Wilmington’s summer season kicks off with a festive start

Delaware’s largest city knows how to pull out all the stops.

Wilmington’s spring and summer events and festivals are not just harbingers of warm weather — many have also garnered national attention.

A matter of good taste

The Mid-Atlantic Wine and Food Festival, May 13–17, highlights local libations and cuisine at various locations in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

Chefs, winemakers, brewers, and foodies come together to celebrate stellar cuisine and fine wines at a festival extravaganza that includes brunches, lunches, tastings, and dinners in restaurants and memorable venues such as wineries, barns, and historic sites. Wilmington is a central hub for these events, which are either in town or a short drive away. (mawff.org)

Speed racers

The Wilmington Grand Prix and Gran Fondo, May 15–17, sends cyclists speeding on a course in Wilmington and a Gran Fondo ride into the countryside.Wilmington criterium Leslie Kipp

The U.S. Cycling Association has designated this grand prix as one of the country’s top 10 criterium races. The most common form of American racing, the criterium is a multi-lap race that is fast and easy to watch. Time trials start on Friday at the landmark Monkey Hill in Brandywine Park, a steep cobblestone hill that goes by the Brandywine Zoo’s monkey house. Men’s and women’s amateur and professional races are on Saturday.

Both amateurs and professionals participate in Sunday’s Gran Fondo, Medio Fondo, or Governor’s Ride over 62-, 30- or 15-mile courses that meander through the Brandywine Valley’s “Chateau Country,” so named for the magnificent estates that are sprinkled throughout the rolling hills. “It’s a once-a-year opportunity to bike through Hagley, Winterthur, and Mt. Cuba Center,” said Lynn Lewis, who promotes the area, naming three former du Pont sites that draw visitors from all over the world.

The race is complemented by a bike parade, and a street festival features live music, sidewalk sales, and food vendors. (wilmgrandprix.com)

Celebrating Greek and Italian roots

Two longtime and much-loved events run back-to-back this June. The Greek Festival is June 2–6 at Wilmington’s Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

Wilmington Greek Festival Leslie KippThe festival runs from 11:00am–11:00pm, so it covers the lunch, dinner, and late-night crowds. Expect ethnic music, dance performances in traditional garb, crafts, and Greek cuisine during the 40th annual version. (holytrinitywilmington.org)

The St. Anthony’s Italian Festival, June 7–14 at the St. Anthony of Padua Church, is one of the largest events of its kind on the East Coast.

This year, the festival celebrates the Abruzzo region. The event offers homemade pasta dinners, Italian goods, and desserts in a series of outdoor eateries.

Entertainment includes classical music, opera, live Italian and contemporary music, string bands, strolling musicians, and dancing. Kids always head for the midway attractions, carnival rides, and games of chance. (stanthonysfestival.com)

Cool tunes, hot nights

Jazz takes over downtown Wilmington’s Rodney Square June 13–20 during the free DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival.

The open-air event offers traditional jazz performances with a splash of fusion, funk, blues, and rock.

Headliners include Leon Jordan Jr., Chuck Loeb, Jeff Lorber, Jason Marsalis, Jeremy Pelt, Tito Puente Jr., and Steve Turre. “There will be after-concert parties in various places throughout the city,” Lewis says.

The festival is held rain or shine, and it’s just steps from several hotels. (cliffordbrownjazzfest.com)

For more information:

Wilmington Tourism: visitwilmingtonde.com

Stay and see with the Brandywine passport

The summer season again bring with it the value-laden Brandywine Treasure Trail Passport, which is good for one-time admission to 11 area attractions between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Participating Brandywine Valley attractions include the Brandywine River Museum of Art, Delaware Art Museum, Delaware Museum of Natural History, Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Hagley Museum and Library, Longwood Gardens, Mt. Cuba Center, Nemours Mansion and Gardens, Read House and Garden, Rockwood Mansion and Park, and Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library.

Individual passports are $45. Family passports, good for two adults and up to three children, are $95 — a savings of more than $300. Tickets may be purchased at area attractions or at visitwilmingtonde.com.

 

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