Wilmington, Delaware's Festival Season Shifts into High Gear with Summer's Approach
The Wilmington area boasts more than 100 festivals each year and some of the most anticipated events occur during June and July when there's a wonderful mix of ethnic celebrations, concerts and outdoor theatre performances. Here's a list of eight festivals that merit serious consideration.
Greek Festival (June 2-5)
The five-day festival celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year. It features ethnic music, dance performances, traditional garb, crafts and mouth-watering, authentic Greek cuisine personally prepared by the men and women of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. Delicacies include gyros, souvlaki, moussaka, pastichio and luscious desserts. The Greek Festival is held on the church's grounds and is open from 11AM to 11PM daily; admission is free.
Longwood Wine & Jazz Festival (June 6)
This popular event combines wines from some of the area's finest wineries with the sound of jazz artists performing live throughout the day and into the evening with one of the world's most beautiful gardens as a backdrop.
St. Anthony's Italian Festival (June 7-14)
Experience true Italian culture when this perennial favorite returns. The week-long, family-oriented festival is of the largest events of its kind on the East Coast. It's filled with classical music, opera, live Italian and contemporary music, string bands, strolling musicians, dancing, craft demonstrations and artisans selling their wares plus a full complement of traditional midway attractions, carnival rides and games of chance. The homemade pasta dinners, Italian specialties and delicious desserts are not to be missed.
DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival (June 13-20)
Recognized as the largest festival of its kind on the East Coast, this open air festival presents a mix of traditional jazz performances punctuated by fusion, funk, blues and rock. Sponsored by the DuPont Company and the City of Wilmington and held in Rodney Square in Downtown Wilmington, the festival traditionally brings some of the most exciting jazz artists to the stage. This year's headliners include Leon Jordan, Jr., Chuck Loeb, Jeff Lorber, Jason Marsalis, Jeremy Pelt, Tito Puenté, Jr. and Steve Turre. The festival is free, open to the public and held rain or shine.
New Castle County Ice Cream Festival at Rockwood (June 27-28)
This two-day country fair and picnic was featured in the Food Network's Eating in America series last year. The family-friendly event, which returns to Rockwood Park on the last weekend in June, showcases an array of specialty ice creams from local and regional dairies and culminates with the Best Sundae Competition. Live music on two stages, dozens of children's activities and a variety of food vendors make the festival Wilmington's most popular picnic.
Independence Day Celebration (July 4)
Spend the Fourth of July in Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park. This free all-day event includes lots of child-oriented attractions, rides, games, a great variety food including craft beer and wine vendors, live music performances on stage and ends with a dramatic 25-minute fireworks display over the Christina River.
Lady Bug Music Festival (July 16)
Music enthusiasts are expected to flock to the Second and Loma block on Market Street in Downtown Wilmington for a free concert and block party on Thursday evening. More than 40 acts are scheduled to perform on an outdoor stage and in local restaurants and businesses.
Delaware Shakespeare Festival (July 17-August 2)
Enjoy Shakespeare under the stars at beautiful Rockwood Park during the Delaware Shakespeare Festival. This year's featured production is Taming of the Shrew. Performances begin at 7:30 PM on Wednesday - Saturday and 6 PM on Sunday. Children under 10 are admitted free with a paid adult ticket.