Over 35 Things to Do Around Delaware This September
Your guide to art festivals, Oktoberfest celebrations and more great events to check out this month.
The Brandywine Festival of the Arts takes place Sept. 7-8 in Wilmington./Photo by TCDavis, Flickr
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End of Aug.
Big Ball Marathon
8/30–31 • Middletown
It’s back! Batters up (alllllll night) at the M.O.T. Big Ball’s annual softball marathon and fundraising festival at Silver Lake Park. Field a team and live the dream—today, you’re a kid again.
8/31 • Wilmington
It’s the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, and you know exactly where you should be—the Arden Fair and Antiques Market, with about 8,000 other members of the community. Come for the whimsical crafts, games, food, music or just to people watch—no judgment here. When you’re there, take a moment to reflect—this is an event 112 years in the making.
Week of Sept. 1-7
Jesse & Joy
9/3 • Kennett Square, Pa.
With off-the-scale success in Latin America, Mexican brother and sister singer-songwriter pop duo Jesse & Joy continues to grow across North and Latin America, as well as Europe. In the 10 years since the Huerta-Uecke siblings started recording together, they’ve released four albums, sold out tours throughout the Americas, and won six Latin Grammy Awards and a US Grammy Award. The only sibling rivalry you’ll see here is who gets the mic first. See it in Longwood’s Open Air Theatre.
Story Time in Enchanted Woods
9/3, 9/11 • Wilmington
Head to Winterthur’s Story Stones in the Enchanted Woods on the first and third Thursday of this month to enjoy a story with your littles amid the beauty of the gardens.
9/3–9/27 • Newark
This exhibit is all about storytelling through images. So shhh—and open your eyes.
"Primal Images: Journey From a Subway Seat"
9/5–12/8 • Wilmington
While we don’t think you’ll see artist Margo Allman’s take on Internet-boyfriend-and-frequent-rider-of-subways Keanu Reeves in this monochromatic painting exhibition, you will see the distinguished artist’s raw imagination and technique on display. The paintings, small and large, are Allman’s exploration of the heads of other commuters in transit. Talk about The Girl on the Train.
Bruce in the USA
9/6 • Selbyville
The Freeman Stage bids adieu to summer with an enthralling evening of music, Boss-style. Don’t think this is just another tribute band, either—Springsteen alter ego Matt Ryan has been stepping into Bruce’s shows since 2000. He originated the role in a Vegas residency that sent him around the world. Come on—“Born in the USA,” outside under the stars? You’re already in, aren’t you?
Sip & Savor
9/6 • Dover
The Dover Downs Hotel & Casino plays hosts to the Meals On Wheels’ fundraiser that doubles as Kent County’s official end of summer party. Chef stations, craft beer tastings, wine and spirits, live music and silent and live auctions make for a fun night of doing good. When considering your footwear, know this—DJ Spotlight is spinnin’.
The National Folk Festival
9/6-9/8 • Salisbury, Md.
If you’re looking to get your groove on over state lines, The National Folk Festival will be in Salisbury, Maryland for its second year of its three year residency. Produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts and the City of Salisbury, the free weekend event brings music, arts, food and more to the Eastern Shore. Did we mention its free?
Diamond State Branch Biennial Art Show
9/6–9/28 • Greenville
It’s ladies’ month at The Station Gallery, where over 20 artists affiliated with the National League of Pen Women—the oldest arts organization in the country that celebrates women artists, writers and composters—exhibit in Greenville.
Amish Country Bike Tour
9/7 • Dover
Whether you’ve got a century in you or a 15-mile spin, there’s a little something for everyone at the Amish Country Bike Tour. Pedal a 15-, 25-, 50-, 64- or 100-mile route that starts in Delaware and winds through Delaware’s Amish farmlands. Your ride is not complete until you devour a locally made pie. But please, mind the horse and buggies.
Bottle & Cork 10-Miler and 5K
9/7 • Dewey
This race in Dewey (because there are other things to do in Dewey) benefits the Sussex Consortium, which provides resources for students with disabilities. The start and finish are on Dagsworthy Street. Don’t forget the party for the 21-plus crowd.
Historic Odessa Brewfest
9/7 • Odessa
The brew is back! Delaware has a rich history when it comes to our early colonial beermeisters. While the process may have changed over the past 200 years, one thing remains the same: brew love is true love. Join the historic town of Odessa’s Cantwell’s Tavern as it hosts almost 100—yes, 100—breweries from all over America. You’ll find a lot of Delaware darlings in the mix, so make sure you stop in and give plenty of 302 love. (And get in early on the local brewery smackdown—online voting is now open at odessabrewfest.com. (At press time, it was a smackdown between Troeg’s and Midnight Oil.)
Brandywine Festival of the Arts
9/7–9/8 • Wilmington
Summer is dwindling—bummer. But the Brandywine Festival of the Arts is just getting started. Join more than 250 fine artists and crafters (and only about 20,000 of your neighbors) at Brandywine Park’s Josephine Gardens for the ultimate artsy end-of-summer sendoff. Still haven’t attended? This is an ultimate Delaware Bucket List event that’s got mad national props, too.
9/7–9/8 • Kennett Square, Pa.
What started as a one-block-long festival put on by a small group of mushroom enthusiasts—yes, they do exist—has turned into a fest fit for the “Mushroom Capital of the World.” What’s the morel “morel” of this story? Be there when the family fun(gi) starts.
9/7–9/28 • Lewes
Where but in Lewes will you find a more exquisite exhibit all about H2O?
Week of Sept. 8-14
"Mitch Lyons: The Hand Translated"
9/8–2/2 • Wilmington
Wilmington opens the fall art scene with “Mitch Lyons: The Hand Translated.” The Philadelphia born-and-bred artist has brought such nuance and singularity to the art of print-making that he’s practically innovated the medium on a local level. With roots as a traditional potter, Lyons now identifies as “a clay person making prints.” See his very cool stuff at the Delaware Art Museum.
"The Hounds of the Baskervilles"
9/11–9/29 • Wilmington
Calling all sleuths! Sniff this one out: What do you call an exhilarating collision of slapstick comedy, absurdity and silliness brought to the stage with one magnifying class and a trifecta of theatrical invention? It’s “The Hounds of the Baskervilles,” Delaware Theatre Company-style. This three-man production is a makeover of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved entry into the Sherlock Holmes canon.
Art & Jazz Festival
9/14 • Selbyville
The Art & Jazz festival at The Freeman Stage at Bayside is not to be missed. Stroll the green and ogle the artwork of Delmarva’s finest artists. Get your fill of art? Groove to some of the most talented jazz artists to ever play at the shore—Joe Baione, The Lao Tizer Quartet and Jane Bunnett. The music starts at 11 a.m.
9/14 • Wilmington
It’s a special day at Winterthur, when local conservation groups celebrate all that is nature and environment in the First State. Enjoy talks, walks, family fun, and demos and workshops that highlight the natural resources we’re lucky to have here in our own backyard. Come get wild at Winterthur.
9/14–11/3 • Chadds Ford, Pa.
Add some (calorie-free!) culture to your trick-or-treat bag this year with a visit to the Brandywine River Museum of Art when it hosts “Reality Reassembled: The Halloween Paintings of Peter Paone.” Longtime Philly artist Paone has a thing for Halloween, which he likens to a “day of denial.” Utilizing jewel tones and textured surfaces, Paone’s paintings bring unsettling concepts to bootiful, thought-provoking fruition.
Week of Sept. 15-21
Chester County Restaurant Festival
9/15 • West Chester, Pa.
It’s okay to party over state lines, particularly when downtown West Chester is the one sending out the invites. Local bands jam in the streets as 60-plus restaurants serve up their tastiest eats.
Hagley Car Show
9/15 • Wilmington
Get those engines ready. More than 500 antique and restored cars dating from the early 1900s to the 1990s will serve as some serious eye candy at Hagley. Stay for the vehicle parades, motoring music, go-kart racing and food. This year’s theme: “Rolling Elegance: Luxury Automobiles.”
Brewing for Books
9/20 • Middletown
In case you haven’t heard, big things continue to happen in little Middletown. Haven’t yet taken a spin around Main Street? We can think of no better evening than this, when best-backyard-in-town (no contest) Volunteer Brewing Co. hosts a fundraiser for the fabulous new 25,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art library planned for primo Middletown real estate. The book-themed evening is for adults and littles—there’ll be readings, literary-based games and activities, live jams and snack— and the best brew in town. While it’s not suggested you come dressed as your favorite book character, why not be a little extra?
Delaware in Love
9/20 • Wilmington
This year, Del Shakes wonders, “Did my heart love till now?” The Delaware in Love fundraiser invites you to put your spin on the Bard’s legendary tales of star-crossed lovers to raise funds for Delaware Shakespeare’s efforts to make Delaware + classical theatre = forever baes. The event will feature first-state couples like Gov. Jack and Carla Markell, and it happens at OperaDelaware.
9/20–9/22 • Newark
While we’re kinda bummed its already time for Oktoberfest—which means auf wiedersehen, bikinis—we’re pumped to celebrate two critical things: German heritage and the return of boot season. Get your fill of authentic German foods and beverages, dancers, music, amusement rides and games at the Delaware Saengerbund on Salem Church Road. And speaking of das boot, be sure to bring yours from years’ past and fill’er up (you know you have one). Hope the lederhosen is back from the dry cleaner: This is the seasonal transition party of the year.
Week of Sept. 22-28
Drag Diva Brunch
9/22 • Wilmington
Calling all Samanthas, Mirandas, Carries and Charlottes—this month’s Drag Diva Brunch at The Queen is all about our beloved girl gang. This family-friendly—yep, the kiddos are welcome—event features an all-star cast of queens, headlined by Mimi Imfurst of RuPaul’s Drag Race Allstars fame. Sometimes naughty, never raunchy, but always fun.
Governor’s Construction Career Expo 2019
9/23 • Wilmington
The construction industry has added over 2,000 jobs in the past two years—that's why Gov. Carney is hosting a Construction Career Expo for those interested in learning about careers and apprenticeship opportunities in the construction trades. The event is free to attend and kicks off at the Chase Center on the Riverfront at 3 p.m.
"August: Osage County"
9/26–10/13 • Newark
Want to be a voyeur at the family reunion from hell? Then the UD Resident Ensemble Players has you covered with “August: Osage County.” When family patriarch Beverly Watson slips into a muggy summer night and doesn’t come back, his sister-in-law and three daughters head to the family estate to stabilize the family’s pill-popping, manipulative matriarch, Violet. Wine will be poured. Insults will fly. And decades-old wounds will reopen in this rich, brilliant, Pulitzer-Prize-winning black comedy about family, trauma and going home again.
9/27 • Wilmington
Break out the flannels and the Jncos: It’s time to grunge it back to the ’90s with this tribute to Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Hole and more. Trust us—it’ll be the bomb.
Delaware Symphony Orchestra
9/27 • Wilmington
Break out your boho best. The musical fall at DSO kicks off at The Grand with “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Devoted to Dvorak, Bohemian tunes, folk dances and a sunny vibe permeate his ever-popular 8th Symphony. Violinist Tessa Lark will kill with her supple virtuosic violin concerto, and A.I. duPont Prize-winner Missy Mazzoli, a musical juxtaposition of tenderness and fire, will blow open the show.
The History Book Festival
9/27-9/29 • Lewes
Calling all history buffs, hardcore or casual—join the first town in the first state’s first book festival in the country solely dedicated to history. At the History Book Festival in Lewes, hear the work of more than 20 new and established authors of current nonfiction, fiction and children’s literature steeped in history. You’ll flip for this one-two keynote punch: Pulitzer Prize winner and former WaPo writer Ken Atkinson (author of the must-read historical nonfiction book of the season, The British Are Coming) gets opening address honors, while literary fiction super woman Alice Hoffman—squee!—closes things out with a discussion of her new book, The World That We Knew, a singular entry into the WWII historical fiction canon (we are here for the magical realism.) Get literary in Lewes, but might be best to make this an adults-only outing.
Art on the Green
9/28 • New Castle
What could be better than spending a late September day along the banks of the Delaware River at Battery Park in gorgeous Historic New Castle? How about if 200 crafters, artists and vendors joined you? Yep. We thought that might sell you. PS: We’ve peeped this year’s vendor list—make sure there’s room in the car for lots of goodies.
Science Saturday – Pop Goes the Roll Mill
9/28 • Wilmington
Not for the faint of heart: Watch the kids learn how and why things explode, and how to build a structure that will control the direction of an explosion. We recommend not trying this at home, and we’ll guarantee you this—they sure won’t be asking for tech time today.
Wine & Dinosaurs
9/29 • Wilmington
Beware the Wineosaurus Rex at the Delaware Museum of Natural History’s annual fundraising fêtê—this Jurassic beast brings a reign of terror wherever he goes, whether he’s clutching his glass by the bulb, popping ice cubes into his wine, or—scariest of all—ostentatiously swirling. Come on down, anyway, to sample wine, craft beers and hors d’oeuvres while bidding on silent auction items to benefit the museum—just keep a close eye on your surroundings.
Throughout the month
Rebecca Raubacher: Drawings & Paintings
Thru. 10/20 • Dover
Locally celebrated and regionally esteemed artist Rebecca Raubacher hosts her first one-woman show at The Biggs. The show, a love letter to Raubacher’s unique drawing style, traces the evolution of the artist’s nuanced technique.
Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
Thru. 10/27 • Manheim, Pa.
Get a big taste of Elizabethan life on weekends and Labor Day Monday at Mount Hope Estate and Winery.
"Follies: Architectural Whimsy in the Garden"
Thru. 1/5/20 • Wilmington
There’s no better time than sweet summer to step into the imaginative and entertaining world of garden follies at Winterthur. Explore a fantastic display of contemporary and historic architectural features—from a Gothic-inspired tower to American summerhouses to a faerie cottage and more—all set within the majestic beauty of Henry Francis du Pont’s 60-acre garden. This irresistible garden exhibition, featuring thirteen unique vignettes, offers a one-of-a-kind outdoor experience with a twist of fun.