The arrival of spring signals the beginning of the festival season in Greater Wilmington & the Brandywine Valley. There’s a lot to enjoy including a brand new OperaDelaware festival, three special events on Mother’s Day Weekend, and of course, lots of spring blooms.
Go Ape! At Lums Pond State Park
(April 1 – May 30)
Go Ape Lums Pond is Delaware’s first and only zip line and treetop adventure course. Set within beautiful Lums Pond State Park in Bear, Delaware, the course includes 4 zip lines all taking you over Lums Pond, the largest freshwater pond in Delaware! The views are simply stunning as you zip over the water from one side of the pond to the next. More than just a canopy tour, the course is made up of numerous rope ladders, 42 exciting crossings to include the Double Stirrups, Zigzag Trapeze, Flying Carpet and Canyon Crossing, 2 Tarzan swings and 5 zip lines. The entire course consists of over 2,191 feet worth of zip lines, providing some of the longest zip-lining experiences in the state and region!
Celebrity Chefs’ Brunch (April 17)
World renowned and award-winning chefs alongside local favorites demonstrate their culinary talents during the annual Celebrity Chefs’ Brunch. This popular event is held in the prestigious Hercules Plaza, a 12-story high-rise building in Downtown Wilmington overlooking beautiful Brandywine Park. From 11 AM until 2 PM on Sunday, enjoy exquisite cuisine complimented by fine wines and brunch cocktails and an exciting silent auction. Proceeds from this event benefit Meals on Wheels Delaware.
Wildflower Celebration at Mt. Cuba Center (April 24)
Mt. Cuba Center is one of the country’s premier native plant gardens and the annual Wildflower Celebration is an opportunity to experience the Mt. Cuba Center at its seasonal peak. Spectacular vistas, formal gardens, woodland paths, meadows and tranquil ponds grace this 600-acre property. On Sunday, April 24th, admission is free and visitors are treated to live music, family-friendly programming and a variety of informative gardening demonstrations from 10 AM to 4 PM.
Wilmington Flower Market in Rockford Park (May 5-7)
Highlights of this three-day event in Rockford Park include expansive plant sales, many of which are donations from local gardens, colorful hanging flower baskets, crafts, vendors, games, carnival rides, mouth-watering foods and plenty of live entertainment. Proceeds from the Flower Market have been supporting Delaware’s children for over 95 years.
Wilmington Garden Day (May 7)
Held rain or shine, Wilmington Garden Day is a one day, self-guided tour of some of the Brandywine Valley’s most distinctive homes and gardens. It’s the perfect way to get new decorating ideas—both inside and outside.
Point-to-Point Steeplechase Races at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (May 8)
This annual event features exciting horse races, an antique carriage parade, lavish tailgate picnics, special demonstrations, pony rides and a variety of children’s games all in the setting of an American country estate.
2016 OperaDelaware Festival (May 14-May 22)
OperaDelaware’s 72nd season culminates in a festival on consecutive weekends in May when OperaDelaware brings two full-scale productions to the stage at The Grand Opera House in Downtown Wilmington. The East Coast premiere of Franco Faccio’s lost opera Amleto (“Hamlet”), painstakingly reconstructed by Anthony Barrese after 145 years and directed by E. Loren Meeker, is scheduled on May 14, May 20 and May 22. Verdi’s timeless Falstaff, conducted by Maestro Giovanni Reggioli and featuring baritone Steven Condy and internationally acclaimed sopranos Victoria Cannizzo and Sharin Apostolou, is scheduled on May 15 and May 21.
Wilmington Gran Fondo (May 15)
Cycling enthusiasts return to Wilmington for the annual Gran Fondo. Both amateurs and professionals participate in Sunday’s Gran Fondo, Medio Fondo or Governor’s Ride over spectacular 62-, 30- or 15-mile courses mapped through the Brandywine Valley’s glorious chateau country. The Gran Fondo starts and finishes at the Delaware Art Museum where the after-party is held.
A Day in Old New Castle (May 21)
This is the nation’s oldest, continuously running house and garden tour. Residents in the charming 350+-year-old town along the Delaware River open their homes and carefully tended gardens to the public. There’s also a full complement of historical re-enactments, military maneuvers and encampments, craft demonstrations, storytelling, period games, colonial dancing, music and even a beer garden.
Bellefonte Arts Festival (May 21)
The 8th Annual Bellefonte Arts Festival is a celebration of local art and music. Visit the shops, and café of Bellefonte, while you explore more than fifty local artists and artisans with unique handcrafted items. Hear toe-tapping, hip swaying live music, while seated in the shade of the big music tent while filling up with the culinary arts of the food truck food court.