The First State is renowned for its unique fabulous festivals, fairs, and special events! Each season offers a special blend of excitement attracting adventure seekers, music lovers, foodies, wine and ale connoisseurs, and those with a fondness for nature, the arts and culture. Every year, people come from far and wide to enjoy their favorite festivities, which have become annual traditions for many visiting tour groups.
Come to Delaware in May and behold the finest show of azaleas at Winterthur’s eight-acre Azalea Woods, H. F. du Pont’s masterpiece of color, harmony, and naturalistic design! Visit the Capital City for the Dover Days Festival, a multi-day event attracting over 25,000 people to celebrate the city’s rich history and heritage, community spirit, and Colonial and Victorian traditions. Commemorating its 80th anniversary the first weekend in May, this jampacked event is host to over 300 craft and food vendors, parades, maypole dancing, fireworks, and a plein air arts festival!
May is also a time to celebrate horseshoe crabs and migrating shorebirds long considered by many as the wonder of the Delaware Bay! The Horseshoe Crab and Shorebird Festival is held at Milton Memorial Park and Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, where birdwatchers can witness nature at its best in a tranquil, scenic sanctuary for migrating birds and endangered species. Bask in the sun and breathe in the fresh air during a river boat ride, canoe trip, or trail walk!
At the end of May, thrill-seekers can enjoy the first of two NASCAR race weekends held in Delaware at the Dover International Speedway! Race car fans can experience the excitement of the race on the Monster Mile – the fastest oval in the world!
Usher in the summer with outdoor music fests and cultural events! In June, the Firefly Music Festival returns to the 87-acre Woodlands nestled within the Dover International Speedway’s 840-acre sports campus. Last year’s inaugural event drew visitors from 48 states with its easy access and bus-friendly parking! This three-day spectacular event featured 48 national musical acts on four stages including headliners such as The Killers, The Black Keys, Jack White, and John Legend.
Another June favorite is the DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival—a free, outdoor music festival held at Rodney Square in the heart of downtown Wilmington. This weeklong event is a tribute to the jazz legend, Clifford Brown, and features world-class musicians.
Ending out the summer in early September is the Nanticoke Indian Pow-wow, a cultural gathering in Millsboro where native traditions are passed down from generation to generation. Enjoy the native garb and fare, singing chants, and the beat of the drum as the dancers reflect their tribal heritage in the form of song and Native American dance.
The fall is prime season for sports championships, wine and beer festivals, and holiday events! Visitors flock to the First State for the September tripleheader NASCAR race at the Dover International Speedway.
October is peak time for fall festivals with plenty of fun, food, beverages and entertainment! Indulge all of your senses at the Delaware Wine and Beer Festival held in Kent County, Brandywine Arts Festival held at Brandywine Park’s Josephine Gardens in Wilmington, Bridgeville Apple-Scrapple Festival, and Rehoboth Beach Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddler’s Festival.
Music lovers are sure to enjoy the phenomenal talent at the annual October Rehoboth Jazz Festival! Visitors can tap to the rhythm and dance to the beat of a host of well-known bands and musical entertainers spread throughout the town and surrounding areas. Throughout the weekend, local restaurants and pubs feature live complimentary entertainment; tickets for special performances are available for advance purchase. Lastly, the Lewes Boast the Coast Maritime Festival is a popular draw with a lighted boat parade, maritime displays, boat tours, seafood tastings, a craft show, and sidewalk sale.
The award-winning Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival has become a premiere, Mid-Atlantic cultural event! In early November, film fans can see their films of choice during a five-day festival showcasing close to 100 of the best American and international feature films, documentaries, and short films in a convenient multi-screen location.
The fun doesn’t end in the fall! After visiting the dazzling display of 500,000 lights at the remarkable neighboring Longwood Gardens, visit Delaware’s winter wonderland and take pleasure in Christmas at Hagley, Yuletide at Winterthur, and Christmas in Odessa. Experience the traditions of Christmas past, take in the splendor of decorated trees and exquisite room and food displays, take part in family Christmas activities, and enjoy walking tours of historic homes!
Check off your Christmas list and buy more gifts for less with Delaware’s tax-free savings. When the holidays have passed, you can look forward to the March Rehoboth Chocolate Festival! At the heart of this delicious festival is a chocolate baking contest where visitors can delight in the delectable morsels of everything chocolate!
As you can see, Delaware offers festivals that are ideally suited for all types of group audiences and special interests. Oftentimes, events are free to the public. To determine the best group-tour friendly events for your targeted market and to learn more about Delaware’s diverse attractions, hotels, and restaurants, visit www.VisitDelaware.com.
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