Casablanca Remains a Destination for Delicious Moroccan Fare

The New Castle restaurant returns with blessedly few changes.



Roasted chicken in lemon sauce.//Luis Javy Diaz

 

I was late to the party at Casablanca. It had operated for well over 20 years when I finally visited, and truth be told, I might never have gone if not for the urging of my in-laws, out-of-towners who had enjoyed a couple memorable experiences there with local friends. My first evening there proved memorable, indeed—great food, great entertainment, great company—and I promised myself to put it at the top of my list of places to take friends for a fun night out.

But before a next visit ever happened, Casablanca closed, the victim of two fires a day apart. The building, with its distinctive onion dome on the roof, sat vacant so long, it seemed to be the end of one of the state’s truly unique places.

Then came good news: Owner Riyah Al-Baroki would reopen the restaurant. It took longer than planned, but Casablanca returned in early March. So the next visit has happened, and it has revealed more good news: Except for the new decor—still classically Moroccan—nothing has changed.

Authentic Moroccan decor.//Luis Javy Diaz

Despite the cavernous feeling of the large, open room, dining at Casablanca is an intimate experience of a different kind. Even those who know nothing else about the place seem to have heard that diners eat with pieces of pita—utensils are never offered—and that everyone shares from the same platter. So when Al-Baroki asked, “You don’t mind if I wash your hands?” shortly after seating us, we welcomed the ritual pouring of warm rosewater as a soothing start to the evening, as well as a vestige of hygiene from another time and place.

The dining areas are arranged as clusters of four low tables, each surrounded by a banquette and lush pillows on two sides, low stools on the other. On busy nights, you dine almost knee-to-knee with your neighbors, so the experience feels more like a family party than an evening at a restaurant.

Which is the intent. The menu features the best of what Al-Baroki describes as the seven courses his family would choose for a special dinner. Service begins with three salads presented on an ornate platter and a pile of fresh pita. The roasted carrots were mildly tart with vinegar and lemon. The tomato-cucumber salad offered a taste of warmer weather to come. The roasted eggplant was rich with tomato sauce and olive oil.

Dinner starts with a trio of delicious salads.//Luis Javy Diaz

Next comes a bastilla—a personal favorite—a small pie dense with lightly seasoned chicken and egg baked in puff pastry and topped with slices of almond. A dusting of powdered sugar and cinnamon creates a contrast of sweet and savory. The pastry was a flaky delight.

Choose your next course: either a chicken roasted in spicy cumin sauce or with lemon. We chose the latter, and I was reminded of what stood out about my previous dinner at Casablanca: the perfect marriage of lemon, onion, garlic, parsley and ginger in the sauce and, most memorable, chicken more tender and moist than I have ever eaten. If I could roast a bird like that, I would stop eating out.

Diners are offered one more choice (except your drink): a next course of beef shish kebabs or lamb tagine with honey and almonds. We chose the lamb, generous chunks served on the bone. As with the chicken, it was amazingly moist and tender, but the drizzle of honey did little to tame the gamey edge of the meat. That edge was a surprise. Would that prevent me from ordering again? It would not.

Dinner continues with a large dish of steaming couscous with cubes of carrot and potato, olives and chickpeas, pieces of chicken and plump raisins. It was delicious and warming, but be warned: By this point, those with normal appetites may feel near bursting.

From left: Couscous with potatoes, vegetables and chicken; hot mint tea with sweet baklava.//Luis Javy Diaz

That’s OK. Take your time. No one is rushing to turn tables—the room seats more than 200—so you can relax. If you visit on a weekend, you can enjoy the belly dancer’s show while you rally for the final course of honey-drenched baklava and hot mint tea. And if you haven’t had enough, your table will be presented with a bowl of fresh fruit.

If you plan to dine solo, Al-Baroki offers a scaled-down meal. And he accommodates vegetarians. Dinner comes at a fixed price of $29 per person, which is the price of a single entrée at many restaurants. Not only is the food a bargain, but on the best of nights, the experience is priceless. 


4010 N. Dupont Hwy., New Castle, 652-5344, www.casablancade.com
PRICE: $29 fixed for a seven-course meal
RECOMMENDED: Chicken in lemon sauce

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January 2018

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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Learn how insects help us tackle everyday problems: they inspire new technologies, help detectives solve mysteries, and play an important role in our food industry. Enjoy hands-on activities,...

Cost: $8 for adults, $6 for children between 4 and 14, and free for children under 4 a

Where:
Hagley Library and Soda House
298 Buck Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Agilent Technologies
Telephone: 302-658-2400
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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
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Telephone: 302-286-5704
Contact Name: Denise Griffin
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On Sundays, we brunch. Imagine your best ever brunch experience. Now add some local flair, an award-winning culinary team, and a modernly chic ambiance in a brand new gastropub. On Sundays from...

Cost: varies

Where:
Hilton Wilmington/Christiana
100 Continental Dr.
Newark, DE  19713
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Sponsor: Market Kitchen & Bar
Telephone: 302.631.1551
Contact Name: Katie McNally
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Each month, adults and children can create art together and experiment with new materials, techniques, and themes in the Bank of America Education Wing Studios—no reservations required! This...

Cost: Free

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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The Philly Home Show will inspire your inner HGTV star at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from January 12-15 and 19-21. The show will feature highly-interactive exhibits...

Cost: 13

Where:
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA  19107
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Join us for in-depth conversations in the galleries, led by University of Delaware graduate student Kristen Nassif. Image: Spring Rain, 1912. John Sloan (1871–1951). Oil on canvas, 20 1/4 × 26...

Cost: Free

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Inspired by the Delaware Art Museum’s Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Collection of Pre-Raphaelite Art, collaborators Troy Richards and Knut Hybinette will develop a pop-up virtual reality (VR)...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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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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Founded in 1971, the Harmony Weavers Guild is dedicated to the making of cloth—a process involving time-consuming techniques. Created by hand, the works of art highlight attention to design...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Learn how insects help us tackle everyday problems: they inspire new technologies, help detectives solve mysteries, and play an important role in our food industry. Enjoy hands-on activities,...

Cost: $8 for adults, $6 for children between 4 and 14, and free for children under 4 a

Where:
Hagley Library and Soda House
298 Buck Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Agilent Technologies
Telephone: 302-658-2400
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

Celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the Museum in partnership with One Village Alliance and Raising Kings. Activities include gallery highlights, art making, mentorship...

Cost: Free; donations accepted

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

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The Philly Home Show will inspire your inner HGTV star at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from January 12-15 and 19-21. The show will feature highly-interactive exhibits...

Cost: 13

Where:
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA  19107
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The Lighthouse Inc., Church will be holding a revival themed "Broken and Spilled Out Glory Encounter". The revival will start on Monday January 15, 2018 at 7 pm and will run through...

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
Website »

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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
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

The Philly Home Show will inspire your inner HGTV star at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from January 12-15 and 19-21. The show will feature highly-interactive exhibits...

Cost: 13

Where:
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA  19107
View map »

More information

The Lighthouse Inc., Church will be holding a revival themed "Broken and Spilled Out Glory Encounter". The revival will start on Monday January 15, 2018 at 7 pm and will run through...

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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Do you want to learn how to make BEER soap? This is your chance! Join me for a fun and informative class @ Argilla Brewing Co. We will make soap from scratch, learn how to make a recipe, blend...

Cost: 45

Where:
Argilla Brewing Co
2667 Kirkwood Highway
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: Rocker Soaps
Telephone: 130-254-40391
Contact Name: Rachel
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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
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 »

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FREE COMMUNITY EVENT: MID-WEEK WORD REFRESHER Come join us at the Mid-Week Word Refresher every Wednesday at Faith Victory Christian Center from 11:00am - 12:00pm. Refreshments will be...

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
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The Philly Home Show will inspire your inner HGTV star at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from January 12-15 and 19-21. The show will feature highly-interactive exhibits...

Cost: 13

Where:
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA  19107
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Clearing the mind and learning to think not thinking is Zen awareness. Taking the appropriate action in this moment is Zen. Once you know this in your body, walking, standing, sitting down,...

Cost: Free

Where:
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
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Why not garden deliberately for the winter season? Bring together a succession of winter flowers for color and fragrance to create a dynamic scene against a backdrop of evergreens, colored stems,...

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
Contact Name: Valann Budischak
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The Lighthouse Inc., Church will be holding a revival themed "Broken and Spilled Out Glory Encounter". The revival will start on Monday January 15, 2018 at 7 pm and will run through...

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
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
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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

Nanticoke Health Services, in conjunction with CHEER and Care DE and the Manor House, will hold a Parkinson’s education and support group on Thursday, January 18 from 9:30 am to 11:00 am at the...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Manor House
1001 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-629-6611 x3838
Contact Name: Tara Trout

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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

The Philly Home Show will inspire your inner HGTV star at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from January 12-15 and 19-21. The show will feature highly-interactive exhibits...

Cost: 13

Where:
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA  19107
View map »

More information

Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services hosts lymphedema support groups on the third Thursday of each month from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm at the Seaford Library and Cultural Center located at 600 N. Market...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Seaford Library & Cultural Center
600 N. Market Street Extended
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-629-6224
Contact Name: Rob Donati
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Arts-n-Appetizers is hands on this month! UWC will be hosting a paint party Thursday, January 18th from 6-8PM. Tickets are $55 per person and include all painting materials and buffet dinner! This...

Cost: $55

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

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Dara Orenstein, from George Washington University, will lead this seminar which is free and open to the public. The seminar is based on a paper that is circulated in advance. Those planning to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hagley Library
298 Buck Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley's Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society
Telephone: 302-658-2400
Contact Name: Carol Lockman
Website »

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The Lighthouse Inc., Church will be holding a revival themed "Broken and Spilled Out Glory Encounter". The revival will start on Monday January 15, 2018 at 7 pm and will run through...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 South Railroad Avenue
Wyoming, DE  19934
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc., Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore
Website »

More information

Celebrate John Sloan with Mozart’s Divertimento in E-flat Major for String Trio (4th movement), selections from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (arranged by Heifitz), and Reynaldo Hahn’s Piano...

Cost: $30 for Members, $50 for Non-Members

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


Website »

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...

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

Glory of Stories introduces young visitors to art and the Museum through a story reading followed by an interactive tour of relevant works of art and a studio art project. This program encourages...

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

The Philly Home Show will inspire your inner HGTV star at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from January 12-15 and 19-21. The show will feature highly-interactive exhibits...

Cost: 13

Where:
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA  19107
View map »

More information

The Lighthouse Inc., Church will be holding a revival themed "Broken and Spilled Out Glory Encounter". The revival will start on Monday January 15, 2018 at 7 pm and will run through...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 South Railroad Avenue
Wyoming, DE  19934
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc., Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore
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

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

Dover Aglow International will be meeting on Saturday January 20, 2018 starting at 11 a.m.    The meeting will be featuring Ed Thomas, Mid-Atlantic Aglow, Anti-Human Trafficking...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 South Railroad Avenue
Wyoming, DE  19934
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc., Church
Telephone: 302-593-8711
Contact Name: Barbara Allsopp

More information

The Philly Home Show will inspire your inner HGTV star at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from January 12-15 and 19-21. The show will feature highly-interactive exhibits...

Cost: 13

Where:
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA  19107
View map »

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

The Lighthouse Inc., Church will be holding a revival themed "Broken and Spilled Out Glory Encounter". The revival will start on Monday January 15, 2018 at 7 pm and will run through...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 South Railroad Avenue
Wyoming, DE  19934
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc., Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore
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...
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