A cluster of rogue entrepreneurs saves a historic property by building a brewery.">

F!RST Issue: Saving the Land-With Beer

A cluster of rogue entrepreneurs saves a historic property by building a brewery.



Our founding fathers were educated rebels, loudmouths and drunks who didn’t agree with a crooked Empire. Invariably, they spilled some beer, bent some rules and busted some skulls until they decided on a country most of them were happy with.

It is no small coincidence Sam Hobbs has direct ties to this history. His 250-acre family farm in Greenville once contained, according to legend, a pear tree under which George Washington sat and planned the Battle of the Brandywine.

Now Hobbs and his stouthearted men are planning a battle of their own. Their battle plan involves preserving the historic Twin Lakes farmland in Greenville—and they’re using beer to do it.

Three years ago, Hobbs, 40, founded the Twin Lakes Brewing Co. with partners Matt Day, Jack Wick and master brewer Mark Fesche. By re-making the land into a viable business, they have effectively eliminated the need to sell out to developers, keeping alive an important and scenic piece of land in rapidly suburbanizing Greenville.

“We knew we wanted to preserve this farm, and it all sort of culminated,” Hobbs says. “This is my experiment to keep this farm as open space. It just snapped: We’re gonna be preservation on tap.”

Meet the minutemen of Delaware’s craft beer revolution. Don’t tread on ’em.

Twin Lakes Brewing Co. isn’t easy to find. The brewery celebrated its grand opening on June 3 with food, live music and 400 or so in attendance, but on most other days, there isn’t even a sign out front. From Kennett Pike, the place looks more or less like a horse farm.

This is hardly happy hour at Iron Hill. Twin Lakes is quiet and secluded, with just a few men milling around between the four-vessel, gravity-fed, barn-housed brewery. A heavy shroud of beech and hornbeam trees yawns all the way from Del. 52 to Valley Garden Park. Much of the land on this 250-acre farm is untouched, which, to Hobbs, is the point.

“If you’ve lived here long enough, you slowly start to see this natural landscape disappearing,” Hobbs says. “I’m really just a caretaker of this property. I ended up purchasing it from my family, but I want to be able to preserve it and pass it along to future generations.”

That says nothing for the previous generations who have enjoyed the Twin Lakes farmland. Hobbs’ grandfather, artist George Weymouth, famously opened up his frozen ponds every winter for eager ice skaters.

The Brandywine Conservancy and New Castle County are also fans of Twin Lakes. The land and its spring-fed ponds are home to more than 30 species of waterfowl, as well as white-tailed deer, red fox and the occasional bald eagle. The actual twin lakes serve as vital watersheds for both the Brandywine and Red Clay creeks. The property, which has been a working horse farm for centuries, butts up neatly against Valley Garden Park and Hoope’s Reservoir, creating a patchwork of nearly 3,000 unspoiled acres.

Hobbs is driven by his affinity for keeping this natural and biologically diverse land intact—and useful. (He and master brewer Fesche have begun growing their own hops on the property.) But pressure from developers still exists, he says.

“Every once in a while, we’d get someone in here asking if we’d be willing to sell some of the land,” Hobbs says. “There’s always that pressure. With a property this vast, we wanted to make it agricultural again. At the same time, we want to be part of the community and have some fun doing it.”

The idea for a brewery sprung almost overnight. Hobbs, who wanted to start a winery, met Day and Wick, who were in the market for a brewhouse, but couldn’t nail down the financing. When Hobbs realized a winery in chilly Delaware wasn’t feasible, the three trekked to the Nantucket Winery, Brewery and Distillery, which is built on rustic farmland. “That’s when it clicked,” Hobbs says. “I loved that historical look, and that was the final nail in the coffin.”

From there, Hobbs, a Berkeley grad and a former Wall Street shark, knew what to do. The team cleared zoning regulations and struck a deal with Standard Distributing Co., Day’s former employer. Last spring, the kegs began to roll out.

It appears Twin Lakes is off to a very good start. The three varieties of brew—a pilsner, a pale ale and a stout—have received rave reviews from local vendors and national beer experts. Popular bars and restaurants such as the Deer Park Tavern in Newark, and the Columbus Inn, Deep Blue and Harry’s Savoy in Wilmington carry Twin Lakes on tap.

“We’re selling a lot of it,” says Barbara Stitz, general manager of Buckley’s Tavern, just a few miles up Kennett Pike from Twin Lakes. “The customers love it, and the staff is really pushing it because it’s an easy sell for them. Especially with people touring the area, they want to taste something local, and they’re pleasantly surprised when it’s good. People are coming in and asking for it specifically.”

Says Day, “We think, if given the choice, people will pick the fresh, organic, locally produced beer.” Fesche, a Beer Festival gold medalist and a degree-holder in fermentation sciences, utilizes pale malt from Wisconsin and fresh, flowered hops. Only natural filtration is used—no pumps or pellets. 

Hobbs reveals Twin Lakes’ secret, something no other brewery in the state can claim—a spring-fed well hidden deep within the farm property. “We have what’s known as a bright water source,” Hobbs says as crayfish scurry around inside. “It’s rock well water. It doesn’t go through a water treatment plant, so there’s no chlorine or fluoride. It really comes through.”

The water is perfectly balanced for pH and alkalinity and, as a quick scoop of a cup can attest, tastes just like something out of a plastic bottle.

“I think the brewers and the microbrewers all have something that makes them stand out,” Stitz says. “That water is really going to give them a special characteristic.”

There’s clearly something in the water at Twin Lakes. Hobbs and his crew made a grand entrance at Buckley’s Tavern, arriving on an 18th-century horse and buggy. They’re in the process of drafting a sort of Declaration of Beer-dependence that they’ll co-sign with Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione.

“Every taproom and every restaurant has its own little fabric of a community based around it,” Hobbs says. “We want to be a part of those fabrics.

“The American Revolution took place in the bars and taverns. That’s where the voices were first heard. If we lose the right to drink beer, we lose everything.” 

DT

 

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February 2017

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Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
820 N. French Street
2nd Floor, Carvel Building
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Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with Admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
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View map »


Telephone: 302-658-9111
Website »

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Cost: Adults: $9 Children (3-17): $7 Seniors (60+): $8 Under 3: FREE Members: FREE

Where:
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[Un]Ravel, a show of photographs by Joshua Meier, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from February 3-24, 2017. An opening reception to meet the artist will be held on Friday, Feb....

Cost: Free

Where:
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820 N. French Street
2nd Floor, Carvel Building
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View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
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Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities. Undertake three Mesozoic Missions spanning 150 million years and mimic dinosaur...

Cost: Free with Admission

Where:
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Telephone: 302-658-9111
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with Museum admission

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Cost: FREE

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Cost: Free

Where:
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820 N. French Street
2nd Floor, Carvel Building
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View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

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Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities. Undertake three Mesozoic Missions spanning 150 million years and mimic dinosaur...

Cost: Free with Admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
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View map »


Telephone: 302-658-9111
Website »

More information

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Cost: Adults: $9 Children (3-17): $7 Seniors (60+): $8 Under 3: FREE Members: FREE

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Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE

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View map »


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Contact Name: Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

February 3 – 25 Group Show featuring still life paintings in oil by Rosemary Castiglioni; gestural animal paintings by Gay Freeborn; and plein air landscapes from Zion National Park,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
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View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities at the Delaware Museum of Natural History's newest special exhibit. Undertake...

Cost: Adults: $9 Children (3-17): $7 Seniors (60+): $8 Under 3: FREE Members: FREE

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


Website »

More information

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Cost: see description

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501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

More information

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities. Undertake three Mesozoic Missions spanning 150 million years and mimic dinosaur...

Cost: Free with Admission

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


Telephone: 302-658-9111
Website »

More information

Between 1917 and 1944, the Society of Independent Artists (SIA) hosted annual exhibitions for its members. Famous painters and Sunday painters were able to exhibit their work in enormous open shows...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $18-$20

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Cinema Art Theater
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View map »


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Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

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Cost: FREE

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


Telephone: 302-536-5395
Contact Name: Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery
Website »

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Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

February 3 – 25 Group Show featuring still life paintings in oil by Rosemary Castiglioni; gestural animal paintings by Gay Freeborn; and plein air landscapes from Zion National Park,...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities. Undertake three Mesozoic Missions spanning 150 million years and mimic dinosaur...

Cost: Free with Admission

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


Telephone: 302-658-9111
Website »

More information

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities at the Delaware Museum of Natural History's newest special exhibit. Undertake...

Cost: Adults: $9 Children (3-17): $7 Seniors (60+): $8 Under 3: FREE Members: FREE

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


Website »

More information

Between 1917 and 1944, the Society of Independent Artists (SIA) hosted annual exhibitions for its members. Famous painters and Sunday painters were able to exhibit their work in enormous open shows...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

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


Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery will host bariatric support groups on Tuesday, Feb. 7 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Medical Staff...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-536-5395
Contact Name: Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery
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Tutto Fresco has live entertainment every Friday night from 6:30–9:30 p.m. Call for details. http://tuttofrescode.com/

Where:
Tutto Fresco
514 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE  19809
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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
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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JOHNNY WINTER ALL STAR BAND The Johnny Winter Band has been wowing audiences everywhere with incredible music played by Johnny's band and guest artists. Join Paul Nelson and The JW Band in a...

Cost: $20 ADV + $22 DOS + FEES

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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Now in its 8th year, the PAWS for People Conference/Annual Meeting is designed for those who love their pets, are pet enthusiasts or who want to learn more about the world of Pet Therapy. This...

Cost: $45 through 2/14; $50 after that date; $5 discount for PAWS members.

Where:
Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
1600 Rockland Road
Wilmington, DE  19803
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Sponsor: PAWS for People
Telephone: 302-351-5622
Contact Name: Clarice Ritchie
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February 3 – 25 Group Show featuring still life paintings in oil by Rosemary Castiglioni; gestural animal paintings by Gay Freeborn; and plein air landscapes from Zion National Park,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities at the Delaware Museum of Natural History's newest special exhibit. Undertake...

Cost: Adults: $9 Children (3-17): $7 Seniors (60+): $8 Under 3: FREE Members: FREE

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as you LIVE LARGE in reptilian role-play activities. Undertake three Mesozoic Missions spanning 150 million years and mimic dinosaur...

Cost: Free with Admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Newark, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-658-9111
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The Wilmington & Western Railroad's Hockessin Art Festival is a fundraising effort to benefit the railroad. Over 25 artists will be displaying and selling limited-edition...

Cost: $3 for art show admission; $5 for train fare (children under 2 are free)

Where:
Hockessin Memorial Hall
606 Yorklyn Road
Hockessin, DE  19707
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Sponsor: Wilmington & Western Railroad
Telephone: 302-998-1930
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Are you interested in learning more about what volunteer opportunities the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation has to offer? Consider attending our Volunteer Open House at our shipyard in Wilmington, DE from...

Cost:

Where:
Kalmar Nyckel Foundation
1124 E 7th St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Between 1917 and 1944, the Society of Independent Artists (SIA) hosted annual exhibitions for its members. Famous painters and Sunday painters were able to exhibit their work in enormous open shows...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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DCM Guests will experience, engage in, and take home different STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathmatics) activities run by Science Ambassadors from the Charter School of Wilmington...

Cost: $8.75

Where:
Delaware Children's Museum
550 Justison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-425-4890
Contact Name: Joe Valenti
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

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

Build a hydraulic-powered machine while learning about pressure, water, and power. Families work together to solve science mysteries and engineering challenges. Activities are included in regular...

Cost: Adults: $14, Children 6-14: $5, Children 5 and under and Hagley Members: FREE

Where:
Hagley Museum and Library
200 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery will host bariatric support groups on Tuesday, Feb. 7 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Medical Staff...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-536-5395
Contact Name: Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery
Website »

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An evening of entertainment and hope at the 2017 Wilmington Heart Ball. Each year, community members, medical professionals and corporate leaders come together to celebrate the lifesaving work of...

Cost:

Where:
Chase Center on the Riverfront
815 Justison St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Join us for an unforgettable evening of entertainment and hope at the 2017 Wilmington Heart Ball.  Each year, community members, medical professionals and corporate leaders come together to...

Cost: $175

Where:
Chase Center on the Riverfront
815 Justison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: American Heart Association
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We are a mixture of some of the best and hardest working musicians in the Philadelphia area specializing in a mashup concept, fusing the music of The Allman Brothers Band and The Grateful Dead....

Cost: $10 + FEES

Where:
World Cafe Live- Wilmington
500 North Market Street
Wilmington, DE
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Mo Lowda & The Humble is a three piece Indie-rock group from Philadelphia, PA. The band has created a unique musical style combining various genre's ranging from garage rock to jazz fusion;...

Cost: $10 + FEES

Where:
World Cafe Live- Wilmington
500 North Market Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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