Brews, bells, and the first sighting of Santa in Sussex County

Fran Severn

For a small state, Delaware has made a big investment in the craft beer movement. With 17 breweries turning out enough ales, IPAs, and seasonal blends to fill the Delaware Bay, its influence reaches far beyond the state line.

It’s not just beer, either. Delaware’s quartet of wineries is well established and highly regarded. They are joined by four distilleries producing whiskey, rum, and vodka, and three presses turning out apple and other hard ciders. The newest alcoholic adventure is the opening of two meaderies. They produce honey wine, the party drink of choice for characters in Game of Thrones.

Insider tip: You can sample many of these at the Beer and Barrel Festival in Bridgeville, Del., on Nov. 12. From 11:00am–4:00pm, ticket holders who are 21 and older can enjoy unlimited samples from more than 20 of Delaware’s craft beverage producers.

The Beer and Barrel Festival in Bridgeville, Del., is a great opportunity to check out the state’s craft breweries, distilleries, and wineries.
The Beer and Barrel Festival in Bridgeville, Del., is a great opportunity to check out the state’s craft breweries, distilleries, and wineries.

What you’ll find

Of beers, Big Oyster boasts that its brews pair well with seafood. You can test that promise with food from one of the onsite vendors.

Award-winning 3rd Wave is one of the few breweries created and run by women. Local power-names EVO and Dogfish Head will share their signature brews and seasonal specialties, too.

Delaware’s newest winery, Harvest Ridge, takes advantage of the region’s Bordeaux-like climate to produce chardonnay, merlot, and malbec. Painted Stave Distillery plans to pour samples of its rye whiskey, vodka, and gin. Delaware Distilling Company also has spiced rum to sample.

Rebel Seed Cidery and Great Shoals Winery will both have fruit ciders, and Brimming Horn Meadery will introduce its honey wine to uninitiated palates.

The background beat for the festival will be provided by Mike Harris and The Look, known for their infectious, audience-grabbing mix of music, and Modern Day Addiction, another popular local rock band.

You can browse through the dozens of craft vendors on site.

The festival is at the Heritage Shores Golf Club.

Elsewhere in Seaford

Music of a completely different kind rings out — literally — on Nov. 13 when the Raleigh Ringers Handbell Choir performs at 3:00pm at Seaford Senior High School.

The internationally acclaimed group performs sacred, secular, and pop tunes with hand bells. There’s even a medley of rock ‘n’ roll tunes arranged for hand bells.

Year-round, the Seaford Museum takes visitors on a historic timeline from a local perspective. State-of-the-art immersive exhibits in a restored period post office tell the stories of natural resources, the Nanticoke tribe, black river pilots, and shipbuilding. Notorious Patty Cannon and her criminal empire get their due. Have fun with the first nylon spinning machine (a Delaware invention) and learn how the government spied on postal workers.

16-11 Seaford musicThe Seaford Historical Society also operates the Governor Ross Plantation. It tells the story of life in pre-Civil War Delaware, both for the governor and his family and the slaves who lived and worked there.

The plantation is open on weekends for tours. It re-creates a Victorian Christmas on Dec. 8–11 with decorations, refreshments, and traditional games and activities.

The first Saturday in December is a special one for Seaford.

The day starts with a town-wide street party, noon–5:00pm, with games, entertainment, food, and start-of-the-holiday-shopping-season specials at downtown stores.

The festivities continue with the annual Seaford Christmas Parade at 7:00pm.

One of the largest parades in the state, it features more than 150 bands floats, lighted displays, fire departments, and — of course — Santa Claus.

For more information:

Seaford Tourism: seafordchamber.com

 

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