Best Bets: Area entertainment calendar packed for 2020

As we ring in the new year, let’s see what we know about the upcoming year in entertainment offerings.

Cheap Trick will bring their hits and more to Dover Downs’ Rollins Center Feb. 8 at 8 p.m.

•When it comes to the 2020 Firefly Music Festival, there’s only really one thing we do know so far. The festival is going back to its four-day format, scheduled for June 18-21.

Last year was the first festival produced by AEG Live after acquiring it from longtime producer Red Frog Events. They decided it would go back to a three-day affair just has it had been in its early years. But in 2020 it’s back to four days.

No entertainment lineup has been announced but it is expected soon. Last year at this time, we had word of who would be playing this year’s Firefly. As it turned out, Panic at the Disco!, Travis Scott and Post Malone were the headlines.

By all accounts, attendance rose slightly over the past couple of years at Firefly.

For more information, visit FireflyFestival.com.

•Fresh off a very successful 100th anniversary year, the Delaware State Fair comes back in 2020 from July 23 to Aug. 1.

This year’s slogan is Homegrown Summer Fun.

There is only one musical act that has been announced so far and that is Christian hip-hop artist TobyMac. He will perform with Love & the Outcome on Tuesday, July 28 in the M&T Bank Grandstand.

Once a member of the Christian group, DC Talk, he has garnered seven Grammy Awards, six gold records from his solo career, an American Music Award, has twice been named Artist of the Year at the Dove awards, BMI songwriter of the year and has numerous other accolades to his credit.

Tickets are $20-$60 (plus service fee). Fans can upgrade to a VIP package for $150. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Christian hip-hop recording artist TobyMac plays the Delaware State Fair next year.

Tickets can be obtained at DelawareStateFair.com.

•Dover Downs’ Rollins Center has a host of shows already on the docket for 2019.

Jan. 10 sees R&B superstar Keith Sweat, classic rockers Cheap Trick play Feb. 8, MJ Live: A Michael Jackson Tribute Concert is set for March 6, Comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” regular Jay Mohr entertains on March 13, and country artist Tyler Farr is set for April 10.

All shows start at 9 p.m. except for Cheap Trick, which is at 8. For tickets and more information, visit Dover Downs.com.

•At Harrington Casino, their Gold Room Premiere Series sees Double Vision: The Ultimate Foreigner Experience on Jan. 25 and Shadows Of The 60s: A Tribute To Motown’s Super Groups on Feb. 29. Both shows will be at 6 and 8:30 p.m.

The casino’s Gold Room Live on Stage Series will welcome Tom Sadge as Neil Diamond on Jan. 17 at 6 and 8:30 p.m. and Laugh Out Loud standup comedy on Feb. 14 at 8 p.m.

•The annual Dover Days is back for another year on May 2.

History, Heritage Hops, a beer and music festival on Loockerman Street, coincides with Dover Days from 3 to 9 p.m.

•The Amish Country Bike Tour, a cycling race throughout Kent County, consisting of 15-mile, 25-mile, 50-mile, 64-mile and 100-mile courses is set for Sept. 12.

•The Citywide Black History Celebration will take place throughout the month of February in different locations throughout Dover.

The 2020 Citywide Black History Celebration is sponsored by the Delaware State News and partners, Biggs Museum of American Art, Delaware State University, Inner City Cultural League, Dover Public Library, Sankofa Cultural Arts Center, and DonDel Productions.

•Dover Comic Con, presented by the Delaware State News, will be Aug. 15. The day is filled with speakers, demonstration, a costume contest, characters lurking throughout the downtown area and much more.

Dover Comic Con will return on Aug. 15. (Delaware State News file photo)

Aside from Firefly, other musical events will fill 2020.

•This year’s June Jam is set for June 13 at G & R Campground in Houston. Tickets go on sale Feb. 1.

Headlining this year will be the Tom Petty tribute band Damn the Torpedoes.

Rich Kubicz, who plays the role of Tom Petty in the show, has been playing guitar and singing since his early teens. By 2007, so many people had told him that he looked and sounded like Tom Petty that he decided to put together Damn The Torpedoes as a tribute to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

His goal was to play all of the studio hits, with live versions and some deep cuts to create the illusion of a Tom Petty concert performance.

Other acts signed up include local party band Petting Hendrix and Jason Morton and the Chesapeake Sons.

•The Delaware Friends of Folk has a slate of music ready to go in 2020.

The annual Delmarva Folk Festival in Kenton is a week later than usual next year due to NASCAR weekend occurring on the final weekend of September. So the festival will be Oct. 1-2 in 2020.

The Tom Petty tribute band Damn the Torpedoes headlines the 2020 June Jam festival on June 13 in Houston. Tickets go on sale on Feb. 1.

Old State House concerts will include CoroAllegro Jan. 10, Ronn McFarlane Feb. 14 and Joey Fulkerson March 13.

Coffeehouse shows at Bennett Chapel in Dover will feature Bruce Anthony with Sam Nobles Jan. 18, Bob Beach with Paul Wilkinson Feb. 15, Celtic Harvest March 21, Charlie Zahm with Tad Marks April 18 and Delmarva Folk Hero open mic nights on July 18 and Aug. 15.

• The all-female Ladybug Music Festival in Milford will be on Sept. 12.

• Blue Earl Brewing in Smyrna will celebrate its five-year anniversary on May 16, its annual Red, White and Blues festival on July 4, Beers, Rims and Notes car show, beer and music festival Sept. 5 and the second Shazizzle Music Fest on Oct. 10.

For more information, visit blueearlbrewing.com.

• On Jan. 12, the Central Delaware Blues Society will raise money to send this year’s Battle of the Bands winner, Slim and the Perkolators, to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis later in January.

The event, set for the American Legion Walter L Fox Post 2, 835 S Bay Road in Dover, will feature Slim and the Perkolators along with Bad Avenue, You Be You, Grey Fox Band, Barrelhouse and Nothin But Trouble.

The Central Delaware Blues Society awards the winning band of the International Blues Challenge competition a minimum of $1,500 for the trip. Additionally, CDBS will award the band another $500 if they hold a fundraiser themselves and make at least $500. There will be a 50/50 drawing and auctions. There is no cover for the event.

Doors open at noon, music starts at 1 p.m.

Area theaters and venues have events planned as well.

•At the Smyrna Opera House, Lights Out: A Tribute to Frankie Valli, set for Feb. 15, is sold out.

But tickets are still available for Motown Review featuring On the Edge on Feb. 29, Celtic Harvest March 14, and Sinatra 101: The Tales Behind the Tunes with Sean Reilly on March 28.

For tickets and more information, visit SmyrnaOperaHouse.org.

•The Milton Theatre has a busy year planned. Highlights include McCartney: Yesterday and Today Jan. 3, Shamarr Allen and The Underdogs Jan. 24, the Janis Joplin tribute Just Like Janis on Feb. 6, The Brit Pack Feb. 22, comedy and magic with Andy Gross March 13, Nightrain: The Guns and Roses Experience March 26, Kat Wright April 3, “Godspell” April 10-12, Linda Ronstadt Experience with “American Idol” contestant Tristan McIntosh May 1, Magic of Motown April 28, The Rock Orchestra: The Music of Elton John June 6, “America’s Got Talent” comedian Julia Scotti June 11, Rael: The Music of Genesis and Peter Gabriel July 18, “Spring Awakening” Aug. 7-9 and Beatlemania Now Aug. 15.

For more information, visit MiltonTheatre.com.

Local theater groups have their seasons scheduled.

•The Kent County Theatre Guild is back to a seven-show run over three weekends with a Sunday matinee on the second weekend.

“Steel Magnolias” will kick off the year starting Feb. 21; The mystery “Cliffhanger” debuts April 24, the Stephen Sondheim musical comedy “A Funny thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” starts July 17, the Neil Simon comedy “Laughter on the 23rd Floor begins Sept. 25 and the comedy “The Red Velvet Cake War” close the year out starting Dec. 4.

Sean Reilly will bring Sinatra 101 to the Smyrna Opera House on March 28. (Submitted photo)

Along with the plays, the Guild is into its third year of Patchwork Whoopee.

Folks write a 10-minute play based on theme of the month and toss the title in a basket. Those who would like to act toss their names in a basket. Plays are chosen randomly by the host for the evening and then the writer/director chooses their cast randomly (from those names in the basket). They then have two minutes to direct their cast. Plays that go over 10 minutes are allowed to finish but they are not eligible to be voted on for best play of the night.

The next one is Jan. 9.

KCTG shows are at the Patchwork Playhouse, 140 Roosevelt Ave., Dover. For more information, visit kctg.org.

•Main stage shows at Milford’s Second Street Players include the comedy “Moon Over Buffalo” starting Jan. 31, “Caught in the Net” April 17, the musical “Oliver” on July 17, Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man” on Sept. 11 and the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Nov. 27.

Shows run for two weekends, comprising six performances.

Second Street’s Riverfront Theater is at 2 S. Walnut St. in Milford.

For more information, visit secondstreetplayers.com.

•And finally, Dancing with the Delaware Stars, perhaps the biggest area social event of the year, is set for Jan. 25 at Dover Downs’ Rollins Center.

The event pairs local celebrities with professional dancers and benefits Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dover and Mom’s House of Dover.

VIP and event tickets are available at dwdstars.org.

That’s what we know so far. Keep an eye on this space for more fun throughout the year.

Now Showing

New this weekend in theaters is the remake of “Little Women,” Adam Sandler in a dramatic role in the acclaimed film “Uncut Gems” and the animated movie “Spies in Disguise.”