Best Bets: Going forth on the Fourth without fireworks

On Saturday, July 4, historical interpreters, dressed in replica period clothing, will recite the Declaration of Independence near the spot where the document was first read to the citizens of Dover in 1776. (Submitted photo)

With subdued Fourth of July celebrations this year, Saturday doesn’t look to be the celebratory day that our nation’s birthday usually brings due to concerns over the coronavirus.

Over 78 percent of Americans will spend less money this Fourth of July compared to last year as the country slowly reopens in the wake of COVID-19, according to WalletHub’s nationally representative Coronavirus and Fourth of July Survey.

Only 25% of Americans’ summer plans were kept, while 37% were postponed and 38% were canceled. and this July 4, 74% of Americans will not travel.

Despite all of that, there are still plenty of things you can do, online or in person this weekend to celebrate patriotism. Here’s a look:

First Saturday

Due to current coronavirus restrictions, the Delaware Public Archives has moved its popular First Saturday program series to an online format.

July’s presentation focuses on the 2nd Delaware Volunteer Infantry, a prominent Delaware Regiment during the American Civil War.

The program will be available beginning today at noon on the Delaware Public Archives website at

Presented by Delaware Public Archives staff member Taylor Reynolds, the program begins with the formation of the 2nd Regiment in Wilmington in 1861, and follows the unit as it earned a distinguished reputation within the Army of the Potomac until it was mustered out of service in the summer of 1864.

The program is divided into three parts. For more information, contact Tom Summers at (302) 744-5047 or e-mail

Mr. Reynolds, is a processing archivist at the Delaware Public Archives who has been an American Civil War reenactor for eight years. Graduating from Wesley College in 2019 with a degree in American History, Mr. Reynolds transcribed the personal diary of Gen. Thomas Smyth while earning his undergraduate degree.

Currently, he is working toward a degree in Library Sciences with a Concentration in Archival Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is a member of the Living History Society of Delaware, serving as the group’s president since 2017. He also serves on the board of directors for the Fort Delaware Society and is a member of The Liberty Rifles Civil War Living History group. In 2018, he led the effort to acquire the Abram Draper Papers that were donated to the Delaware Public Archives.

The program will also be repeated Saturday at noon on the First State Heritage Park website.

Also, in celebration of the nation’s birthday, historical interpreters, dressed in replica period-clothing, will recite the Declaration of Independence aloud Saturday from near the spot where the document was first read to the citizens of Dover on July 29, 1776.

Visitors will listen to the recitation of the Declaration of Independence Saturday from The Green, directly in front of The Old State House in Dover.

The readings will take place on Saturday at 2 and 4 p.m., outdoors in front of The Old State House, located at 25 The Green in Dover. Programs will commence with the ringing of The Old State House bell 13 times in honor of the original 13 states, followed directly by a recitation of the declaration adopted by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.

The declaration announced that the American colonies, then at war with Great Britain, were now independent states and thus, no longer part of the British Empire. The program is free and open to the public. Additional information is available by calling 302-744-5054.

Visitors will listen to the recitation from The Green, directly in front of The Old State House. In keeping with Gov. Carney’s Phase 2 guidance regarding the coronavirus pandemic, visitors must maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from any individual who is not a member of their household. A cloth face covering must also be worn if maintaining 6 feet of physical distance between individuals of different households is impracticable.

In addition to the Declaration of Independence readings, The Old State House and the nearby Johnson Victrola Museum, located at 375 S. New St., will be open on July 4 for 30-minute self-guided tours by reservation only.

Old State House self-guided tours are available at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Johnson Victrola Museum self-guided tours are available at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Call 302-744-5054 for reservations at either venue.

Completed in 1791, The Old State House is one of the earliest capitol buildings in the nation, serving as the home of Delaware’s legislature until 1933 when the General Assembly moved to larger quarters in Legislative Hall.

The venerable structure now appears as it would have in the late 1700s during the United States’ critical early years as an independent country. It features a courtroom, governor’s and county offices and chambers for the state’s Senate and House of Representatives. The building is situated on Dover’s historic Green, a public area designated by William Penn in 1683. The Green is a partner site of the First State National Historical Park.

In-person programming will also be offered in the form of limited, pre-reserved, 45-minute guided walking tours of historic downtown Dover. To book your guided walking tour, call 302-739-9194.

The Biggs Museum of American Art will be giving a virtual tour of its Hudson River School Gallery and leading a cut-paper activity showcasing the American landscape Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Biggs’ Facebook Live page.

The bag of needed art supplies can be picked up at the John Bell House on The Green on Saturday.

For questions about this program contact or call 302-274-2111 Ext. 104.

Patriotic music

On Saturday, starting at 2 p.m., the Carillon of the First Presbyterian Church of Milford will be playing a selection of patriotic music celebrating our country’s 244th birthday.

The music is best heard in the immediate vicinity of the church at 101 S. Walnut St., Milford. The concert is free.

Stand Up Delaware

Although the city of Dover’s Fourth of July parade and fireworks have been canceled, Stand Up Delaware will hold a “Stand up for the Red, White and Blue” celebration for America outdoors on Legislative Mall in Dover Saturday from noon until 3 p.m.

The event is a collaboration between Stand Up Delaware and Dover City Councilman David Anderson for a nonpolitical, nonpartisan positive event that will celebrate the 244th birthday of the United States and acknowledge the efforts of all who protect the freedoms that citizens enjoy, including veterans, police, fire and first responders.

It will include music by a disc jockey, greetings by local officials, prayers for unity by local pastors and some paid booths by organizations and food and other vendors. A raffle and auction will be included. Dave Skocik, president of the Delaware Veterans Coalition, will serve as the emcee.

Event proceeds will go toward repairing the Delaware Law Enforcement Memorial on Legislative Mall that was defaced in June.

The event is free and social distancing and face masks in compliance with recommended COVID-19 restrictions are encouraged.

Stand Up Delaware co-founder Lisa Marie McCulley encourages everyone to wear something patriotic and bring American flags.

Run for it

Join the Camden VFW Post 3238 for a special run/walk event over this Independence Day weekend.

The post’s Firecracker Virtual 5K will honor America’s combat veterans and celebrate the nation’s independence, Post Adjutant Marc Garduno said.

“This is a great event you can do on your own, at any time, in any way you choose,” Mr. Garduno said.

Participants can complete their 5K any time from today through Monday, he said. You can register online at

The cost is $25 per person plus a $3.16 processing fee.

Medals and certificates will be awarded, and can be picked up at the VFW post at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 21.

Contributions to the Virtual 5K will allow the VFW to continue its mission to foster camaraderie among US veterans of foreign conflicts, to serve America’s veterans, the military and those in our communities and to advocate on behalf of all veterans

Weekend at Milton

The Milton Theatre is a planning a night of standup comedy today starting at 8 p.m.

Tonight’s headliner is LaTice Mitchell, a comedian from South Jersey. She has been doing stand up comedy since January 2009 and has performed in Las Vegas for the World Series of Comedy, on ABC’s “The View,” along with being picked by the late David Brenner himself to tour in his “Comedy Stars Of Tomorrow.”

Featuring will be Bob Marsdale, a former radio DJ who has appeared at the Tropicana, Taj Mahal, Mohegan Sun, and Parx casinos. He is known for his impersonations and observational humor.

Host Keith Purnell is from Dover. He performs at comedy clubs across the country and has appeared on television and in movies. He was a winner in the Howard Stern “Kill or Be Killed” Comedy Competition and was the Philadelphia Regional winner in the Sierra Mist Next Great Comic Comedy Competition. He has also had appearances on “Last Comic Standing.”

Ticket availability is limited for social distancing measures. Audience size is limited to 30% of capacity, with safety procedures in place for both staff and audience members.

Tickets are $11-13. Purchase your tickets online at, via phone by calling 302-684-3038 or at the box office at 110 Union St.

On Saturday, Mr. Purnell with celebrate Independence Day with a socially distanced dance party.

An 80s Dance Party will be held next to the Broadkill River at Milton Theatre’s Quayside from 7 to 10 p.m.

Participants are asked to bring your own chair or arrive early for a seat at the Quayside furniture.

The Milton Theatre Quayside features a beer garden serving beer, wine, and slushie spiked drinks.

Glow and light-up party favors will be available for purchase.

The Milton Theatre Food Stall will feature Kobe beef hot dogs, jalapeno/cheese hot dogs, popcorn, fresh baked cookies and brownies, soft drinks, water with Fourth of July-themed drink and snack specials.

In case of inclement weather, the event will be moved inside the theater with social distancing.

Tickets are $10

Now Showing

New on DVD and download starting Tuesday is “Trolls World Tour: Dance Party Edition.”