Best Bets: RiderFest 2 tuning up for Food Bank of Delaware

Caesar Rodney High School graduate David Haynes, who started RiderFest last year, is bringing his alternative rock band AWÜ to the stage. Formed in Spain and now playing out of Newark, AWÜ will play both covers and original songs, starting at 6 p.m. (Submitted photo)

Started last year as a way for Caesar Rodney High students to give back to the community, RiderFest 2 is back this year on May 18 with a day of music to support the Food Bank of Delaware.

Begun by then-CR senior David Haynes, the 2018 edition of RiderFest raised $2,000 for the Child Life department of A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington and featured 10 hours of music.

This year, senior Sam Collins has taken the event over to continue the work that the first event started — and hopefully improve on it.

“It was such a cool project to work on last year and what we did was great. But I had some ideas that I thought would be good if we want to make this an annual event and raise even more funds,” he said.

“This year we have more professional musicians, more food trucks, online ticket sales and we’ve gotten the word out to more newspapers and radio stations and gotten on a lot of event calendars to help spread the word. Plus, the event is more dense with a shorter time period.”

What started at noon last year will begin at 3 p.m. this year and go until 10 p.m.

Popular local musical acts this year include Sol Knopf, Judy Sings the Blues and Best Kept Soul.

Sam said artists were very “accommodating” when asked to be a part of the event.

“I reached out to a lot of different people. Best Kept Soul plays for money, like a lot of the bands, but they are playing in the afternoon so they can go out and play a paying gig in the evening, which was very nice of them,” he said of the Wilmington-based band that will kick things off at 3 p.m.

Following Best Kept Soul will be Frank Darwicki V, of the band Darkin. He will play an acoustic set on the 12-string guitar. Mr. Darwicki is a native of Bear and has been part of the local music scene for more than 10 years. Just like last year, he is also providing all of the sound equipment for RiderFest.

Wilmington-based singer-songwriter Evan Fox will perform at RiderFest 2 at 6 p.m.

“Frank is my savior,” Sam said of the invaluable help he is providing to him and his student staff of about 20.

Another change this year is the beneficiary of RiderFest in the Food Bank of Delaware.

“I thought A.I. duPont Hospital was a great cause and they are a major children’s hospital in the area and we do have people from this area who go up there but I felt like they are a little too far away,” Sam said.

“The Food Bank has a pretty immediate impact in our direct area and also the entire state.”

A bevy of food trucks were also added this year, including local favorites Tre Sorelle Dolce, Delicious Craving, Southern Mama’s Funnel Cakes and Mojos to Go, which will be on site all day.

Faculty adviser John Muller said he was happy to see the event evolve this year and a few new things tried to make it even better than last year.

“I’m pleased with how it’s changed and that the students don’t want to follow the same format used last year. They are using their critical thinking skills and not just following last year’s model,” he said.

“They noticed some things and tweaked it to give it a better focus and shortened the amount of time as it might have gotten a little stale throughout the day.

“Last year we weren’t able to get any food trucks because of the (strawberry festival) in town. So this year we started asking sooner. We also made notes to next year maybe have it on the second weekend of May so we can avoid having it on the same day of the festival. But the food trucks should be a good addition and the more professional lineup should be more of a draw.

“Not that we did badly last year. Two thousand dollars was still a pretty nice check.”

Other acts on the bill include Evan Fox, a singer/songwriter from Wilmington, who will perform his set at 5 p.m..

Mr. Haynes is bringing his alternative rock band AWÜ to the stage. Formed in Spain and now playing out of Newark, AWÜ will play both covers and original songs, starting at 6 p.m.

Judy Sings the Blues will go on at 7 p.m. Judy Sings the Blues is a four- (sometimes five-) piece band based in Lewes. The band group blues and funk, and they released their first CD, “Born A Sinner,” last year.

Popular local musician Sol Knopf will play a set starting at 8 p.m. at Caesar Rodney High.

Mr. Knopf, the Smyrna-based singer-songwriter best known for his distinctive baritone voice, will perform at 8 p.m.

Closing out the show at 9 p.m. is Kevin Hartigan, an indie/blues musician from Dover.

A musician himself who plays guitar and trumpet, Sam is glad to be able to give back to the community through music.

“It’s always been a big part of my life. The idea is that after I graduate, it will hopefully go on for a long time and become bigger every year and achieve more notoriety,” said Sam, who will attend Middlebury College in Vermont next year and major in environmental sciences.

Handing this project to a new senior student at Caesar Rodney each year is important for Mr. Muller as he hopes it will instill in them a sense of charity and goodwill.

“As older adults, we always say it would be nice if the kids came back and lived here after they graduated,” he said.

“With Sam and all of our students, we hope they can take that connection when they leave and hopefully come back someday and continue to give back and help the community where they grew up.”

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or online at

Caesar Rodney High is at 239 Old North Road in Camden.

Shows in Smyrna

It’s a weekend of song at the Smyrna Opera House with two big shows.

The Smyrna Singers Spring Concert will take place today at 7 p.m.

The Smyrna Singers is a multi-generational community choir, open to all ages beginning in seventh grade.

Then on Saturday, The Ardensingers present Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” at 7:30 p.m.

As a child, Frederic was mistakenly apprenticed to a band of pirates by his nurse, Ruth. Now, at 21 years old, he’s fulfilled his indentures. Determined to atone for his past misdeeds with the pirates, he warns the beautiful young wards of Major General Stanley to quickly leave the area but they’re discovered by the pirates who propose to “matrimonify” the wards in short order.

Tickets for both shows are $16 general admission, $14 for SOH members, senior citizens (65-plus), and military and $8 for children 12 and under.

They can be purchased at, by calling 653-4236 or the box office at 7 W. South St.

Dewey Beach Arts Festival

Two festivals are slated for Sussex County this weekend.

The Dewey Beach Arts and Fun Festival and Lions Club Community Day will take place on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The two events, co-sponsored by the Dewey Business Partnership and the Dewey Beach Lions Club, will transform the bayside of Dagsworthy Avenue and the adjacent Dewey Beach Lions Club into an outdoor festival featuring a large artist market.

The event will include:

• Artists Market featuring over 70 artists – coastal and beach themed art,painting, photography, mixed media, fabric,jewelry and wearable art, ceramics, wood, sea glass, stained glass, mosaics,accessories, quilting, recycled art, painted furniture, homemade soaps and more.

• Food trucks

• Student Art Gallery from Cape Henlopen School District

• Live music from country singer Mark Luckenbill

• Pet adoptions

• Dewey Artist Collaboration Showcase

• Children’s activities 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

• Community organization interactive presentations

Parking is free and the event is free. There is no rain date. For more information visit

Nanticoke Heritage Day

The Nanticoke Indian Tribe will hold its annual Heritage Day on the grounds of the Nanticoke Indian Museum in Millsboro Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Attractions include Native American story telling, dancing, music and vendors. Food vendors will offer traditional Native American fare such as succotash, fry bread and Indian tacos.

Also present will be guest speaker Charlotte Hockings from the LAC Du Flambeau OJIBWAY Tribe.

The Nanticoke Indian Museum is located on Del. 24 in Millsboro, across the street from Royal Farms. The GPS-friendly address is 26673 John J. Williams Highway, Millsboro.

The Heritage Day event is open to the public with free admission.

For more information, call the center at (302) 945-3400, The Museum at (302) 945-7022, e-mail:, or visit

Now showing

New this weekend in movie theaters is the animated “Pokemon Detective Pikachu,” the comedies “Poms” and “The Hustle” and the biopic “Tolkien.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is Liam Neeson in “Cold Pursuit,” the horror film “Happy Death Day 2U” and the wrestling comedy “Fighting with My Family.”

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