50 Things to Do Around Delaware this July
From Independence Day celebrations to the state fair, here are the events to check out this month.
Photo courtesy of the Delaware State Fair
Week of July 1-7
Rehoboth Beach Fireworks
7/3 • Rehoboth Beach
If you’re a “still wearing my bathing suit on the boardwalk after sundown” kind of person, you are our kind of person. Particularly on July 3, when leaving Rehoboth Beach prior to the pyrotechnic throw-down might not be the wisest choice. Just grab some primo sand real estate and stay a while, friend. More than 80,000 folks will gather on the boards and shoreline for the spectacular, slated for 9:15 p.m. start—but, weather dependent, it might start as early as 8 p.m. Check out the Funsters concert at the Bandstand, too.
Bethany July 4 Celebration
7/4 • Bethany Beach
Happy Birthday, America! Don’t worry, this is not a private party—Bethany Beach invites you on down for a parade, a blueberry pie-eating contest, a horseshoe-throwing contest, music and fireworks. Go big or go home in Bethany.
Dover July 4 Celebration
7/4 • Dover
Listen, you don’t have to be at the beach to enjoy one heck of a light show. Why not try the capital city this year? Head to downtown Dover for a day of tours, events, food, fun, music, a parade and a grand fireworks display.
Lewes Old-Fashioned July 4
7/4 • Lewes
Join in old-fashioned children’s games and activities on Second Street before the canal’s decorated boat parade and downtown’s family-friendly Doo-Dah Parade. Stay for the big-bang fireworks, too. Basically, go “fourth” and live your best summer life in Lewes. The day starts at 9 a.m. and goes until the last firework fizzles.
Newark July 4 Fireworks and Liberty Day
7/4 • Newark
Newark gets in on the “summabration” with entertainment, activities and fireworks at the University of Delaware Athletic Complex. While Newark is a big fan of your fur babies, please leave them at home. This party starts at 6 p.m.
7/5-7/26 • Wilmington
Artist Katie Lillard reckons with her dual sides—artist, parent—like a mother in this solo show in the Mezzanine Gallery.
"The Jungle Book"
7/6 • Selbyville
If you’ve ever taken one look at your kid and thought, “You were raised in the wild,” then have we got the show for you. A lost little is found in the jungle and raised by Akela the wolf and Baloo the bear. Hey, it takes a village. Or, in this case, a jungle. Catch Mowgli’s story under the big blue sky on the Freeman Stage in Selbyville. PS: Bring your own chair. Curtains up at 10 a.m.
Week of July 8-14
Rehoboth Art League Cottage Tour
7/9-10 • Rehoboth Beach
Get a behind-the-scenes look (you know you’re curious) at some of the most distinctive homes and gardens in the Rehoboth Beach area. Jump on the Jolly Trolley for the 70th anniversary year of this self-paced tour.
Family Fun Night at the Zoo
7/10 • Wilmington
Enjoy special evening hours—and even special-er activities—while you spy what those sneaky animals are up to when the zoo is usually closed. 93.7 WSTW spinning tunes to shake your tailfeathers and $1 hot dogs = a win for the whole crew.
Museum Explorers Family Workshop
7/11, 7/18, 7/25 • Chadds Ford, Pa.
You’ll want to spend Thursdays in July at Brandywine River Museum of Art with your whole crew. Choose from fun workshops like “Nifty Nature,” “Creative Characters” and “Fantastic Journeys.” Two session per day, offered at 10 and 11 a.m.
Concerts (And Movies!) by the Canal
7/11-8/29 • Lewes
Alternating Thursday nights at Lewes Canalfront Park are sweet summer magic: the music starts at 7 p.m., or the movie at 8 p.m. On tap for July: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (July 11), Mike Hines and the Look (July 18 concert) and “The Incredibles 2” (July 25). You bring the popcorn and the dancing shoes.
Delaware Shakespeare Festival
7/12-28 • Wilmington
We could do worse than drink down all unkindness, friends. And where better to do it than under the stars in Rockwood Park at the Delaware Shakespeare Festival? Pack the blankies, the chairs and the snacks for “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” Shakespeare’s ridiculously bold comedy of wooing and trickery. With two weeks of shows, you’ve got zero excuse to not be there.
Lewes Summer Craft Fair
7/13 • Lewes
Need a break from the ocean? Head to Lewes for the annual summer craft show. More than 60 talented artisans from across Delmarva and the Eastern Shore descend on Lewes to showcase a variety of media, ranging from metalwork to woodworking. Enjoy delicious food, cool treats and fun for all at the Historic Campus downtown at Second and Shipcarpenter.
7/13 • Seaford
Want to go a-floatin on the Nanticoke in Seaford? Who wouldn’t—it’s $1 per float, y’all. Pick out the coolest raft you can find for the Float In—may we suggest a giant donut or unicorn, perhaps?—at Seaford’s Riverfest, a near perfect festival choice for a slice of summertime Americana. This year’s theme is Mardi Gras, but Bourbon Street this ain’t—bring your beads, but remember this is a family joint. By the way, the Float In is but one event in a packed day in Seaford, so plan appropriately.
Science Saturday: Hip Optics
7/13 • Wilmington
It sounds nuts, but the geniuses over at Hagley have tamed some magic and wizardry that will allow your littles to create their own light maze. Yes—your children, after learning a bit about how optics work, will learn how to manipulate light and bend it to their will. Now, on behalf of the parents of Delaware, I implore you, dear Hagley, can you create this program for us, too? As in, can you teach us how to make daylight break just a little later to dodge 5 a.m. wakeups? Please? Get lit 1 to 4 p.m. at Hagley.
The White Party
7/13 • Selbyville
It’s only the most exclusive party at the beach, with a pretty specific dress code: come in your most fabulous white beach-chic. There’ll be dancing and drinking and dining under the stars. Party barefoot at the Freeman Stage in Selbyville to benefit the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation.
7/13-8/25 • Wilmington
This classic Rogers and Hammerstein musical, set on an island during World War II, tells the enduring tale of an American nurse forced to choose between her own prejudice and her love of a French plantation owner. A perfect blend of romance and humor, the Candlelight Theatre stage sizzles with this perfect blend of romance and humor. Hey, it didn’t win 10 Tonys for nothin'.
7/14 • Kennett Square, Pa.
Straight from the musical foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Love Canon, out of Charlottesville, Virginia, brings a raucous blend of bluegrass to the masses this summer at Longwood Garden’s Orchard. Their most recent release, “Cover Story,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard bluegrass chart with its ingenious acoustic renditions of top hits from the ’80s and ’90s. Using bluegrass instrumentation to imitate processed electronic sounds that you know so well, they’ve achieved a sonic effect that is somehow new and different, yet still pays satisfying homage to the jams you know so well. PS: Bring your own chair/blanket.
Super Hero Express
7/14 • Wilmington
Can you say chugga-chugga Captain Marvel? The Wilmington & Western Railroad hosts the Super Hero Express—ride the train with your biggest comic book crushes. This 90-minute ride lets you get up close and personal with your superhero pals, and you’re encourage to come dressed as your fave, too. And don’t worry, if something happens to the train, we’ve got a girl for that. Oh, there’ll be some guys, too.
Week of July 15-21
Blues Traveler and G. Love
7/16 • Selbyville
If ever there was a trio tailor-made for an under-the-stars, summer vibe concert, it’s this one. Get your jam funk on with moe., check off your “see a legend live” summer bucket list item with the 10 million-album selling Blues Traveler, and revel in the sultry stew that is Philadelphia funk and soul master G. Love. Now that is some special sauce. Selbyville will be rockin’ at 5 p.m.
Family Story Time
7/16, 7/23, 7/30 • Kennett Square, Pa.
While we don’t think anyone would want a break from all the beautiful flowers at Longwood, Tuesdays in July offer family fun in the form of story time. Meet us, criss-cross applesauce, in the Lookout Loft Treehouse starting at 10 a.m. PS: Never been to Longwood with a curious toddler in the summer? We suggest a change of clothes—those splash fountains are savage.
Delaware State Fair
7/18-27 • Harrington
There will be monster trucks and monster jams at the entertainment juggernaut that is the Delaware State Fair. Concerts and harness racing and a demolition derby—how’d they manage to fit it all in one week? (Pssst, they don’t. It’s actually 10 days). If you’ve never been, this is the year: the fair turns 100, and is celebrating appropriately: Gladys Knight, Jake Owen, Reba McEntire, Sugarland…we suggest sleeping over for the entire two weeks so you don’t miss a thing. Overwhelmed? Head to the website and plan your trip. See you at the fair!
7/20 • Selbyville
Cascading Carlos juggles fire. Fire. Is that what the kids mean when they say something is “lit?” We’re not sure, but bring your kids and ask them. See his hot, hot show in Bayside on the Freeman Stage. A 10 a.m. start all but guarantees a beachside nap later. You’re welcome.
7/20 • Wilmington
This celebration of the music and life of Bob Marley jams inside and outside The Queen. Pop a Red Stripe, let the world slip away and vibe to the legend. Get Marley fever in Wilmington.
Photo by John R. Schoonover
29th Diamond State Masters Regatta
7/20-21 • Middletown
It’s no surprise the Howard M. Smith Diamond State Masters Regatta, sponsored by the Wilmington Rowing Center, is one of the East Coast’s premier regattas. This two-day event on Noxontown Pond on the pastoral campus of St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, makes for a fantastic weekend of watching and competing. Named after a late founding board member of WRC, the event includes both sculling and sweep competions in 64 heats over July 20-21.
Turks Head Music Festival
7/21 • West Chester
This day-long event offers performances by local bands on two stages, between 70 and 90 arts and craft vendors, food and kids’ activities at Everhart Park in West Chester, Pennsylvania. From kaleidoscope folk, soul, rap poet, Nigerian-influenced jazz to rock, if you don’t hear something you like, we think you might have leftover 4th of July cotton in your ears.
Week of July 22-28
7/23 • Selbyville
The blockbuster Broadway hit bursts with humor, romance, high-energy dancing, and some of the greatest songs in musical theater history. The romantic and comic exploits of Dolly Gallagher-Levi, turn-of-the-century matchmaker and “woman who arranges things”—aka the OG matron of match.com—are certain to thrill and entertain audiences again and again. It gets the summa-fied treatment on the Freeman Stage in Selbyville. BYOC: chair and children (the under 12 set is free!).
Beach and Bay Cottage Tour
7/24-25 • Bethany Beach
If you want to walk your flip-flopped feet over someone else’s tongue-and-groove engineered eucalyptus bamboo floors, may we suggest the Beach and Bay Cottage Tour? This Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island institution, which benefits the Friends of South Coastal Library, lets you get up close and personal with multiple homes, from cozy cottages to bayfront behemoths. Be a good guest, though, and mind the sand.
XPoNential Music Festival
7/26-28 • Camden
We think New Jersey is done being salty at us about that whole bass-thumping-across-the-river thing, (again, our bad), so we are welcome to crash the XPoNential Music Festival. This three-day riverfront riot features Hozier, Blondie, Elvis Costello, Guster (wassup, ’90s babies), Low Cut Connie, Japanese Breakfast and more. If you’re one of those parents who packs up the kids for a music fest—by the way, did we mention you are crushing it?—then hang at the Children’s Garden between sets. The party starts at the BB&T Pavilion on Friday and keeps goin till Sunday.
Railroad Summer Camp
7/30 • Wilmington
So you wanna be a conductor? Check out this event at the Wilmington & Western Railroad. The day-long program teaches kids 9-13 all about workin’ on the railroad, all the live-long day. Don’t forget your overalls. Camp starts at 9 and the final train is at 4.
Throughout the month
Thru. 8/2 • Newark
This month it’s all about Newark Arts Alliance members.
"Spirit Revealed: New Works by Aaron Paskins"
Thru. 8/9 • Dover
Aaron Paskins may be a local Dover sculptor, but he’s been making some national noise with his African figures and imagery, which utilize unexpected materials to craft complex pieces that speak to the rich narrative of indigenous tribes with a twist of the fantastical. Celebrate his first solo exhibition at the Biggs.
Lewes Summer Music
Thru. 8/27 • Lewes
From concert bands to rock bands, Tuesday nights at Stango Park in Lewes are for music lovers.
Hagley Bike & Hike
Thru. 8/28 • Wilmington
Bike or stroll through the Hagley Museum grounds on Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. Pack up your “pick-a-nick” basket or grab a bite at the Belin House Organic Cafe. July theme nights include treats from Woodside Creamery and Dogfish Head, and special nights for your pooch to ride shotgun, too.
Wednesdays at The Whist
Thru. 8/28 • Wilmington
Now is your chance to experience exceptional cuisine at The University and Whist Club, located at the historic Tilton Mansion. The private city dining club in Wilmington is inviting non-members to dine for lunch, dinner or enjoy drinks at the bar every Wednesday in July and August. The club is undergoing several renovations, including a recent overhaul of its ballroom. The club will be opening a carriage house at the end of the summer, which will serve as an event and wedding space (we hear a beer garden is in the works). Reservations for lunch and dinner are required—call 658-5125 for more information.
Milton Concert Series
Thru. 8/31 • Milton
Enjoy free live music (bring a chair) in Milton Memorial Park every Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Bellevue Concert Series
Thru. 9/1 • Wilmington
Make your way to Bellevue State Park on Sunday and Thursday nights for blues, jazz, swing and big band music. Don’t forget the picnic basket. Or your favorite blankie.
Bethany Farmers Market
Thru. 9/1 • Bethany Beach
Stroll through the market on Sundays from 8 a.m. to noon at Garfield Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue.
"Wicked Plants: The Exhibit"
Thru. 9/2 • Wilmington
Inspired by author Amy Stewart’s best-selling book “Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother and other Botanical Atrocities,” this fun-filled, family-friendly traveling exhibit gives visitors a safe, hands-on experience with some of the world’s most diabolical botanicals. Two- and three-dimensional interactives fill a Victorian-era ramshackle home, where visitors travel from room to room and learn about various poisonous plants that may be lurking in their homes and backyards—Audrey II, is that you? History, medicine, science, legend and lore are brought together to present a treasure trove of bloodcurdling botany.
"Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago"
Thru. 9/8 • Wilmington
This show presents 21st-century art by artists with roots in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Curaçao, Aruba, St. Maarten, St. Martin, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Trinidad, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Barbados, and St. Vincent. You’ll find contemporary painting, installation art, sculpture, photography, video, and performance by more than 60 artists from the islands of the Caribbean.
"N.C. Wyeth: New Perspectives"
Thru. 9/15 • Chadds Ford, Pa.
Well known during the 20th century for bold, imaginative work that brought new characterizations to classic stories like “Treasure Island” and “The Boy’s King Arthur,” N. C. Wyeth pursued parallel interests in painting landscapes, seascapes, portraits, still lifes, murals, and advertising images throughout his career. “N. C. Wyeth: New Perspectives” will be the first exhibition to examine in depth the entirety of Wyeth’s oeuvre, repositioning him within the greater context of early 20th century American visual culture. See it at the N.C. Wyeth epicenter: The Brandywine River Museum of Art. .
Festival of Fountains
Thru. 9/29 • Kennett Square, Pa.
If you think Longwood Gardens is magical during the day, just you wait until you see what tricks they have up their sleeves for when the stars come out. This summer, get drenched in fireworks and dancing water with an array of fancy fountain work. Check out six special evenings of Fireworks & Fountain shows—this year, live voting chooses the theme of the evening—and of course, every weekend throughout the season, train your peepers on the Illuminated Fountain Performances, with themes like “The Planets,” “The Beatles” and “A Night at the Movies.” Give your propers to Pierre S. du Pont, whose original vision is jazzed up with a spectacular dose of magic at Longwood.
Historic Lewes Farmers Market
Thru. 9/28 • Lewes
This producer-only farmers market provides fresh, local foods every Saturday 8 a.m.-noon at George H.P. Smith Park
Rehoboth Farmers Market
Thru. October • Rehoboth Beach
More than 30 vendors sell vegetables, fruit, cheeses, meats, prepared foods, baked goods, flowers and all kinds of goodies at Grove Park every Tuesday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
"Trash Talk: History in Assemblage"
Thru. 11/10 • Wilmington
This exhibit explores the ephemeral and oftentimes overlooked stuff we give significance to and collect. Working in the modern mode of assemblage inspired by twentieth-century artists such as John Chamberlain, Pablo Picasso, and Marcel Duchamp, Baltimore artist Jim Condron follows the tradition of using found and unconventional materials.
"Costuming the Crown"
Thru. 1/5/20 • Wilmington
There is nowhere else on the planet (literally!) except Wilmington where you can check out 40 iconic costumes worn by the actors and actresses of the Emmy-Award Winning Netflix series “The Crown.” Coronation gowns and travel jackets and ball gowns, oh my. While they sound like the crown jewels, check out the little sparkly things in between the jaw-dropping clothes, like the show’s props, costume designer sketches and real-life snippets of royal life. We’ve been there—you could spend a day being dazzled by the wedding gowns alone.
"Follies: Architectural Whimsy in the Garden"
Thru. 1/5/20 • Wilmington
There’s no better time than sweet summer to step into the imaginative and entertaining world of garden follies at Winterthur. Explore a fantastic display of contemporary and historic architectural features—from a Gothic-inspired tower to American summerhouses to a faerie cottage and more—all set within the majestic beauty of Henry Francis du Pont’s 60-acre garden. This irresistible garden exhibition, featuring thirteen unique vignettes, offers a one-of-a-kind outdoor experience with a twist of fun.
Glory of Stories
On going • Wilmington
Each Friday get the little ones some culture. Read a children’s book, take a trip through the galleries and do a fun art project with your preschoolers at the Delaware Art Museum.
Ending this month
Members’ Fine Craft Art Exhibition
Thru. 7/21 • Rehoboth
This exhibition showcases a wide variety of imaginative fine arts that are unique, whimsical and functional, including baskets, ceramics, fiber, glass, handmade paper, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media and wood. Get artsy at the beach at the Rehoboth Art League.
Thru. 7/31 • Ocean View
You’re already at the beach, so pop in Gallery One in Ocean View for some culture (and to give those tan lines a break). This month’s theme is “Bathing Beauties,” but please, come dressed appropriately.
Summer Group Show
Thru. 7/31 • Greenville
The Station Gallery puts on its summer group show with work by new artists and gallery faves. Bonus: the annual framing sale is on, too.