BEST BETS: Great Delaware Pumpkin Carve Festival set for fall

Temperatures may be in the 90s these days, but the Delaware State Fair and the Biggs Museum of American Art are already thinking fall.

The two announced Thursday that they will partner for a new open-air event called The Great Delaware Pumpkin Carve Festival.

The festival is an all-weather Halloween event that will take place at the fairgrounds under the roof in the Quillen Arena in Harrington.

Families can come check out a pumpkin trail of 50 carved pumpkins, each weighing from 150 to 300 pounds. The Biggs Museum and the Delaware State Fair are inviting creative pumpkin carvers ranging from first-time carvers to seasoned pros to come and carve pumpkins provided by the event weighing up to a whopping 300 pounds.

The festival will begin on Friday evening, Oct. 26 when the 50 enrolled carvers and their teams meet their assigned pumpkins for the first time and begin carving at 6 p.m. under the watchful eye of festival spectators who are invited to attend.

Besides watching giant pumpkins being sliced and diced and otherwise transformed into works of Halloween art, festival patrons can participate in spooky walk-through haunted barns (one themed for young children and the other a little more intense for teens and older patrons), hayrides, kids activities, including miniature pumpkin decorating, and more. Kids and adults are encouraged to come wearing their Halloween costumes.

The festival will continue into Saturday, Oct. 27, when the 50 carved pumpkins will be on display in a Halloween-themed holiday setting using hay bales and illumination.

“If you enjoy Halloween, The Great Delaware Pumpkin Carve Festival is guaranteed to be something special for families all across the peninsula and beyond. Mark your calendars for this not-to-be missed event that has something for everyone in the family,” said Bill DiMondi, general manager of the Delaware State Fair.

“There is nothing like this in Delaware and we are really excited to host this fun-filled family weekend in partnership with our friends at the Biggs Museum.”

The Biggs Museum in Dover is working with the Delaware State Fair to recruit first-time, amateur and well-seasoned local pumpkin carvers who always wanted to show off their talent using pumpkins much larger than the ones residing on most door steps and front porches.

Proceeds benefit program development at both Biggs Museum of American Art and The Delaware State Fair.

“We cannot wait to see what sort of inventive designs local artists and community members produce for this exhibition,” said Charles Guerin, executive director, Biggs Museum.

“Whether you’re a seasoned artist or just love carving pumpkins, we invite you to participate in this exhibition — but don’t wait too long, there are only 50 pumpkins available to carve.”

Festival-related events beyond the pumpkin carving and related displays will include hayrides, a bonfire, kids pumpkin decorating activities, Delaware-made crafts for sale, fall-themed food and beverage choices, and two versions of haunted barns. The fair’s Centre Ice Rink will be featuring spooky themed ice bumper cars rides as well.

For those 21 and over, fall seasonal craft beers, wines and ciders will be served.

RV campers can stay overnight and enjoy both days of the festival. Come prepared to decorate your campsite and walk away with one of several prizes rewarding the spookiest and most whimsical and creative decorating ideas.

Interested in throwing your hat in the ring and becoming an event pumpkin carver?

Carvers can include individuals, families, or a work group carving team. Carving opportunities are limited to the first 50 carvers who apply, so please sign up soon.

Local businesses are also invited to sponsor one of the giant pumpkins being transformed into works of art. Great Pumpkin Carve sponsorships are available for $100.

Advance tickets for the event are $7 for adults 13 and over or $10 at the gate. Tickets for youth 6 to 12 years are $3 in advance tickets and $4 at the gate. Children 5 and under are free.

Weekend passes for adults are $12 and $5 for youth. Children 5 and under are free.

For details on the event, contest participation and rules, sponsorship and RV camping information, visit DelawarePumpkinCarve.com.

Milton Theatre campaign kickoff

On Saturday, the historic Milton Theatre will officially launch the start of its $2.5 million capital campaign to renovate and introduce the necessary improvements to the structure of the building.

Sean Reilly will bring The Sinatra Centenninal Orchestra to the Milton Theatre Saturday night as part of the start of a $2.5 million capital campaign to improve the historic theater. A historical marker will also be unveiled Saturday night. (Submitted photo)

As part of the VIP reception program, the theatre will announce the unveiling and dedication of their official historical marker for the century-old building.

Donated by state Sen. Ernie Lopez, the marker will highlight the Milton Theatre as a historical landmark in Delaware.

Representatives from the Delaware Public Archives, which designed and approved the project, will attend the unveiling ceremony as well. The dedication and VIP reception runs from 7 to 8 p.m.

Following the dedication, the Milton Theatre will reveal the artist renderings and detailed renovation plans. This includes the addition of new balcony seating, marquee and more.

The VIP reception will host catering, champagne, live music, silent auction, plus a gallery featuring the history of the theatre.

Following the VIP reception, the Milton Theatre will host a Frank Sinatra tribute concert featuring Sean Reilly & The Sinatra Centennial Orchestra.

For tickets visit www.MiltonTheatre.com, call 684-3038 or visit the box office. The Milton Theatre is at 110 Union St.

James Day & the Fish Fry In Harmony

James Day & the Fish Fry will play tonight’s Dover Public Library In Harmony concert on Loockerman Way Plaza as part of First Friday festivities in downtown Dover.

James Day, a Southern blues artist from the Mississippi Gulf Coast town of Biloxi, spent his late 20s living in New Orleans sucking up all that Americana, New Orleans R&B, and blues.

One of his day jobs included being a crab-boil fish-fry man working at music festivals. The Fish Fry became the name of the band he put together after moving to Philadelphia.

Mr. Day, a singer and harmonica player, is backed by a group of musicians: Mark Shewchuk (guitars), Dave Young (bass, recording engineer), Ron Baldwin (piano, organ, accordion) and John Meriglano (drums).

With James Day and the Fish Fry, one can hear all styles of American roots music from New Orleans street parades, Cuban rumbas, swamp pop, zydeco, rockabilly, 1920s jug bands, down home Delta blues to that classic Chicago shuffle.

Attendees are asked to bring chairs or a blanket. In the event of rain, the concert will be held in the library at 35 E. Loockerman Plaza.

The Wheeland Brothers play the Big Chill Beach Club tonight. (Submitted photo)

Wheeland Brothers at Big Chill Beach Club

The Wheeland Brothers will kick off Big Chill Surf Cantina Summer Concert Series tonight in Bethany Beach.

Brothers Nate and Travis Wheeland are two Southern California beach rockers who grew up in Orange County surfing, scarfing down hole-in-the wall Mexican food, and jamming around beach bonfires.

They combine fun, catchy melody and lyrics with the cool attitude and positive energy of reggae, as well as the down-to-earth, organic honesty of acoustic rock, ukulele lullabies, and flip flop hip-hop.

Tickets are available at Big Chill Beach Club, 27099 Coastal Highway, and online at bigchillbeachclub.com. Concert doors open at 7 p.m. Parking is available at the south side Indian River Inlet lot in the Delaware Seashore State Park.

Other shows in the series include country singer Eric Paslay on July 26; Hawaiian reggae rock band Pepper on Aug. 8; and Bruce Springsteen drummer Max Weinberg’s Jukebox on Aug. 24.

Now Showing

New this weekend in theaters is Marvel’s “Ant Man and The Wasp” and the horror film “The First Purge.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the horror hit “A Quiet Place” and “Chappaquiddick.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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