And to all a good night: Dover rings in Christmas season tonight

DOVER — The excitement of the holiday season will stretch the entire length of Loockerman Street when the Capital Holiday Celebration takes place tonight, giving all the city’s residents a chance to enjoy a piece of the party.

It doesn’t matter if a person finds themselves watching the Christmas Tree lighting in front of Dover’s City Hall, standing in line to see Santa Claus at Loockerman Plaza, or skating in front of the Duncan Center, there will be something for everyone from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. along Dover’s main thoroughfare.

Want to get into the holiday spirit? Then downtown Dover is the place to be tonight — albeit a bit chilly.

The National Weather Service is calling for a breezy night with mostly clear skies with a temperature near 40 degrees and wind chills of around 33 when the celebration kicks off at 5 p.m.

Cold weather is nothing that a cup of hot chocolate and a little bit of community camaraderie can’t warm up.

As Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen is fond of saying, “If you don’t like the weather in Dover, wait a couple of minutes, it will change.”

Absolutely nothing could bother Dover’s Corinthia Cubbage at last year’s Capital Holiday Celebration.

‘Absolutely awesome’ event

“This event is absolutely awesome,” Ms. Cubbage said. “I’m capturing every moment of what Christmas is all about. I’ve got my hot cocoa, cookie and I’m here with my son (Dorian) and we’re doing it up.

“This is just a great time of the year because everybody comes together.”

Cristal Brenneman, a member of the event’s planning committee, said she is excited for all the events planned for this evening, including an expanded west end celebration that will include an iceless ice-skating rink in front of the Duncan Center as well as several performances by area singers and groups.

“It’s really become a downtown takeover because we have activities ranging from the tree lighting at City Hall all the way down to the Duncan Center on West Loockerman,” Ms. Brenneman said. “We’re so excited.

Singing Christmas carols at last year’s event.

“We try to grow the event every year and we’ve really added to the west end (celebration) along with Restoring Central Dover, the city of Dover and Wesley College, which will be sponsoring the skating rink.”

For more information on all the happenings and times for tonight’s Capital Holiday Celebration, please check out the 2018 Holiday Events and Celebrations Guide inside today’s Delaware State News.

Lots of entertainment options

While the city of Dover, the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Dover Partnership have partnered together to organize the Capital Holiday Celebration, Restoring Central Dover — an initiative of NCALL — will have a litany of happenings planned for the first expanded west end celebration as the festivities will grow substantially tonight.

Chanda Jackson-Short, community engagement specialist for NCALL Research, said the west end’s events during tonight’s celebration coincide with Restoring Central Dover’s final Open Streets event of the year.

There will also be an extension of the activities taking place at City Hall and Loockerman Way Plaza,

She said it’s something she is really looking forward to and is happy the organizers of the Capital Holiday Celebration welcomed the expanded entertainment options.

“I think it’s important for the city to get all of its’ residents near and far involved, regardless of where the events take place,” Mrs. Jackson-Short said. “A huge part of the challenges country-wide is we are all divided.

“Whether it’s due to race, religion, political, cultural, wealth, or whatever, it’s well overdue for us to become one. If we continue to allow our differences to divide us, we continue to lose power as a whole.”

Comedian Jream will serve as the master of ceremonies for the west end part of the celebration, which will include performances by Ja’Niyah Reynolds, Amani Mason, Kenderlyn Turner and Jay Bratten and Friends.

Wesley College’s Gospel Choir will also be performing, as well as the Calvary Baptist Church Combined Choir and choirs from the Capital School District, including Fairview’s Voices of Unity with Hartly Choir, Towne Point Elementary School Ensemble, William Henry Middle School Chorus, Central Middle School Choir, Dover High School Academy of the Arts Dance Program and Dover High Jazz Band.

The Open Streets portion of the west end celebration will feature various reindeer games led by students from the University of Delaware, cardio drumming led by Colton Vautard, line dancing by C&K Soul Line Dancing and the iceless ice rink.

Mrs. Jackson-Short said the Open Streets program, in its first year in Dover, proved to be a success.

“Overall, the Open Streets program was successful in that over 500 people have attended at least one Open Streets event,” she said. “The University of Delaware was instrumental in evaluating the Open Streets program and based on those evaluations, the Open Streets Dover program was a success.”

Searching for snow, Santa

The east end of Loockerman Street will feature a children’s crafts area at the Dover Public Library, the traditional caroling and tree lighting ceremony in front of City Hall at 6 p.m.

That will be followed by the arrival of Santa Claus, who can be visited at his house later at Loockerman Way Plaza, midway between City Hall and the Duncan Center, which will also feature several food trucks and other entertainment options.

“It’s going to be such an awesome night,” Ms. Brenneman said. “We’re going to have free hot chocolate and cookies everywhere, there’s going to be lots of singing, Mayor (Christiansen) will be doing the big tree lighting and then Santa Claus will really get things going.

“I’m kind of hoping for some snow. It might not be in the forecast, but who knows? Maybe we’ll get a Christmas miracle.”

 

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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