Golden day for Silver Lake: Community celebrates Dover’s ‘gem’

DOVER — The precision beats from Dover High School’s Rolling Thunder drumline greeted the guests at Silver Lake Park on Saturday morning as several individuals and families took to the lake to celebrate the 5th annual Mayor’s Canoe and Kayak Regatta on Silver Lake Day.

A DJ kept the crowd dancing throughout the event, there were a couple of Tree Walks where guides walked with visitors and informed them about the various trees in the park, a cardboard box boat competition, free food and games compliments of NCALL’s Restoring Central Dover initiative, information booths and pirates from Pirates Plunder Entertainment Inc.

Everyone involved — organizers from the city of Dover’s Parks and Recreation Division and participants alike — agreed that it was a successful day for the community and an especially positive one for Silver Lake Park.
“It’s a very good turnout and a very good atmosphere,” said Elizabeth Daniels, who brought her granddaughter and niece to the event.

“Everything is lovely out here. This is a good positive thing. I’ve been part of Restoring Central Dover for about eight years and it’s a very good thing they do.
“There’s lots going on. You’ve got dancing going on, the bouncing (house) and slide going on, and just being out here you can enjoy all that the park has to offer.”

G’shaun Winber, a member of the Rolling Thunder drumline, enjoyed getting the chance to get a little bit of practice in with his fellow Dover High drummers before football season gets started.
“We just had a performance for the drumline, and it was a lot of fun just enjoying seeing everybody out here,” he said. “It’s great to have an event like this at Silver Lake. It’s good for everybody.”

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen was among the first to jump in a boat and take to the green-colored water of Silver Lake on Saturday morning.
“I think it’s a super turnout, we have a lot of people here,” Mayor Christiansen said. “They’ve had a lot of people here throughout the entire day. We just need a few more life jackets so we can get all these canoes in the water.

“It’s just a great event. A lot of people have been down here to see exactly what I and other people have been talking about — the gem that Silver Lake is to the city of Dover. This shows the diversity of our community and just how much fun Dover can be.”

Mayor Christiansen, along with some special guest pirates from Pirates Plunder Entertainment, judged the cardboard box boats for creativity and best design.

“I believe the mayor has christened us to become Dover’s pirates,” said Lou Hernandez, also known as Captain Cutthroat Cortez. “He said he was very excited about us coming out and it worked out where we’re able to come out and do some pirate performances during the course of the event.”

Lou Hernandez, also known as Captain Cutthroat Cortez.

The pirates also hosted a “sword school” and had a group of singing pirates performing, called “Bedlum Bones,” while the “Pirates of Fortunes Folly” performed pirate antics. There was a small pirate ship “docked” at the lake.
Chazz Salkin led the first Tree Walk and a group of around 10 interested walkers through the scenic, winding trail at Silver Lake Park, discussing the traits of about a dozen trees — including the Catalpa, Bald Cypress, Dawn Redwood, Sycamore, Sugar Maple and others — some native, and some not, to Delaware.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever done this before but I was part of a committee that was hoping to have walks that would go (from Silver Lake Park) into town that would include history and other things about Dover, and then we decided to keep it close to the park,” Mr. Salkin said, “so we put together the tree walk.”

Susan Yost, a former employee of Delaware State University, put together an informative brochure about the trees the guests got to refer to on their walk.
“I’m retired,” Mr. Salkin said. “I used to work in state parks, so I’ve learned a lot about trees through the years. It was a beautiful day for a walk, and we thought that a lot of people come to the park and don’t have any idea what they’re looking at.

“To a lot of people, a tree is a tree is a tree, so we thought this would be a good chance to teach people about what’s in the park and get people out walking.”
Meanwhile, Dover’s Cross Martinez was strapping a life vest around his chest and preparing to jump into a red kayak for a cruise around the lake.

“I just want to try it,” he said. “I’ve never kayaked before and it looked like fun. I think this event is pretty cool and it’s good that they have people coming out and doing stuff.”

Nicole Melcher had a big smile on her face as she rowed her kayak onto shore with her daughter, Vesper Martin, in tow.
“It was fantastic,” she said. “It was the first time that I’ve done that and after living in Dover for about five years this is the first time that I’ve been (to Silver Lake Park and kayaked) with our daughter. I think that we’re going to go look in to getting a used two-person kayak because it was great.

“We love the lake and the event has been great. It’s reminded me of how much we love (Silver Lake) and my son and husband actually went out on an inflatable and they’re actually over at McGlynn’s (restaurant).

“It’s just a great day for the community.”
Carolyn Courtney, who works with Dover Parks and Recreation, said the goal of Silver Lake Day was to get people out of the house and to realize there are fun opportunities just around the corner.

“The goal is to promote healthy lifestyles for the residents of Dover and getting them outside to walk and view the different things we have in Dover and to capitalize on Silver Lake being the often-unheralded jewel that it is,” said Ms. Courtney. “It really is among the centerpieces of the city’s park system.”

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

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