First Friday to welcome March with an eye on warmer weather

DOVER — While spring doesn’t officially arrive until March 20, merchants in downtown Dover are ready to flip the calendar and start thinking warm thoughts.

With that in mind, Nisha Lodhavia will be presenting a creative paper project for children of all ages at the Dover Art League to highlight the Hindu celebration of Holi, affectionately known as the “Festival of Colors,” to try to speed up the arrival of spring at downtown Dover’s First Friday event this week from 5 until 8 p.m. on March 1. Display windows at the various businesses up-and-down Loockerman Street will be colorfully decorated.

In addition to Ms. Lodhavia’s art creations, Joe Conner will head up jazz and blues selections on keyboard and guitar at the Dover Art League, accompanied by Anthony Taylor on drums and Vernell Armwood Jr. on bass.

First Fridays are indoor events hosted by the Downtown Dover Partnership (DDP) from January through May, before Destination Downtown Dover steps in and takes the monthly event back outdoors and onto Loockerman Street in the warmer months.

“While it’s been a relatively mild winter, I believe we are all ready to get outdoors more, on First Friday and in general,” said Diane Laird, executive director of the DDP.

“The March-like winds (Monday) suggest that spring is right around the corner. It seems even the bulbs are a little late in blooming this year, but we are seeing their greens perk up out of the ground, so I’m thinking that in just a couple weeks we will see spring.”

Lucy Findlay, DDP vice president and owner of Partners in Design in downtown Dover, said she is confident that the community will enjoy visiting the stores and hearing from local and regional artists and musicians.

“Indoor and outdoor programming will ensure an ever-changing variety of things to do in each of the 12 months, and the free trolley bus will make enjoying all First Friday activities convenient and comfortable, no matter what the weather,” Ms. Findlay said. “We are encouraging community members of all ages to participate as artists, shoppers, or simply to enjoy walking from shop to shop to take in the variety.”

Musicians of many styles and genres will be playing inside each of nearly 20 downtown shops, restaurants and the Dover Public Library, extending throughout nearly all of Loockerman Street, including jazz trios and quartets from Wesley College, several acoustical blends, singers/songwriters and an inspirational duo.

Joe Connor

My Roots will feature Steffi and Tim Plimpton, while music will be provided for diners at 33 West, The Grey Fox and Governor’s Café.

Ms. Laird wanted to remind all prospective artists – of any age – are invited to contribute to the Dover Community Mural in a “paint-by-numbers” process at Wesley College. The painting takes place inside Longwood Hall Room 201 on the Wesley campus at 120 North State Street.

Members of the community are welcome to participate on First Fridays from 5 until 8 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 until 5 p.m. or by appointment by contacting Joshua Nobiling at Joshua@joshuanobiling.com or 302-736-2486.

The free wintertime Jolly Trolley, which is more of a mini-bus that seats up to 18 people, will circle the downtown area in a loop that will begin at the Dover Public Library. Visitors can get on or off the trolley at any of its stops.

Ms. Findlay said not to underestimate the power of the Jolly Trolley, which is sponsored this month by Tidemark Construction of Dover.

“I have friends that have lived (in Dover) for 25 years and ho-hummed about First Friday in the wintertime, but they heard about the trolley and they’re like, ‘Oh, we’re going to come down and take a look at that,’” said Ms. Findlay. “People can ride the trolley who aren’t even familiar with downtown and just look out the window and see what all is down here to come back to.”

Children will receive a colorful lighted bracelet upon boarding the trolley, which will loop between the Dover Public Library, Wesley College, The Green and all of Loockerman Street. Parking is available at the Dover Public Library, Wesley College parking lot E accessed from State Street and all downtown non-residential parking locations for free after 5 p.m.

A program of musicians and a Jolly Trolley Bus loop diagram may be found at tinyurl.com/DoverFirstFridays several days before the event.

Downtown Dover First Fridays is funded jointly by the Downtown Dover Partnership and Destination Downtown Dover, along with a grant from NCALL’s Restoring Central Dover initiative.

Ms. Laird said that the winter First Friday events have been resonating with business owners and customers alike.

“Several of the business owners indicated to me that new customers resulted from the First Friday’s events,” she said. “And despite the February 1 snow, several merchants enjoyed the activities with friends and just a few customers within their stores which created an unexpected opportunity to socialize, suggesting that sense of community that is so often lacking in our typically hurried days.”

The lineup for March 2019 First Friday in downtown Dover:

Event lasts from 5 until 8 p.m.

(Subject to last minute changes.)

Bel Boutique — Daniele and Michael Lundin singing casual acoustic, pop and inspirational music accompanied by her husband on acoustic guitar.

BLUvintage — Leilani Wall, singer/songwriter, accompanied by her 12-string Adamas guitar, plays everything from quiet ballads, classic rock to table-thumping Irish drinking songs.

Dover Public Library — In Harmony Concert Series: An evening of classical and Celtic music with Bethany Jubilee and friends. Bethany Jubilee is a classically trained violinist with nearly 30 years of playing experience and enjoys playing a wide variety of genres including Celtic fiddle and contemporary music. 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Multi-Purpose Room A, Multi-Purpose Room B.

Dover Art League — Joe Conner on keyboard/guitar, Anthony Taylor on drums and Vernell Armwood Jr. on bass, along with a colorful creative paper project for children to highlight the Hindu celebration of Holi, affectionately known as the “Festival of Colors.”

Dover Health Care Center — Mike Miller, on acoustic guitar playing Americana-themed pieces.

Forney’s Too — Tom Hench, singer/songwriter on guitar and harmonica playing a mix of folk type story-telling, with a variety of humorous to serious overtones.

House of Coffi — Mollie Raley Hall, singer/songwriter on guitar, ukulele and mandolin, an eclectic mix of mostly folk and pop.

La Baguette — Rick and Tish Schuman, singers/songwriters, on acoustic guitar and drums with a focus on late 1960’s/early 1970’s and original pieces. Ambient background restaurant sounds.

My Roots — Singer Steffi Plimpton, accompanied by husband Tim Plimpton on piano.

Puffster — Daniel Malone Jr. guitarist and singer/songwriter, low key, easy listening.

Simaron Steak Shop — Earl Reed, acoustic guitarist/singer with a low-key, relaxing blend of classic rock & pop.

The Delaware Store — Bob Frazier and Friends singing and playing guitar and ukulele with a focus on an eclectic mix of songs and tunes. Tom Smith will be spinning more stories about Dover’s Capitol Hotel.

The Loocke — Ryan Schumacher on guitar, Becky on bass and Samuel on piano. From jazz to more popular tunes in the acoustic style.

Wesley College — “Paint Your Part”, the community mural project at Wesley College, Longwood Hall, Room 201, 5 until 8 p.m.

Zuha Trend — Jazz by Anthony Cinque on drums, Victor Rosas-Granda on trumpet and Cambria Luschen on saxophone.

The Grey Fox, 33 West and Governor’s Café — Enjoy various musicians.

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

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