and 24th Coastal Audiology in Millsboro, DE will be providing FREE HEARING SCREENINGS and will have a visiting specialist explaining the LATEST in DIGITAL HEARING TECHNOLOGY! ...

Cost: free

Where:
Coastal Audiology
32034 Long Neck Road
Millsboro, DE  19966
View map »


Telephone: 302-316-0525
Website »

More information

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Cost: Varies

Where:
Linvilla Orchards
137 W Knowlton Rd
Media, PA  19063
View map »

More information

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Cost: $175.00

Where:
Chase Center on the Riverfront
Justinson Street
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View map »


Telephone: 302-286-5704
Contact Name: Denise Griffin
Website »

More information

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Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

Cost: $75.00

Where:
Cab Calloway School Theatre
100 N DuPont Rd
Wilmington, DE  19805
View map »


Sponsor: DE Theatre Co & Cab Calloway Fund
Telephone: 302-547-4543
Contact Name: Kelly Furman
Website »

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Show glides through life of professional figure skater Randy Gardner with help from Tai Babilonia and Dorothy Hamill. Wilmington, DE—“It ain’t no Ice Capades,” Randy...

Where:
200 Water St.
Wilmington
, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Carolina Millard
Telephone: 302-594-1100, ext. 215

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On January 22nd and 24th Coastal Audiology in Millsboro, DE will be providing FREE HEARING SCREENINGS and will have a visiting specialist explaining the LATEST in DIGITAL HEARING TECHNOLOGY! ...

Cost: free

Where:
Coastal Audiology
32034 Long Neck Road
Millsboro, DE  19966
View map »


Telephone: 302-316-0525
Website »

More information

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Cost: free

Where:
Seaford Audiology
24488 Sussex Highway, Suite 4
Seaford, DE  19973
View map »

More information

January 2 – 27 Winter Group Show A rotating group show featuring an eclectic mix of artwork including oil paintings, pastels, ornamental boxes, art glass and jewelry. Custom Framing and Gift...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Come join us in celebrating the mission work of the American Heart Association while raising funds to end cardiovascular disease. There will be a live and silent auction, served dinner with wine,...

Cost: $175.00

Where:
Chase Center on the Riverfront
Justinson Street
Wilmington , DE
View map »


Telephone: 302-286-5704
Contact Name: Denise Griffin
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE

Where:
Faith Victory Christian Center
301 Commonwealth Avenue
Claymont, DE  19703
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Sponsor: Faith Victory Christian Center
Telephone: 302.354.6726
Contact Name: Alvin Walker
Website »

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Join DCH, New Castle Conservation District staff, and Delaware Cooperative Extension to grow and learn together through an entire season! Classes are designed for a beginner, but seasoned gardeners...

Cost: $20 members; $30 non-members

Where:
Delaware Center for Horticulture
1810 N. Dupont Street
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Sponsor: Delaware Center for Horticulture
Telephone: (302) 658-6262
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Website »

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Cost: UDBG Friends: $95/series or $35/class; Nonmembers: $125/series or $45/class

Where:
132 Townsend Hall on UD's South Campus
531 South College Avenue
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: University of Delaware Botanic Gardens
Telephone: (302) 831-4188
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Cost: Free

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Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark
420 Willa Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: UUFN
Telephone: 302.368.2984
Contact Name: Richard Field
Website »

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The first major retrospective exhibition of John Sloan’s work since 1988, An American Journey explores all facets of the artist’s long career: his work as an illustrator in Philadelphia, his...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

More information

Show glides through life of professional figure skater Randy Gardner with help from Tai Babilonia and Dorothy Hamill. Wilmington, DE—“It ain’t no Ice Capades,” Randy...

Where:
200 Water St.
Wilmington
, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Carolina Millard
Telephone: 302-594-1100, ext. 215

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 2 – 27 Winter Group Show A rotating group show featuring an eclectic mix of artwork including oil paintings, pastels, ornamental boxes, art glass and jewelry. Custom Framing and Gift...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

On January 23rd, 25th, and 26th Seaford Audiology in Seaford, DE will be providing FREE HEARING SCREENINGS and will have a visiting specialist explaining the LATEST in DIGITAL HEARING TECHNOLOGY! ...

Cost: free

Where:
Seaford Audiology
24488 Sussex Highway, Suite 4
Seaford, DE  19973
View map »

More information

Come join us in celebrating the mission work of the American Heart Association while raising funds to end cardiovascular disease. There will be a live and silent auction, served dinner with wine,...

Cost: $175.00

Where:
Chase Center on the Riverfront
Justinson Street
Wilmington , DE
View map »


Telephone: 302-286-5704
Contact Name: Denise Griffin
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
View map »


Telephone: 302-629-6611 x2428

More information

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Cost: $10.00 on Thursday; no cost on Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Where:
Hockessin Memorial Hall
610 Yorklyn Road
Hockessin, DE  19707
View map »


Website »

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Cost: $90 per person

Where:
University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Sponsor: University and Whist Club
Telephone: 302-658-5125

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Cost: 75.00 per person, plus service fee

Where:
Harry's Savoy Ballroom
2020 Naamans Road
Wilmington, DE  19810
View map »


Sponsor: Harry's Hospitality Group
Telephone: 302-475-3000
Contact Name: Riley Quinn
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More information

The first major retrospective exhibition of John Sloan’s work since 1988, An American Journey explores all facets of the artist’s long career: his work as an illustrator in Philadelphia, his...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

More information

Show glides through life of professional figure skater Randy Gardner with help from Tai Babilonia and Dorothy Hamill. Wilmington, DE—“It ain’t no Ice Capades,” Randy...

Where:
200 Water St.
Wilmington
, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Carolina Millard
Telephone: 302-594-1100, ext. 215

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On January 23rd, 25th, and 26th Seaford Audiology in Seaford, DE will be providing FREE HEARING SCREENINGS and will have a visiting specialist explaining the LATEST in DIGITAL HEARING TECHNOLOGY! ...

Cost: free

Where:
Seaford Audiology
24488 Sussex Highway, Suite 4
Seaford, DE  19973
View map »

More information

January 2 – 27 Winter Group Show A rotating group show featuring an eclectic mix of artwork including oil paintings, pastels, ornamental boxes, art glass and jewelry. Custom Framing and Gift...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free to Members, $5 per child and one adult free for Non-Members

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

More information

Come join us in celebrating the mission work of the American Heart Association while raising funds to end cardiovascular disease. There will be a live and silent auction, served dinner with wine,...

Cost: $175.00

Where:
Chase Center on the Riverfront
Justinson Street
Wilmington , DE
View map »


Telephone: 302-286-5704
Contact Name: Denise Griffin
Website »

More information

More than 50,000 books for sale!  Thursday, 1/26 is for Friends members only ($10 memberships available at the door).  Friday from 9-9; Saturday from 9-5.  On Sunday (9-3), we supply and you...

Cost: $10.00 on Thursday; no cost on Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Where:
Hockessin Memorial Hall
610 Yorklyn Road
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $40 per adult

Where:
Fair Hill NRMA, ED Walls Bldg
300 Tawes Drive
off 273 West of Newark
Elkton, MD  21921
View map »


Sponsor: Cecil Land Trust
Telephone: 410-441-3717
Contact Name: Beth Burnam
Website »

More information

Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
View map »


Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
Website »

More information

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Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-1172
Website »

More information

Show glides through life of professional figure skater Randy Gardner with help from Tai Babilonia and Dorothy Hamill. Wilmington, DE—“It ain’t no Ice Capades,” Randy...

Where:
200 Water St.
Wilmington
, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Carolina Millard
Telephone: 302-594-1100, ext. 215

More information

The first major retrospective exhibition of John Sloan’s work since 1988, An American Journey explores all facets of the artist’s long career: his work as an illustrator in Philadelphia, his...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 2 – 27 Winter Group Show A rotating group show featuring an eclectic mix of artwork including oil paintings, pastels, ornamental boxes, art glass and jewelry. Custom Framing and Gift...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Come join us in celebrating the mission work of the American Heart Association while raising funds to end cardiovascular disease. There will be a live and silent auction, served dinner with wine,...

Cost: $175.00

Where:
Chase Center on the Riverfront
Justinson Street
Wilmington , DE
View map »


Telephone: 302-286-5704
Contact Name: Denise Griffin
Website »

More information

Learn about the importance of foundations and structural loads as you build a trophy that supports a ball. Visitors of all ages are invited to discover solutions to science and engineering...

Cost: Free with admission; Adults: $14, Children 6-14: $5, Children 5 and under: Free

Where:
Hagley Museum and Library
200 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »

More information

More than 50,000 books for sale!  Thursday, 1/26 is for Friends members only ($10 memberships available at the door).  Friday from 9-9; Saturday from 9-5.  On Sunday (9-3), we supply and you...

Cost: $10.00 on Thursday; no cost on Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Where:
Hockessin Memorial Hall
610 Yorklyn Road
Hockessin, DE  19707
View map »


Website »

More information

Rosemary Bailey from San Diego, California is an engaging popular artist in her premier performance at the Dickinson Theatre Organ Society.  She is the consummate musician whose playing ability...

Cost: $20 Adults, $10 Students, Groups Call 302-995-2603

Where:
John Dickinson High School
1801 Miltown Road
Wilmington, DE  19808
View map »


Sponsor: Dickinson Theatre Organ Society
Telephone: 302-995-2603
Contact Name: Bob Dilworth
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The new year brings us "Disaster!" - the epic disaster movie musical spoof, chock full of everyone’s favorite 70’s pop songs.  Shows are at 8pm on January 26 and 27, and February 2 and 3. ...

Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-1172
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This January, ’70s soul crooners The O’Jays, will bring their favorite hits to Philadelphia. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers will entertain fans with their famous “Philly Soul” sound in the...

Cost: $69-$89

Where:
SugarHouse Casino
1001 N. Delaware Ave
Philadelphia, PA  19125
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The first major retrospective exhibition of John Sloan’s work since 1988, An American Journey explores all facets of the artist’s long career: his work as an illustrator in Philadelphia, his...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Show glides through life of professional figure skater Randy Gardner with help from Tai Babilonia and Dorothy Hamill. Wilmington, DE—“It ain’t no Ice Capades,” Randy...

Where:
200 Water St.
Wilmington
, DE  19801
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Sponsor: Carolina Millard
Telephone: 302-594-1100, ext. 215

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