The Issue: Too Close for Horseshoes

Man and birds alike depend on the horseshoe crab in some way. When the crab's eggs begin to disappear, someone is going to suffer.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across Delaware Bay, some conch and eel fishermen are hanging up their traps, unsure how they’ll make money. Conch and eel make up 20 percent to 50 percent of a Delaware Bay fisherman’s annual income, yet there will be far fewer caught this year due to a two-year moratorium on harvesting conch and eel’s favorite snack—and a fisherman’s favorite bait: the horseshoe crab.

An estimated 15 million horseshoe crabs live in Delaware Bay, making it the world’s horseshoe crab hot spot. Visitors to Delaware and New Jersey often go home with a horseshoe crab collectible. But one group of visitors to Delaware who are dissatisfied with the number of crabs: migrating birds. One particular species, the red knot, borders on extinction. Many experts believe the bird’s decline is due to a shortage of horseshoe crabs.

The red knot winters in the southernmost tip of South America. It summers in the Arctic. Once a year, it stops for a few weeks in Delaware Bay, mostly to feast on horseshoe crab eggs, millions of which are deposited on the beaches during the spring spawning season. Some birds triple their weight by eating horseshoe crab eggs in order to maintain strength for the rest of their journey.

Years ago, hundreds of thousands of red knots flew over the East Coast, creating one of North America’s greatest natural spectacles. Ten years ago there were thought to be more than 50,000 red knots feasting on crab eggs. Now there are only 15,000, and the number continues to dwindle. Current estimates have the red knot extinct by 2010. And a few other migrating shorebirds—such as ruddy turnstones, semipalmated sandpipers and Hudsonian godwits—appear headed in the same direction, though at a much slower rate.

So what to do? Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary John Hughes decided a moratorium on horseshoe crab harvesting was the best idea. Yet birders and watermen argue over the strategy—and there are plenty of other opinions to go around. Millions in tourism dollars from birders are at stake.

A 2000 report to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection by wildlife-tourism advocate Fermata Inc. valued shorebird-dependent tourism on the New Jersey side of the Delaware Bay at $15.9 million to $34.3 million. “I would estimate that the financial benefit on the Delaware side to be of a similar magnitude, a combined total in the range of $30 million to $70 million annually,” says Nick DiPasquale, conservation chair at the Delaware Audubon Society and former secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources.

Delaware Tourism Office director Tim Morgan isn’t concerned about losing those dollars. “Nature tourism is a growing niche all across the country, and becoming a huge industry in Delaware,” he says. “The red knots are important to us, since this is the only place in the world that this happens. But it is not Delaware’s only birding opportunity.”

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2001 National Survey

of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, wildlife watching is the largest economic growth sector in outdoor recreation. Across the country, nearly $40 billion was spent on wildlife watching—a figure that has increased by more than 40 percent during the past 10 years. Of the nation’s 66 million wildlife watchers, 45 million of them are bird watchers. In 2001, birders spent $32 billion in retail stores, which generated $85 billion in overall economic impact and created more than 860,000 jobs.

When there is so much money at stake, there is bound to be disagreement, and when there is disagreement, there are lawsuits. The Delaware watermen filed suit against
DNREC in late December, claiming Hughes’ moratorium goes against DNREC’s recommendations to limit the horseshoe crab harvest to 100,000 males and delay it until the birds leave Delaware.

Several organizations, including the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Delaware Shellfish Advisory Council, support a male-only harvest. According to Rick Robins of Chesapeake Bay Packing, the voice of the watermen, “The male-only harvest strategy was designed to maximize egg availability for migratory shorebirds while allowing Delaware fishermen to harvest less than 1 percent of the estimated population of male horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay.”

Glenn Gauvry is founder of Ecological Research and Development Group, whose sole purpose is to conserve horseshoe crabs. He also supports the male-only harvest. “There was a slight depression of the population in the late ’90s, but things are looking good for these guys,” Gauvry says. “There was never any fear that the horseshoe crab would go extinct.”

Mike Millard agrees. Director of the Northeast Fishery Center for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, he is also chair of the Horseshoe Crab Technical Committee for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Committee, which makes recommendations to Hughes and DNREC. “The technical committee is on record of supporting a male-only harvest,” Millard says. “I don’t know how these things work, but I’m guessing Secretary Hughes wanted to add some extra oomph to his statement so that it wasn’t just about the birds.”

Because of the suit, DNREC staffers could not comment on the subject. But one thing that most everyone involved will agree on is that the mid-to late-1990s overharvesting of horseshoe crabs is at least partially to blame for the red knot’s decline. “It’s the level of relationship that’s in question,” says Gauvry.

Some worry that the birding community, by supporting the moratorium, hasn’t fully considered other ways of helping the red knot rebound, Gauvry says. “I hope for the birding community that the horseshoe crab harvest is the full reason the red knots are dying, because we should start seeing results soon. But if it’s not, it’ll be too late for the red knots and this argument, however useless, will go on for a long time.”

Robins is concerned about the birders’ efforts to help the red knot. “Their biggest concern is apparently the red knots, but their political objective is to close the fishery,” Robins says. “They’re not even studying alternative feeding programs on the bird side.”

Only a few years ago, New Jersey and Delaware each harvested 300,000 horseshoe crabs a year. That number was lowered to 150,000 in Delaware and none in New Jersey last year. This year, no harvest is allowed in either state. “You’d think we’d start seeing an increase in red knots, however minimal, but we haven’t” Gauvry says. “And that’s worrisome because there’s not much time.”

The population continues to decline. Birders cite reports that show a direct correlation with lower numbers of horseshoe crab eggs. Watermen claim other factors may contribute to the red knot decrease, such as changing environmental conditions in their winter and summer homes and hunting in South America.

Meanwhile, the University of Delaware has been trying to create an alternative bait for conch and eel fishermen for at least five years. It is close to testing the product.

“We’ve been progressing as expected,” says Kirstin Wakefield, a research associate at the University of Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies. “We’re really trying to figure out what it is about the horseshoe crab that attracts the conch and eel.”

The DuPont Company jumped aboard in November to speed the program through its final stages. With no real business interest in the project, DuPont has volunteered more than a dozen people to work on the problem.

“We’re trying to identify what the attractives are in the horseshoe crab for the fish,” says project leader Henry Bryndza of DuPont. “We’re pulling out all the stops and hoping to have it ready for test this spring.”

One can only hope the scientists can determine what it is about horseshoe crab eggs that other fish and birds find so appealing. A University of Virginia study suggests that horseshoe crab is far and away a conch or eel’s favorite food. Everything else pales in comparison.

Yet Gauvry is concerned that the price of alternative bait will be too high for fishermen. His Ecological Research and Development Group has been working with watermen to find alternatives, such as bait bags, which allow fishermen to use half of a crab or a quarter of a crab instead of a full crab when baiting. “People think fishermen are living some kind of rich life, but they’re working guys,” Gauvry says. “If you take thousands of dollars out of their pockets, they’re going to feel it pretty hard.”

Another of Gauvry’s concerns is the overall horseshoe crab population, which runs up and down the Eastern Seaboard. “Watermen are going to be looking for bait outside of the Delaware Bay, and that could put pressure on these smaller, genetically diverse populations,” he says. “We don’t want those fished out. So we could end up putting too much pressure on North Carolina or somewhere else, creating the same problem in those areas that we are trying to dig ourselves out of here.”

One peculiarity of the horseshoe crab, whose existence predates the dinosaurs by 100 million years, is its value to medical science. Horseshoe crab blood contains a chemical, limulus amoebocyte lysate, which is the FDA’s primary tool for screening drugs and intravenous fluids for bacterial contaminants and toxins prior to their release on the market. Limulus amoebocyte lysate is also used to test for bacterial meningitis infections. So there are teams of scientists withdrawing blood from crabs each year as well. Small amounts of blood can usually be removed without harming the crab, but there is about a 10 percent mortality rate.

The conch fishery provides 270 to 370 jobs and generates $11 million to $15 million of annual revenues, according to Robins.

“Some people say that this number is so much lower than the amount tourism brings in that we shouldn’t even worry about the fishermen, but these men pay taxes in Delaware, their kids go to school here, they buy their goods here. That should count for something. The ecotourists come and go home again,” Gauvry says.

Some wonder how many horseshoe crabs Delaware Bay can sustain and, with that, how many migrating shorebirds. The birding community’s main goal is purely to increase the number of horseshoe crab eggs available for shorebirds. says Eric Stiles, vice president for conservation and stewardship at the New Jersey Audubon Society.

Stiles grew up on the New Jersey side of the Delaware Bay. “As a kid I remember being knee-deep in crabs and looking up and seeing tens of thousands of shorebirds flying up the coast,” he says. “It was beautiful. That’s what we want to get back to.”

“The world is a lot different than it was even 20 years ago,” says Gauvry. “Delaware Bay couldn’t sustain the number of crabs it would take to feed 250,000 shorebirds. Say goodbye to all the mussels and clams and other small creatures. These crabs can eat. They’ve lasted an eternity for a reason.”

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May 2016

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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Dave Wakeling is a hell of a nice guy! Dave loves to tell you the stories behind his songs, either from stage or after the show. Ask any one of the thousands of fans who have met him over the years...

Cost: $22-32

Where:
World Cafe Live at the Queen
500 N Market St
Wimington, DE
View map »


Sponsor: World Cafe Live at The Queen
Telephone: 302-994-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern

More information

Dave Wakeling is a hell of a nice guy! Dave loves to tell you the stories behind his songs, either from stage or after the show. Ask any one of the thousands of fans who have met him over the years...

Cost: $22-32

Where:
World Cafe Live at The Queen
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE
View map »


Sponsor: World Cafe Life
Telephone: 302-994-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
Website »

More information

Month 4: Cochlear Implants Location: John H. Ammon Medical Education Center, Christiana Hospital Campus, 4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road, Newark, Classrooms 4, 5 & 6 To register, call (800)...

Where:
, DE

More information

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Looking to build your social network with fun and competition? Give tennis a try! It’s time to grab a racquet, your sneakers and some tennis balls and head to your local court to be part...

Cost: varies

Where:
Banning Park
201 Middleboro Road
Wilmington, DE  19804
View map »

More information

Asteroids and comets are messengers from space with a significant effect on Earth’s history, and they are likely to influence the future as well. Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Asteroids,...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »

More information

Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia examines the profound influence of Asia on the arts of the colonial Americas. Featuring some of the most extraordinary objects produced in the...

Cost: Included with admission. Members free. $5-$20

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52)
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: DuPont, Glenmede and John L. and Marjorie P. McGraw. Additional support from M&T Bank and Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and tours
Website »

More information

RAIL EXPLORERS Opens their Delaware Division! Partnering with the Wilmington & Western Railroad and the Delaware State Parks Rail Explorers brings their unique adventure to the...

Cost: Tandem $75 (2P), Quad $125 (4P)

Where:
Rail Explorers Delaware
200 Gun Club Road
Hockessin, NY  12983
View map »


Sponsor: Rail Explorers
Telephone: 302 601 0888
Contact Name: Mary Joy Lu
Website »

More information

What was behind the legendary story of King Midas and his golden touch? That is the question to be answered—not with chests full of gold, but with a spectacular array of ancient artifacts,...

Cost: Adults $20; seniors $18; students (with ID) $15; children (ages 6–17) $15

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »

More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »


Website »

More information

Drawing from Hagley’s collection of automotive advertising art, this exhibition features rare marketing materials highlighting everything from Duesenbergs to Datsuns. This exhibition asks “Did...

Cost: Included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum & Library
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Hagley Museum & Library
Telephone: (302) 658-2400
Contact Name: Vanessa Spence
Website »

More information

The islands take over Cinco de Mayo with $5 Margaritas! From May 2 through May 5, celebrate with four tequila-filled-days of fun and over ten flavors of margaritas, including our handcrafted...

Cost: Cost of meal

Where:
Bahama Breeze
500 Center Blvd
Newark, DE  19702
View map »

More information

Geared toward individuals 60 and over. Participants must be able to walk and stand. Walking aids—canes and walkers—are allowed. Wear comfortable clothing and stable shoes. Sneakers...

Where:
Bayhealth Physician Specialty Practice
315 N. Carter Road, Conference Room
Smyrna, DE
View map »

More information

Written by Nell Benjamin (playwright of "Because of Winn Dixie") Directed by Bud Martin The story: London, 1879. The prestigious Explorers Club is in crisis: their acting president...

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water St.
Wilmington, DE
View map »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Studio Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Studio Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Dr. Jeremy McInerney, Professor of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania, speaks about the Amazons in Greek legend and art. Who were these warrior women and why did they remain a source of...

Cost: $5

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »

More information

Participate in a 2-hour training to learn how you can help improve Delaware’s waterways. Stories from across the nation highlight the importance of residents getting actively involved in...

Cost: Free

Where:
DuPont Environmental Education Center
1400 Delmarva Lane
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Clean Water: Delaware's Clear Choice Campaign
Telephone: 302-239-2334 ext. 13
Contact Name: Michael Bard
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society and Lewes Public Library present THEEB as May’s film for the Around the World series. THEEB, a coming-of-age adventure will screen at 7 p.m. on Wednesday,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


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

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Painfully funny, technically ingenious, and viciously physical, this wild romantic comedy by England’s most popular living playwright, Sir Alan Ayckbourn features convoluted relationships worthy...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Paula Cole has played before audiences all over the world, opening for artists like Peter Gabriel, Melissa Etheridge and Sarah McLachlan, and as part of the Lilith Fair lineup before she began...

Cost: $30

Where:
World Cafe Live at The Queen
500 N Market St
Wilmington , DE
View map »


Sponsor: World Cafe Live at The Queen
Telephone: 302-994-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern

More information

Free lecture on the advances of minimally invasive surgery and other solutions to prostate cancer. Men and women welcome. Location: John H. Ammon Medical Education Center, Christiana Hospital...

Where:
, DE

More information

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Looking to build your social network with fun and competition? Give tennis a try! It’s time to grab a racquet, your sneakers and some tennis balls and head to your local court to be part...

Cost: varies

Where:
Banning Park
201 Middleboro Road
Wilmington, DE  19804
View map »

More information

Asteroids and comets are messengers from space with a significant effect on Earth’s history, and they are likely to influence the future as well. Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Asteroids,...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »

More information

Spring Session: Thursdays from 9:30-12; first day is April 7 Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311) Join TLC for our Drop-In on...

Cost: TLC members Free, Non-members free for first session, $5 for pre-registration

Where:
Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Road
Avondale, PA  19311
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County
Telephone: 610-347-0347
Contact Name: Hannah
Website »

More information

What was behind the legendary story of King Midas and his golden touch? That is the question to be answered—not with chests full of gold, but with a spectacular array of ancient artifacts,...

Cost: Adults $20; seniors $18; students (with ID) $15; children (ages 6–17) $15

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »

More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »


Website »

More information

RAIL EXPLORERS Opens their Delaware Division! Partnering with the Wilmington & Western Railroad and the Delaware State Parks Rail Explorers brings their unique adventure to the...

Cost: Tandem $75 (2P), Quad $125 (4P)

Where:
Rail Explorers Delaware
200 Gun Club Road
Hockessin, NY  12983
View map »


Sponsor: Rail Explorers
Telephone: 302 601 0888
Contact Name: Mary Joy Lu
Website »

More information

Drawing from Hagley’s collection of automotive advertising art, this exhibition features rare marketing materials highlighting everything from Duesenbergs to Datsuns. This exhibition asks “Did...

Cost: Included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum & Library
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Hagley Museum & Library
Telephone: (302) 658-2400
Contact Name: Vanessa Spence
Website »

More information

The Show House will include a Boutique and Garden Shoppe with articles for sale from interior and landscape designers. 14 interior and landscape designers will transform a spacious home situated...

Where:
52 Rolling Rd.
Henlopen Acres, Rehoboth Beach, DE
View map »


Sponsor: Village Improvement Association of Rehoboth Beach

More information

Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia examines the profound influence of Asia on the arts of the colonial Americas. Featuring some of the most extraordinary objects produced in the...

Cost: Included with admission. Members free. $5-$20

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52)
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: DuPont, Glenmede and John L. and Marjorie P. McGraw. Additional support from M&T Bank and Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and tours
Website »

More information

Rockford Tower opens for the season during the annual Flower Market, a spring tradition in Rockford Park.  Climb this historic structure and see the Flower Market and the city of Wilmington.  Free.

Cost: Free

Where:
Rockford Park
2000 Lookout Drive
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Telephone: 302-577-7020
Website »

More information

96th Annual Wilmington Flower Market The 96th Annual Wilmington Flower Market adds an extra evening of festival fun with WFM Rocks the Park on Wednesday from 5-8 p.m....

Cost: Free

Where:
Rockford Park
Wilmington, DE


Sponsor: Wilmington Flower Market
Website »

More information

The islands take over Cinco de Mayo with $5 Margaritas! From May 2 through May 5, celebrate with four tequila-filled-days of fun and over ten flavors of margaritas, including our handcrafted...

Cost: Cost of meal

Where:
Bahama Breeze
500 Center Blvd
Newark, DE  19702
View map »

More information

Geared toward individuals 60 and over. Participants must be able to walk and stand. Walking aids—canes and walkers—are allowed. Wear comfortable clothing and stable shoes. Sneakers...

Where:
Bayhealth Physician Specialty Practice
315 N. Carter Road, Conference Room
Smyrna, DE
View map »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Studio Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Studio Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Nanticoke Physician Network General & Bariatric Surgery will be hosting bariatric support groups on the first Tuesday and third Thursday of each month from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm at Nanticoke Memorial...

Cost: FREE

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


Sponsor: Nanticoke Physician Network General & Bariatric Surgery
Telephone: 302-629-6611 x 8810
Contact Name: Shelly Geis

More information

Patrick McGovern, Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages and Health, and his oft-times collaborator Sam Calagione, Founder and President of...

Cost: $20

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »

More information

Games, food & fun for the whole family 68– p.m. at Smyrna Wesleyan Church Parking Lot

Cost: Free

Where:
Smyrna Wesleyan Church
433 West Commerce Street
Smyrna, DE  19977
View map »


Sponsor: SWC Family Nite
Telephone: 302-653-8440
Contact Name: Deb Souder
Website »

More information

Written by Nell Benjamin (playwright of "Because of Winn Dixie") Directed by Bud Martin The story: London, 1879. The prestigious Explorers Club is in crisis: their acting president...

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water St.
Wilmington, DE
View map »

More information

Dr. Vicki Howard, Hartwick College, will recount the evolution of department stores from prominent locally owned institutions to stores that were part of national chains, and then to today’s...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hagley Museum & Library
Soda House
298 Buck Rd.
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: (302) 658-2400
Contact Name: Vanessa Spence
Website »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Painfully funny, technically ingenious, and viciously physical, this wild romantic comedy by England’s most popular living playwright, Sir Alan Ayckbourn features convoluted relationships worthy...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

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Join Kind to Kids Foundation and celebrate five years of helping Delaware children who are victims of child abuse, neglect, poverty and at-risk youth.  Register Now, this event sells out...

Cost: $40 per person or $300 per table of 8

Where:
Hotel DuPont, Gold Ballroom
11th & Market Streets
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Kind to Kids Foundation
Telephone: 302-654-5440
Contact Name: Jeanette De Bright
Website »

More information

The Delaware Division of the Arts Mezzanine Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of photographs by Yaprak Soysal during the month of May. “My Human and I” is an exhibition of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
820 N. French St.
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8283
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

Looking to build your social network with fun and competition? Give tennis a try! It’s time to grab a racquet, your sneakers and some tennis balls and head to your local court to be part...

Cost: varies

Where:
Banning Park
201 Middleboro Road
Wilmington, DE  19804
View map »

More information

New paintings and drawings by Philadelphia artist Ed Bronstein are featured in a solo show. Ed’s new work includes still life paintings, landscapes and city scenes from Delaware and the...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Asteroids and comets are messengers from space with a significant effect on Earth’s history, and they are likely to influence the future as well. Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Asteroids,...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »

More information

RAIL EXPLORERS Opens their Delaware Division! Partnering with the Wilmington & Western Railroad and the Delaware State Parks Rail Explorers brings their unique adventure to the...

Cost: Tandem $75 (2P), Quad $125 (4P)

Where:
Rail Explorers Delaware
200 Gun Club Road
Hockessin, NY  12983
View map »


Sponsor: Rail Explorers
Telephone: 302 601 0888
Contact Name: Mary Joy Lu
Website »

More information

Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia examines the profound influence of Asia on the arts of the colonial Americas. Featuring some of the most extraordinary objects produced in the...

Cost: Included with admission. Members free. $5-$20

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52)
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: DuPont, Glenmede and John L. and Marjorie P. McGraw. Additional support from M&T Bank and Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and tours
Website »

More information

The Show House will include a Boutique and Garden Shoppe with articles for sale from interior and landscape designers. 14 interior and landscape designers will transform a spacious home situated...

Where:
52 Rolling Rd.
Henlopen Acres, Rehoboth Beach, DE
View map »


Sponsor: Village Improvement Association of Rehoboth Beach

More information

What was behind the legendary story of King Midas and his golden touch? That is the question to be answered—not with chests full of gold, but with a spectacular array of ancient artifacts,...

Cost: Adults $20; seniors $18; students (with ID) $15; children (ages 6–17) $15

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »

More information

Drawing from Hagley’s collection of automotive advertising art, this exhibition features rare marketing materials highlighting everything from Duesenbergs to Datsuns. This exhibition asks “Did...

Cost: Included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum & Library
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Hagley Museum & Library
Telephone: (302) 658-2400
Contact Name: Vanessa Spence
Website »

More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »


Website »

More information

Rockford Tower opens for the season during the annual Flower Market, a spring tradition in Rockford Park.  Climb this historic structure and see the Flower Market and the city of Wilmington.  Free.

Cost: Free

Where:
Rockford Park
2000 Lookout Drive
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Telephone: 302-577-7020
Website »

More information

96th Annual Wilmington Flower Market The 96th Annual Wilmington Flower Market adds an extra evening of festival fun with WFM Rocks the Park on Wednesday from 5-8 p.m....

Cost: Free

Where:
Rockford Park
Wilmington, DE


Sponsor: Wilmington Flower Market
Website »

More information

This year’s Tyler Arboretum Plant Sale offers gardeners the chance to “Take Tyler Home,” with a themed range of plants from Tyler’s meadows, trails, collections, and...

Where:
Tyler Arboretum
515 Painter Road
Media, DE  19063
View map »


Telephone: 610-566-9134
Contact Name: Gary Bloomer
Website »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Studio Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Studio Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Nanticoke Health Services is again joining forces with the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce and the City of Seaford to promote women’s health awareness at the 3rd Annual LIVE FOR CHOCOLATE...

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Seaford
304 High Street
Seaford, DE  19973
View map »


Sponsor: Nanticoke Health Services, Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce, & the City of Seaford
Website »

More information

The Penn Museum's popular sleepover program, geared to ages 6 to 12 and their families or chaperones, invites guests to an overnight "expedition" of the Museum. The night's...

Cost: $55

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »

More information

Join the fun at Friends for Rescue and Pet Care's Quarter Auction in Newark on Friday, May 6, 2016. At least 100 great prizes. Raise your paddles to win a prize for as little as 1, 2,...

Cost: $5 per paddle per attendee

Where:
Aetna Fire Hall
400 Ogletown Rd.
Newark, DE  19711
View map »


Sponsor: Friends for Rescue & Pet Care
Telephone: 302-307-2980
Contact Name: Barbara
Website »

More information

Painfully funny, technically ingenious, and viciously physical, this wild romantic comedy by England’s most popular living playwright, Sir Alan Ayckbourn features convoluted relationships worthy...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
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

Written by Nell Benjamin (playwright of "Because of Winn Dixie") Directed by Bud Martin The story: London, 1879. The prestigious Explorers Club is in crisis: their acting president...

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water St.
Wilmington, DE
View map »

More information

Join our guides though historic Dover and its cemeteries by lantern light this spring. Space is limited; call (302) 739-9194 for reservations. Lantern tours cancelled due to inclement weather will...

Cost: $10 per person

Where:
First State Heritage Park
Johnson Victrola Museum
375 S. New Street
Dover, DE  19901
View map »


Sponsor: First State Heritage Park
Telephone: 302-739-9194
Contact Name: Sarah Zimmerman
Website »

More information

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Dover Days Celebration Held annually since 1933, Dover Days celebrates the Capital of the First State. An annual week-long celebration of Dover Days events takes place on April 30 - May 8;...

Cost: Free

Where:
First State Heritage Park
121 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd N
43 The Green, 25 The Green
Dover, DE  19901
View map »


Sponsor: First State Heritage Park
Telephone: 302-739-9194
Contact Name: Sarah Zimmerman
Website »

More information

New paintings and drawings by Philadelphia artist Ed Bronstein are featured in a solo show. Ed’s new work includes still life paintings, landscapes and city scenes from Delaware and the...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

First Saturdays in the First State   Programs and events on the first Saturday of each month. Sites are open, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., check website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
First State Heritage Park
121 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd N
Dover, DE  19901
View map »


Sponsor: First State Heritage Park
Telephone: 302-739-9194
Contact Name: Sarah Zimmerman
Website »

More information

Looking to build your social network with fun and competition? Give tennis a try! It’s time to grab a racquet, your sneakers and some tennis balls and head to your local court to be part...

Cost: varies

Where:
Banning Park
201 Middleboro Road
Wilmington, DE  19804
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First Saturdays in the First State   Programs and events on the first Saturday of each month. Sites are open, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., check website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
First State Heritage Park
121 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd N
Dover, DE  19901
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Sponsor: First State Heritage Park
Telephone: 302-739-9194
Contact Name: Sarah Zimmerman
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Asteroids and comets are messengers from space with a significant effect on Earth’s history, and they are likely to influence the future as well. Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Asteroids,...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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The Show House will include a Boutique and Garden Shoppe with articles for sale from interior and landscape designers. 14 interior and landscape designers will transform a spacious home situated...

Where:
52 Rolling Rd.
Henlopen Acres, Rehoboth Beach, DE
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Sponsor: Village Improvement Association of Rehoboth Beach

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96th Annual Wilmington Flower Market The 96th Annual Wilmington Flower Market adds an extra evening of festival fun with WFM Rocks the Park on Wednesday from 5-8 p.m....

Cost: Free

Where:
Rockford Park
Wilmington, DE


Sponsor: Wilmington Flower Market
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Drawing from Hagley’s collection of automotive advertising art, this exhibition features rare marketing materials highlighting everything from Duesenbergs to Datsuns. This exhibition asks “Did...

Cost: Included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum & Library
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum & Library
Telephone: (302) 658-2400
Contact Name: Vanessa Spence
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Wilmington Garden Day offers an opportunity to stroll through some of the Brandywine Valley’s most enchanting gardens. Join us on this self-guided tour and plan a day that fits your scheduled....

Cost: $30

Where:
Hagley Museum & Library
298 Buck Rd.
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Wilmington Garden Day
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Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia examines the profound influence of Asia on the arts of the colonial Americas. Featuring some of the most extraordinary objects produced in the...

Cost: Included with admission. Members free. $5-$20

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52)
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: DuPont, Glenmede and John L. and Marjorie P. McGraw. Additional support from M&T Bank and Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and tours
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RAIL EXPLORERS Opens their Delaware Division! Partnering with the Wilmington & Western Railroad and the Delaware State Parks Rail Explorers brings their unique adventure to the...

Cost: Tandem $75 (2P), Quad $125 (4P)

Where:
Rail Explorers Delaware
200 Gun Club Road
Hockessin, NY  12983
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Sponsor: Rail Explorers
Telephone: 302 601 0888
Contact Name: Mary Joy Lu
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The definition of the word art has changed over time. From the late Middle Ages it referred to a skill acquired through knowledge and practice as well as the objects produced as a result of that...

Cost: Members free. Included with admission, $5-$20.

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52)
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
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What was behind the legendary story of King Midas and his golden touch? That is the question to be answered—not with chests full of gold, but with a spectacular array of ancient artifacts,...

Cost: Adults $20; seniors $18; students (with ID) $15; children (ages 6–17) $15

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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Rockford Tower opens for the season during the annual Flower Market, a spring tradition in Rockford Park.  Climb this historic structure and see the Flower Market and the city of Wilmington.  Free.

Cost: Free

Where:
Rockford Park
2000 Lookout Drive
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Telephone: 302-577-7020
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Attend a Free Family and Community Concert May 7, 2016! Immerse yourself in a mystery about the most famous painting in the world as the Delaware Chamber Music Festival presents an animated...

Cost: Free

Where:
Laird Performing Arts Center of the Tatnall School
1501 Barley Mill Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Delaware Chamber Music Festival
Telephone: 302 442 0572
Contact Name: Kyle Bartlett
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Come celebrate the great outdoors at Taylors Bridge! Delaware Wild Lands is celebrating our latest conservation success — acquisition of the beautiful 1,250-acre Roberts...

Cost: Free

Where:
Taylors Bridge Roberts Farm
170 Staves Landing Rd
Townsend, DE  19734
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Sponsor: Delaware Wild Lands
Telephone: 302-378-2736
Contact Name: Wendy Scott
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This new walking tour tells remarkable stories of black powder explosions that occurred when Hagley was a gunpowder manufactory and the men and women whose lives were changed as a result. Tour...

Cost: Included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum & Library
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: (302) 658-2400
Contact Name: Vanessa Spence
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Bill Dixon Yamaha Stunt Rider will be doing his thing on his Yamaha here at Powersports East on Saturday, May 7th at 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.! Come out (FREE ADMISSION) and enjoy the show, while...

Cost: Free

Where:
PowerSports East
620 Pulaski HWY (Route 40)
Bear, DE  19701
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Sponsor: Powersports East
Telephone: 302-322-4120
Contact Name: Lynn Fasten
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Stop by to see the Wilmington State Parks’ Naturalist at White Clay Creek State Park’s Creek Fest!   Join Delaware State Parks, White Clay Wild and Scenic Program, National Park Service, Suez...

Cost: Free with paid park admission

Where:
White Clay Creek State Park
880 New London Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Telephone: 302-577-7020
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What better way to celebrate mom than enjoying "An Afternoon Paris"? You will be painting, sipping, enjoying Parisian treats on the patio of Cardinal Hollow Winery. Saturday, May...

Cost: $30 - $60

Where:
Cardinal Hollow Winery
1830 West Point Pike
Lansdale, PA  19486
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Sponsor: Creative Paint Events
Telephone: 267-312-8339
Contact Name: Charisse
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Mispillion River Brewing will be hosting its second annual fundraiser, Short ‘N Stout, for the National Criminal Enforcement Association in honor of Patrolman Chad E. Spicer. The Short...

Cost: $25 in advance, $35 at the door

Where:
Mispillion River Brewing
255 Mullet Run St.
Milford, DE  19963
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Sponsor: Mispillion River Brewing
Telephone: (302) 491-6623
Contact Name: Lauren Bigelow
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Written by Nell Benjamin (playwright of "Because of Winn Dixie") Directed by Bud Martin The story: London, 1879. The prestigious Explorers Club is in crisis: their acting president...

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water St.
Wilmington, DE
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Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Studio Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
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Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Studio Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

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Capital Ringers, community handbell ensemble, presents spring shows, “Bach to Rock!” Featuring music from Bach and Mozart to contemporary artists, the Capital Ringers 2016 Spring Concert Tour...

Cost: Freewill/Donations

Where:
Limestone Presbyterian Church
Wilmington, DE


Telephone: 302-632-3106
Contact Name: Linda Simms
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The Penn Museum's popular sleepover program, geared to ages 6 to 12 and their families or chaperones, invites guests to an overnight "expedition" of the Museum. The night's...

Cost: $55

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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Capital Ringers, community handbell ensemble, presents spring shows, “Bach to Rock!” Featuring music from Bach and Mozart to contemporary artists, the Capital Ringers 2016 Spring Concert Tour...

Cost: $15pp/$25per family

Where:
The Smyrna Opera House
Smyrna, DE


Telephone: 302-632-3106
Contact Name: Linda Simms
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Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
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Painfully funny, technically ingenious, and viciously physical, this wild romantic comedy by England’s most popular living playwright, Sir Alan Ayckbourn features convoluted relationships worthy...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

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Formed in 1992, Splintered Sunlight quickly became the most popular Grateful Dead Tribute band in the Philadelphia area, gaining praise from Dead Heads and Non Heads alike. Since that time,...

Cost: $12-15

Where:
World Cafe Live at The Queen
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE
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Telephone: 302-994-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern

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Written by Nell Benjamin (playwright of "Because of Winn Dixie") Directed by Bud Martin The story: London, 1879. The prestigious Explorers Club is in crisis: their acting president...

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water St.
Wilmington, DE
View map »

More information

Formed in 1992, Splintered Sunlight quickly became the most popular Grateful Dead Tribute band in the Philadelphia area, gaining praise from Dead Heads and Non Heads alike. Since that time,...

Cost: $12-15

Where:
World Cafe Live at The Queen
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE
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Sponsor: World Cafe Life
Telephone: 302-994-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
Website »

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