Best Bets: New year means new things to do in 2019

Lauren Daigle, a contemporary Christian artist who played the Delaware State Fair last year, will be back in the area this year playing at the Firefly Music Festival in Dover. (Delaware State News file photo)

Now that the holiday hubbub has calmed down, it’s time to turn our attention to what awaits in 2019.

The local entertainment is starting to fill up. So let’s look at what we know about so far.

•The stages are set for this year’s Firefly Music Festival, slated for three days — June 21-23 — instead of the previous four-day setup at the Woodlands of Dover.

Firefly will allow early entry for all campers on Thursday, June 20 and departure on Monday, June 24 included in all camping packages.

Grammy Award nominees Travis Scott and Post Malone along with rock band Panic! At The Disco will headline this year’s festival.

Although times have not been announced yet, Panic! At The Disco will perform Friday, June 21, rapper Mr. Scott will take the stage Saturday, June 22 and rapper Mr. Malone will wrap things up Sunday, June 23.

The lineup also features Kygo, Tyler, the Creator, Vampire Weekend, DJ Snake, ZEDD, Death Cab for Cutie, Brockhampton, Courtney Barnett, TLC, Lykke Li, Bishop Briggs, Lauren Daigle, Alison Wonderland, King Princess, Jessie Reyez, and Tank and the Bangas.

The new Super Duper VIP, at a cost of $7,199, includes Super VIP passes for two, lodging at Dover Downs Hotel for three nights for two people, 24-hour concierge services, dedicated golf cart, breakfast buffet for two and more.

Acts such as Death Cab for Cutie, Vampire Weekend and ZEDD are returnees to Firefly.

Ms. Daigle, a Christian contemporary singer, just played the Delaware State Fair last year.

AEG Presents, already a majority holder in Firefly, acquired the remaining ownership shares of the festival this summer.

As part of the acquisition of shares formerly held by Red Frog Events, a Chicago-based event company, AEG Presents also took over the promotion and production of the festival.

For tickets and more information, visit

Fair anniversary

•The Delaware State Fair will celebrate its 100th birthday this summer. And with it will come special events, concerts and commemorations.

The only show announced thus far for the fair, set for July 18-27, is young singer/ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer on July 24.

“America’s Got Talent” winner Darci Lynne Farmer will bring her singing ventriloquism act to the Delaware State Fair July 24. (Submitted photo)

Darci Lynne won NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” at just 12 years old with the most votes for a final performance in the history of the show. She is accompanied on stage by her musical friends including a divaesque rabbit: Petunia, a shy and soulful mouse: Oscar and a sarcastic old woman: Edna.

She was recently seen in her own Christmas special and will return to “America’s Got Talent” for the first “The Champions” season starting Monday night.

For tickets, visit

On Jan. 12 in commemoration of the fair’s 100th anniversary, special license plate Nos. 6-100 will be auctioned off by Wilson’s Auction Sales starting at 3 p.m. at the Exhibit Hall.

Hot dogs and hamburgers will be provided.

Casino concerts

Both area casinos have shows lined up through the better half of 2019.

•Kicking off the year at Dover Downs is comedian/impressionist Frank Caliendo on Jan. 18.

Loverboy, the Canadian rock band known for hits “Working for the Weekend,” “Turn Me Loose,” and “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” will perform Feb. 15.

Two-time Grammy Award R&B nominee Johnny Gill will appear March 15.

Country music star Gary Allan, who has topped the charts for more than 20 years, will perform at Dover Downs on April 12.

R&B performers Regina Belle and Peabo Bryson, who have teamed for several R&B hits, including the “Aladdin” theme “A Whole New World,” will perform Aug. 9.

Peabo Bryson will appear at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino’s Rollins Center with Regina Belle on Aug. 9. (Submitted photo)

Actor and comedian Ken Jeong will perform on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 9 p.m.

All shows are at 9 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at

•Acts have been booked at Harrington Raceway and Casino’s Exhibit Hall.

A show with Milton’s own Jimmie Allen on Feb. 9 has sold out but another country star, Rodney Atkins, will play the venue on March 30.

Mr. Atkins has had six No. 1 hits and has sold over 10 million albums worldwide.

Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone will return to Exhibit Hall May 11.

Classic hits include “I’m Into Something Good”, “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter”, I’m Henry VIII, I Am”, “Silhouettes”, “A Must To Avoid”, “Listen People”, “There’s a Kind Of Hush” and many more.

Both shows are at 8 p.m. and tickets can be purchased online at, by calling 888-887-5687, Ext. 5246 or stopping by the Casino Gift Shop.

Harrington’s Gold Room Premiere Series rolls along with a string of tribute shows. Hotel California plays the songs of The Eagles Jan. 26. The Purple Experience pays tribute to Prince on Feb. 2. Beginnings performs the hits and more of Chicago on March 9 and CSN Songs celebrates the music of Crosby, Stills and Nash with special guests The Jinglebachs on April 20.

All shows are at 6 and 8:30 p.m.

Country star Rodney Atkins will perform at Harrington Raceway and Casino’s Exhibit Hall on Saturday, March 30 at 8 p.m. (Submitted photo)

Special events

The dates for area special events are lining up for 2019.

•Dover Days remains at one day this year on Saturday, May 4. Like last year, this festival is on the same weekend as the Dover International Speedway’s NASCAR weekend. The speedway, by the way, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

•The annual Amish Country Bike Tour will be Sept. 7. The tour, suited for all ages and abilities, includes 16, 25, 50, 63 and 100-mile loops through the flatlands of Delaware’s Amish farmlands.

Bicyclists wait for the start of the Amish Bike Tour at the Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village in Dover. (Submitted photo)

The following events are sponsored in part or in whole by the Delaware State News:

•Dover’s Citywide Black History Celebration will feature many ongoing events from January through the end of March, including:

A free chorale concert Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. at Delaware State University featuring the Delaware State University Concert Choir, Delaware State University Gospel Choir and the Delaware State University spoken word group Spoken Word Artists United.

On Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m. Dover Public Library kicks off their events for the Citywide Black History Celebration with their monthly In Harmony Concert Series featuring the Steel Drummers. It will be an evening of music and history, and learning how drumming was used not only for music and celebrations, but also as a communication tool.

Sankofa Cultural Arts Center, 39 S. West St. in Dover, will host “The African Diaspora” Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 9 at noon and 4 p.m.

The program is designed to acquaint the public, especially those of African ancestry, with their rich heritage using the arts as the primary mode of teaching. It will feature the Sankofa Dancers & Drummers and special guests.

Tickets for the shows are free, but required for admission as seating is limited. They can be ordered online at or picked up at the Biggs Museum of American Art or at the Delaware State News in Dover after Jan. 8.

A Meet the Artists reception for “Traveling Africa” will take place at the Biggs Museum Feb. 21 starting at 5 p.m. This group exhibition is of African photography, traditional African artwork and authentic African pieces collected by the local community on their travels. The exhibit will be on display at the Biggs Museum Feb. 1-March 24.

• The W3 What Women Want Fest is set for April 27 at Wild Quail Golf and Country Club in Wyoming.

The women-only event includes shopping, food, door prizes, giveaways, demonstrations, hands-on activities and a fashion show.

•Dover Comic Con will be held Aug. 17, beginning at 10 a.m. throughout downtown Dover, including the Dover Public Library.

The Comic Con is a free indoor/outdoor pop-culture festival featuring an outdoor market with over 100 exhibitors, including artists and vendors, with fan groups, activities, panels, entertainment, food trucks and more.

•Senior Spree — The Connection to Active Adult Living — will be Friday, Aug. 23 starting at 10 a.m. at Noble’s Pond Clubhouse, 13 Noble’s Pond Crossing, Dover. Admission is free.

The day will include vendors, door prizes and giveaways, presentations, interactive activities, cooking demonstrations, entertainment and on-site house tours of the Nobel’s Pond 55-plus community.

•The Best Friends Pet Expo starts at 10 a.m. Oct. 19 on The Green in Dover.

It’s a free day for pet owners and their families. There will be vendors selling pet-related products, a dog-training demonstration, a pet-themed pumpkin carving contest, giveaways, door prizes and a pet parade.

Watch for more details on all of these events coming soon at or on the Delaware State News Facebook page.

• History, Heritage and Hops, or H3, which coincides with Dover Days, will be May 4 from 3 to 9 p.m. on Loockerman Street in Dover.

Matthew and Kelsey Richards wear traditional Octoberfest outfits while attending OktDoverFest on Loockerman Street in Dover last year. This year’s OktDoverFest will take place on Sept. 28. (Delaware State News file photo/Marc Clery)

• OktDoverFest will be Sept. 28 also from 3 to 9 p.m. on Loockerman Street.

• A new event from Destination Downtown Dover, which produces H3 and OktDover Fest, will be a Pirate Festival Oct. 12 from 3 to 9 p.m. on Loockerman Street. The festival, which doesn’t have a name yet, is expected to have a pirate ship, sword fighting, a pirate school, a mermaid and of course, rum.

•DDD will ring out the year with their second Capital City Countdown New Year’s Eve on Loockerman Way Plaza starting at 6 p.m.

•Finally, the Dover Air Force Base Thunder Over Dover Air Show and Open House is back this year Sept. 13-15 featuring The Blue Angels.

More music

Aside from Firefly, other music festivals and special events will fill the air this year.

• The Delaware Friends of Folk will hold its annual folk festival Sept. 27 and 29 at Fields Farm near Clayton. No lineup is out yet.

The Friends do have a busy year coming up with monthly coffeehouse concerts at Wesley College’s Bennett Chapel in Dover including lutenist Ronn McFarlane and Celtic harper Mike Nielsen on Jan. 19 and The Kennedys, a folk-rock band, consisting of husband and wife Pete and Maura Kennedy, on April 20. Both shows are at 7:30.

The Friends’ free Old State House concerts include Phyllis Chapell on Jan. 11, Steffi and Tim on Feb. 8 and Slinging Daisies on March 8. Those shows also start at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, visit

Local blues band Nothin’ But Trouble will play at this year’s June Jam. Band members are, from left, drummer Bruce Benson, guitarists Chris McAfee and Joey Fulkerson and Steve Taylor on bass. (Submitted photo)

•June Jam rocks into its 41st year on June 15 at G&R Campground in Houston.

This year’s lineup is headlined by the all-female AC/DC tribute band Shoot to Thrill. Other acts on the bill will be Triple Rail Turn, Nothin But Trouble, Kategory 5, Petting Hendrix, Mike Whitehead and Small Town Throw Down, The Jim Cochran Band and Pistol Whipped.

For more information, visit

• Last year’s popular Ladybug Music Festival returns to Milford for a second year on Sept. 21 with a rain date of Sept. 22. The original Ladybug Festival in Wilmington will be July 18 and 19.

• Smyrna at Night comes back to take over the town on June 8.

• By the way, Gable Music Ventures, the creators of Ladybug and Smyrna at Night, will also return with a summer concert series in Smyrna from May 29 until Aug. 21. It started last year in honor of Smyrna’s 150th anniversary and will continue this year, officials tell us.

• The Central Delaware Blues Society has some big events coming up.

On Jan. 13, the society will raise money to send this year’s Battle of the Bands winner, Sussex County’s lower case blues to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

The event, set at Jonathan’s Landing in Magnolia, will feature lower case blues along with Barrelhouse, The Blues Reincarnation Project, The Grey Fox Band and The Tom Craig Band.

There will be a 50/50 drawing and auctions.

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

Suggested donation is $10 (members) and $15 (non-members).

Other acts hosted by the Blues Society at Jonathan’s Landing include Ray Fuller and the Blues Rockers on Feb. 21; Texas Flood pays tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan on April 11; J.P. Soars and The Red Hots on June 6; and Sean Chambers and his band will play July 11.

For more information on the society and its other activities, visit

On stage

Area theaters and venues have some of their shows set for the year.

• The Smyrna Opera House will host the first rehearsal and registration for the spring session of the Smyrna Singers, the theater’s community choir on Jan. 24 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. It’s $20 to join and includes membership in the Smyrna Opera House. Choir experience is preferred but not required.

They will perform their spring concert on Friday, May 10 at 7 p.m.

33 1/3 LIVE will perform the Killer Queen Experience on March 9.

Along with the hits, the group wil play the album “A Night At The Opera” in its entirety, featuring tracks like “You’re My Best Friend,” “Love of My Life,” “The Prophet’s Song,” and, of course, the operatic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Celtic Harvest will bring Scottish and Irish tunes to Smyrna Opera House in March. (Submitted photo)

Local group Celtic Harvest will perform original Scottish and Irish material on March 16.

The second annual Book Festival will be held on Saturday, March 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. Organizers are currently seeking published authors for that event.

On April 4 will be another of their classical piano concerts featuring University of Delaware piano students.

On Saturday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. The Ardensingers will present “The Pirates of Penzance.”

Tickets and more information can be obtained by visiting, by calling 653-4236 or stopping by the box office at 7 W. South St. Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Down at the Milton Theatre, they have planned a year of concerts, comedy shows, movie screenings and more.

Tribute shows include homages to Frank Sinatra (Jan. 12), The Carpenters (Jan. 25), Tina Turner (Feb. 9), Buddy Holly (Feb. 16), Tony Bennett (Feb. 23), Tom Petty (March 10), Ozzy Osbourne (March 15), Simon and Garfunkel (March 16), Shania Twain (March 23), The Rat Pack (May 18), Grateful Dead (May 24), The Beach Boys (May 25), Black Sabbath (June 2), Queen (June 8), Johnny Cash (June 15) and John Denver (June 22).

The Milton Theatre is at 110 Union St. For the full slate, visit

Sean Reilly will salute Frank Sinatra later this month at Milton Theatre. (Submitted photo)

•The Bottle and Cork in Dewey Beach has already put tickets to a couple of shows on sale.

The Canadian indie pop band Walk Off the Earth, whose keyboard player Mike Taylor, recently passed away, is scheduled to play on May 27. Country artist Chris Janson will perform June 9.

Tickets can be purchased at

At the theater

Local theater groups have their seasons scheduled.

•At the Kent County Theatre Guild in Dover, the comedy “The Savannah Sipping Society” starts Feb. 15; the romantic musical “The Last Five Years” debuts May 10; the comedy “Red, White and Tuna” starts June 12; the farce “Boeing, Boeing” premieres Sept. 27 and the adult comedy “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)” decks the hall starting Dec. 6.

Along with the plays, the Guild is into its second 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 Thursday night starting at 7:30.

You can also expect concerts by Smyrna’s Sol Knopf, Dover’s Jim Rezac and a performance from The Delaware Ballet at the Guild this year. Details to come.

The Patchwork Playhouse at 140 Roosevelt Ave. is home to the Kent County Theatre Guild. Visit for more information.

•Milford’s Second Street Players will kick off the year at Milford High School as its Riverfront Theatre lobby is undergoing renovation with the current Broadway smash “To Kill a Mockingbird” starting Feb. 1.

Other main stage shows are Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs” starting April 19; “Happy Days: The Musical” starting July 19; the comedy mystery “Clue” starting Sept. 13 and the holiday production “The Homecoming” starting Nov. 29.

Children’s Theater shows are “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” the weekend of March 1; “Sally Cotter and The Censored Stone” the weekend of May 17; and “The Hobbit” the weekend of Oct. 11.

The Second Street Players’ Riverfront Theatre is at 2 S. Walnut St. in Milford. They can be reached at

•Possum Point Players in Georgetown will stage the mystery “Sleuth” starting Jan. 25; the musical “How to Succed in Business Without Really Trying” starting April 5; the touching comedy “Dixie Swing Club” starting June 7; the classic comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace” starting Sept. 13; and “Christmas From the Heart” starting Nov. 29.

Possum Hall is at 441 Old Laurel Road in Georgetown. For more information, visit

And finally …

• The Biggs Museum of American Art has its exhibition schedule set.

Currently on display is its annual “Biggs Shot” photography exhibit up until Jan. 27; “Basketry in America” will run from Feb. 1 to April 28; Dover sculptor Aaron Paskins will show his works May 3 to July 21 as will Dover artist Rebecca Raubacher from Aug. 2 to Oct. 20; Nov. 1 will start an exhibit on Delaware photojournalism.

The Biggs Museum is at 406 Federal St. in Dover. Visit for more information.

• Event tickets are sold out for Dancing with the Delaware Stars however you can still get tickets for the after party starting at 11:30 p.m. at The event is set for Jan. 26 at Dover Downs’ Rollins Center.

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

Now Showing

New in theaters this weekend is the suspense/thriller “Escape Room” and the historical drama “Mary Queen of Scots.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the horror film “Hell Fest.”

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