Two of Delaware’s unique neighborhoods are bringing back traditional spring festivals.
A Day in Old New Castle and the Bellefonte Arts Festival both return Saturday, May 21.
The Old New Castle event celebrates its Colonial looks and history. It offers home, museum and church tours; food trucks; re-enactments; Colonial craftsmen; plein air artists; and a tour of the state tall ship, the Kalmar Nyckel, among other things. Admission is $25 for adults and $5 for children. Buy in advance here until May 19.
The Bellefonte Arts Festival celebrates that community’s settled Bohemian vibe as well as visual, food and performance art. It will offer food from Wildwich, Apple Flappen and The Polish Connection; and performance artists such as Diamond State Swing Jazz, Garry and the Complainers and What the Funk. Admission is $2 per person or $5 for a family of 3 or more. Advance tickets available here.
A Day in Old New Castle returns after being whacked for two years by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Bellefonte Arts Festival returns in full force after having a slimmed-down event last year.
The arts festival began in 2009 and became a way to unite the community north of Wilmington.
“It’s a joy to introduce our quaint, vibrant and unique slice of Delaware to visitors, and highlight all our Shops of Bellefonte,” said Scott MacKenzie, president of the Bellefonte Town Commission. “We forward to this event every year.”
This year’s festival will be bittersweet for Bellefonte Arts owner Valerie White. Her partner, Damon Betz, died since the last festival.
“We lost a person who was a huge part of the festival since its inception in 2009,” she said in a press release. “I’m thrilled that the festival will continue in his memory, and we want to make sure that May 21 is filled with his spirit, spunk, and passion.”
Betz performed with his band Black Cheese at the first festival and scheduled the performance line-up each year. He also provided barbeque for several years.
The 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. event takes place along Brandywine Boulevard between Maple and Marion avenues.
The 55 art vendors are expected to include photography, paintings, pen and ink sketches, handcrafted soaps and body products, garden art, bonsai, tie dye, jewelry, Bellevue Farm Market, pottery, candles, tabletop textiles, alcohol InkHand, blown glass, charcuterie boards, fresh farm flower bouquets and Apothecary skin care and herbal spells.
A Kids Korner will feature a Teddy Bear tea and the H. Fletcher Brown Boys and Girls Club Artistic Force Drill and Drum Team will parade through town.
For more information, go to www.bellefontearts.com.
Old New Castle
The 98th annual Day in Old New Castle is the country’s oldest home and garden tour event. For years, it was also the oldest continuously running one, not missing an episode for nearly nine decades.
It takes place throughout the town.
This year’s version will restart the tour of rarely open residential houses and gardens as well as tours of museums and churches there.
Costumed re-enactors will wander throughout the town, and visitors can wander through encampments of pirates and troops.
Those encampments include singing pirates, who will offer meet-and-greet opportunities; 1st Delaware Regiment encampment (Rev War) on the Green; 17th c New Amstel Dutch Regiment encampment and firing demo on the Green; and Fort Delaware Coronet Band and encampment on the Green.
Vendors will range from Old World Breads, Gigi and Cat, and For Woodness Sake to Kevin O’Malley Historical Drawings and Portraits
Children’s activities will be available on the Green, as will historic artisan demonstration. Historical ship cooking demonstrations will take place at the wharf.
Free parking and bus shuttle service is available from the nearby William Penn High School.
Bonus: All you wenches and colonial merchants get $1 off your ticket price if you dress in Colonial or Victorian period clothing.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
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