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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January 2017

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

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The Station Gallery
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January 14, 15, 16 – Saturday, Sunday, and Monday – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Invention Convention Lights, camera, action! This year’s Invention Convention features hands-on video...

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Belly Dance Classes with Zahra Beginner & intermediate classes open to teens and adults Sundays in January starting Jan 8th Beginner: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Intermediate: 1 - 2 p.m (must get...

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Take the Lead Studio
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Join Rachel Binkley of Rocker Soaps + Herbals for a fun and information filled class. We will make soap, learn how to make a soap recipe and get tips and techniques to make it easier for you at...

Cost: 40

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Elements of Nutrition
4710 Kirkwood Hwy
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society will present its popular What Makes Us Tick? program during the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, January 13-15. This analytical film and discussion series...

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Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
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BROKEN ARROW: A NEIL YOUNG TRIBUTE Broken Arrow delivers the music of Neil Young; both the rockin' electric guitar driven favorites and the more country flavored classics with pedal steel and...

Cost: $12 ADV- $14 DOS

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World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
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Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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When the kids have a day off but the parents don’t, let them spend the day off of school doing something really cool…having fun at DMNH! Enjoy games, crafts, activities, and even a hot dog...

Cost: $20 for Members, $25 for Non-Members.

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Science is for everyone! Join us for hands on crafts and activities that highlight science contributions to natural history from scientists all around the world. Learn how YOU can make a difference...

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Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
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January 14, 15, 16 – Saturday, Sunday, and Monday – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Invention Convention Lights, camera, action! This year’s Invention Convention features hands-on video...

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

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

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Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmers Market Nov 8, 2016 - April 11, 2017  11 am- 2 pm 25 vendors Location:  East Coast Garden Center 30366 Cordrey Rd Millsboro, DE 19966 302-945-3489

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East Coast Garden Center
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Millsboro, DE  19966
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmer's Marke 25 vendors

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East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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A four-week series of ballroom dancing classes taught by teachers from the BlueBallroom. Tuesdays starting Jan. 10. Classes are $30 a lesson for Non-Members. Non-Member slots are limited. For...

Cost: $30

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University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
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The Cinema & the Arts film series proudly presents a screening of the documentary ART BASTARD on  Tuesday, January 17, 7:00 pm, at Cinema Art Theater, 17701 Dartmouth Drive in Dartmouth Plaza,...

Cost: $9

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

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The Division of Public Health offers its annual free flu vaccination event in the Legislative Hall Library, ground floor, 411 Legislative Ave., Dover, DE, on January 18, 2017, from 11:00 a.m. to...

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Legislative Hall Library
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Dover, DE  19901
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Do you want to learn how to make soap? This is your chance! Join me for a fun and informative class @ Liquid Alchemy. I will teach you how to create your own recipe and the in-and-outs of soap...

Cost: 45

Where:
Liquid Alchemy
28 Brookside Dr.
, DE  19804
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Sponsor: Rocker Soaps + Herbals
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Contact Name: Rachel Binkley
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Do you want to learn how to make soap? This is your chance! Join me for a fun and informative class @ Liquid Alchemy. I will teach you how to create your own recipe and the in-and-outs of soap...

Cost: 45.00

Where:
Liquid Alchemy
28 Brookside Dr.
Wilmington, DE  19804
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Sponsor: Rocker Soaps + Herbals
Telephone: 302-544-0391
Contact Name: Rachel Binkley
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

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Guest speakers Patty Dailey-Lewis, executive director of the Beau Biden Foundation, and Delaware Family Court commissioner Loretta Young will discuss how participation in social media can too...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilmington University - Doberstein Admissions Ctr.
320 N DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE  19805
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Telephone: 302-295-1164
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Thursdays from 4:00PM-5:30PM Fall session: December 1st, 8th and 15th Winter session: Starts January 19th, every other Thursday until March 30th This program is based entirely outdoors and is...

Cost: Cost: $30 for TLC members / $40 for non-members

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Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
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The 3rd Place and Bike Lane Cafe along with WestSide Grows and Delaware Permaculture bring you the West 7th Street Bazaar.  Happening EVERY 3rd Thursday of the month from January through May,...

Cost: Free Admission

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The 3rd Place
1139 W. 7th Street
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January 19 – Thursday – 6:30 p.m. Research Seminar: Amyrs Williams (Wesleyan University) – Reimagining the Modern Farm The seminar is open to the public and is based on a paper that is...

Cost: $0

Where:
Copeland Room, Hagley Library
298 Buck Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum & Library
Telephone: (302) 65802400
Contact Name: Carol Lockman
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

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
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HIGH & MIGHTY BRASS BAND There’s a reason that musical trailblazers from Galactic to DJ Logic have recently chosen to collaborate with High and Mighty Brass Band! and legends such as Dr. John,...

Cost: $15

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

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: $10

Where:
World Cafe Live At The Queen
500 N Market St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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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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Ah, typecasting—the baritone is always the bad guy! In Devils, Drunks & Dastardly Dudes, we’ll go on an operatic journey of men behaving badly. We’ll add a tenor to the mix, too… but we...

Cost: $29-$59

Where:
OperaDelaware Studio
4 South Poplar St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: OperaDelaware
Telephone: 302-442-7809
Contact Name: Mary Wilcosky
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

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
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Amateur and professional creators from the Wilmington community and beyond will sketch, paint and sculpt side-by-side with DCAD students, alumni, faculty and staff as nude and costumed male...

Cost: $30 per person

Where:
Delaware College of Art and Design
600 N. Market St.
Wilmington, DE  19081
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Sponsor: Delaware College of Art and Design
Telephone: 302-622-8000 x 123
Contact Name: Mark Tajzler
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

From foxes and beavers to cats and dogs, all mammals benefit from open space! Discover the signs of mammals in winter and learn about human impact on mammal habitat and population survival. Join...

Cost: FREE for TLC members / $10 for non-members

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


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

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society and the Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation are proud to present The Metropolitan Opera’s live broadcast of Charles Gounod’s ROMÉO ET JULIETTE on Saturday,...

Cost: $15 - $25

Where:
Cape Henlopen High School Theater
1250 Kings Highway
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 130-264-59095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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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  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Coastal Concerts in downtown Lewes will host a presentation by one of the most recognized, honored and versatile musicians in the world, the legendary two-time Grammy Award-winning clarinetist...

Cost: $30. Ages 10-18 and one adult per youth.

Where:
Bethel United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall
Fourth & Market Streets
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Coastal Concerts, Inc.
Telephone: 888-212-6458
Contact Name: Edna Ellett
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Ovations Dinner Theatre hosts an interactive Mafia Murder Mystery dinner. Ticket includes a 3-course Italian dinner and the performance. Tickets are $45 for Non-Members and Non-Member seating is...

Cost: 45

Where:
Ballroom at University and Whist Club
805 N. Broom St.
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Cost: $20 General Admission

Where:
Frankford Fire Hall
7 Main Street
Frankford, DE  19945
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Cost: $15 - $30

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

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Cost: $10 + 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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