Lyn Lewis
Twitter: @LynLewisGWCVB
100 West 10th Street, Suite 20
Wilmington, DE 19801
P: 302-295-2212
F: 302-652-4726

Three Unique Holiday Festivals in the Greater Wilmington Area


Wilmington, Delaware (November 12, 2013) - There are three very unique holiday festivals in the Greater Wilmington, Delaware Area:  Christmas in Odessa, Sankta Lucia Celebration and Spirit of Christmas.

Christmas in Odessa

Approximately 30 minutes south of the City of Wilmington is the tiny residential community of Odessa.  Known as Cantwell's Bridge until 1855, the town developed as a thriving commercial center and then went into a decline after the construction of the railroad in the mid-nineteenth century.  Today, Odessa is a tranquil residential town with pristine colonial buildings, tree-lined streets, brick sidewalks and a population slightly more than 300.  Throughout the year, five of the town's most distinguished properties are operated by the Historic Odessa Foundation and offer a unique and well-documented picture of 18th- and 19th-century lifestyles and architecture.  From November 13 through January 5, a whimsical note is added; the Historic Houses of Odessa are decorated with a storybook theme and this year's choice is A Madeleine Christmas.  But the first Saturday in December is very special in Odessa.  For 49 years, the entire town has celebrated Christmas in Odessa and once again on Saturday, December 7, will continue this tradition.  During Christmas in Odessa, the Historic Houses of Odessa and many private homes will be dressed for the season and open to the public for tours.  The day's festivities include a Christmas Craft & Antique Show, Tea in Old St. Paul's Church, caroling, bell ringing, an organ recital, a Fife & Drum performance and a wonderful fresh greens sale.  The event is organized by the Women's Club of Odessa, the greens are gathered by members of the Electric Company who prune the town's magnolia and holly trees on the weekend before the event, the greens are then bundled by local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and the proceeds from Christmas in Odessa are used to support scholarship programs in the Appoquinimink School District.  It's truly a community effort.

Sankta Lucia Celebration

One of Wilmington's most unique yuletide traditions is the Sankta Lucia Celebration which will be held on Sunday, December 8, in Old Swedes Church which was built in 1798 on what is now the Seventh Street Peninsula in Wilmington.  This moving celebration combines two traditions-the pagan ritual of worshipping the Sun God at Midwinter and the Christian Christmas.  Lucia, surrounded by costumed children, comes down the church's aisle on the darkest morning of the year with candlelight in her hair.  Afterwards, guests are invited next door to experience A Swedish Christmas in the Hendrickson House Museum.

Spirit of Christmas in Historic New Castle

The Greater Wilmington Area is steeped in history  as a visit to Historic New Castle quickly attests.   Located a few minutes south of the city of Wilmington, Historic New Castle, Delaware's Williamsburg, hosts the Spirit of Christmas on the second Saturday in December .    Historic New Castle is very special because it has more historic and preserved buildings than Colonial Williamsburg, but unlike Colonial Williamsburg, Historic New Castle is a fully occupied, vibrant community on the banks of the Delaware River about  10 minutes south of the City of Wilmington.  On December 14, Historic New Castle will once again celebrate the Spirit of Christmas.  It's an exceptional opportunity to go inside many of the town's historic private homes and museums, all of which are decorated for a colonial Christmas complete with music, carolers, carriage rides, tree lighting and there's a chance to meet Santa Claus strolling down a cobblestone path.  Later in the evening, the Read House, Amstel House and the Old Dutch House will offer candlelight tours.

Photos available upon request.

The Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau is a non-profit organization founded in 1978, chartered by the Governor of Delaware, the New Castle County Executive and the Mayor of Wilmington. Its mission is to serve as the community's customer-focused destination marketing organization, generating economic growth through leisure travel and meetings development by aggressively marketing attractions, facilities, amenities and services for visitors.