Follow Us On

84th Annual Dover Days Festival Schedule

Dover – Mark your calendar for the 84th Annual Dover Days Festival presented by WSFS Bank, which will take place Friday, May 5th and Saturday, May 6th. This year’s festival is the kick-off of Dover’s 300th Birthday. Dover Days Festival is a free-admission festival that features more than 100 fun and educational events scheduled for Friday and Saturday for people of all ages, and takes place throughout historic downtown district. The festival is produced each year by Kent County Tourism Corporation.

The schedule offers something for everyone starting off with a birthday celebration with birthday cake, kazoo sing-along and entertainment by 33 1/3 Band. Wrap up the evening with a Fireworks Extravaganza at dusk. In addition to the Dover Days Parade and Community Tent sponsored by Del-One Federal Credit Union and Maypole dancing on Saturday, the event will feature Revolutionary & Civil War re-enactment groups, 350+ Crafts, Food and Artisan Vendors, “History, Heritage and Hops” brewfest and more!

This year’s festival theme is Dover’s 300th Birthday Celebration. In honor of Dover’s 300th Birthday, there will be new special programs and re-enactments that will showcase Dover’s rich history. Starting Saturday, visitors can take a step back into time with “Passports Through Time”: a series of theatrical scenes depicting the important moments in Dover’s history. Visitors start at the John Bell House and will be issued a passport to help them mark their journey as they discover the history of Dover over the past 300 years. The Old State House is celebrating Dover’s 300th Birthday with a historic theater presentation examining William Penn’s conflict with Lord Baltimore.

84th Annual Dover Days Festival Schedule of Events
Monday, May 1, 2017- Saturday, May 6, 2017

Monday, May 1
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries open

9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Guided Tours of The Old State House
John Bell House open

10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Guided Tours of Legislative Hall

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Stories of The Green Walking Tour, meet at the John Bell House
The Green reveals many tales from Dover’s history. Tours led by historical interpreters in period dress begin on the hour and last approximately 45 minutes.

9 a.m. – 7:55 p.m. Dover Public Library open

Tuesday, May 2
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries open

9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Biggs Museum of American Art open
Guided Tours of The Old State House
John Bell House open

9 a.m. – 7:55 p.m. Dover Public Library open

10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Guided Tours of Legislative Hall

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Stories of The Green Walking Tour, meet at the John Bell House
The Green reveals many tales from Dover’s history. Tours led by historical interpreters in period dress begin on the hour and last approximately 45 minute.

Wednesday, May 3
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries open

9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Biggs Museum of American Art open
Guided Tours of the Johnson Victrola Museum
Guided Tours of The Old State House
John Bell House open

9 a.m. – 7:55 p.m. Dover Public Library open

10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Guided Tours of Legislative Hall

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Stories of The Green Walking Tour, meet at the John Bell House
The Green reveals many tales from Dover’s history. Tours led by historical interpreters in period dress begin on the hour and last approximately 45 minutes.

2:00 p.m. Parke Green Galleries history talk on Mabel Lloyd Ridgely & Annie Jump Cannon

Thursday, May 4
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries open

9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Biggs Museum of American Art open
Guided Tours of the Johnson Victrola Museum
Guided Tours of The Old State House
John Bell House open

9 a.m. – 7:55 p.m. Dover Public Library open

10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Guided Tours of Legislative Hall

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Stories of The Green Walking Tour, meet at the John Bell House
The Green reveals many tales from Dover’s history. Tours led by historical interpreters in period dress begin on the hour and last approximately 45 minutes.

12:00 p.m. ‘Lunch and Learn’ Series- Printmaking- featuring local buildings on The Green
Friday, May 5
8 a.m. – 9 p.m. First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries open

9 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Biggs Museum of American Art open (fee)
Guided Tours of the Johnson Victrola Museum
Guided Tours of The Old State House
John Bell House open

9 a.m. – 7:55 p.m. Dover Public Library open

10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Guided Tours of Legislative Hall

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Stories of The Green Walking Tour, meet at the John Bell House
The Green reveals many tales from Dover’s history. Tours led by historical interpreters in period dress begin on the hour and last approximately 45 minutes.

5 – 7 p.m. Exhibit Opening “Ansel Adams”: Biggs Museum of American Art
The Biggs presents a feature exhibition, focusing on the masterful, small-scale, and remarkably rare prints by Adams from the 1920s to the 1950s. (fee)

5 p.m. -8 p.m. Art Exhibit- Parke Green Galleries called “Dover View” (refreshments served)

6 – 9 p.m. Legislative Mall
33 1/3 Performs “music from the vinyl era – classic rock, soft rock, and a bit of country. Moon bounce village for kids

7 – 8 p.m. In Harmony Concert at the Dover Public Library

8:20 – 8:30 Cake presentation and Kazoo Orchestra for Dover’s 300th

Dusk Fireworks Extravaganza by Pyro Brothers Fireworks, Legislative Mall

8 – 9 p.m. Lantern Tour of the Old Methodist Cemetery
Join our guides though this historic cemetery by lantern light. Travel among ornate grave markers to hear of traditions from the past. Space is limited; call (302) 739-9194 for reservations. Lantern tours cancelled due to inclement weather will not be rescheduled. $10 per person.

Saturday, May 6

7 a.m. – 1 p.m. The Plaza
Dover Days Pancake Breakfast, Wesley United Methodist Church Men’s Group and Bake Sale at Grace Fellowship Hall (fee)

8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Line up for the Dover Days Parade and the Dover Day’s Pet Parade Central Middle School and adjacent streets

9 – 11 a.m. Breakfast on The Green, American Association of University
Women (fee)

9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries open

9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Dover Connections Tours of Legislative Hall
Enjoy guided tours of the state capitol building and hear about how people from Dover have influenced the course of Delaware history.

Guided Tours of The Old State House

Passport Through Time: Dover START at the John Bell House
Travel through the Green and Dover’s history in four historical theatre presentations written and performed by Campus Community School. Witness Dover’s past, from the formation of The Green in 1717 to city’s experiences in WWII. Performances will begin on the hour.

Archaeology at the Bell House at the John Bell House
A Time Travelers Archeology Month Event
Visit the John Bell House and learn about its history and the lives of those who spent time there in the 18th century. Archaeologist will use finds from the property to discuss everyday life in the past and how we know about times gone by. Touch a piece of history and learn about the archaeological research process.

Biggs Kids: Blue Hen Mask at the Biggs Museum of American Art
Celebrate our quirky state bird the blue hen by making your own blue hen mask! Ages 5-10.

Some Like Classical at the Johnson Victrola Museum
Enjoy early recorded classical and semi-classical music and listen to some of the greatest music ever composed on authentic Victor Talking Machines.

9:30 – 84th Annual Dover Days Parade sponsored by Del-One Federal
Credit Union. State Street and The Green; Reviewing
Stand on The Green

10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Guided Tours of Woodburn – the Governor’s House
Enjoy guided tours of the official residence of Delaware’s Governor since 1965, and Hall House, the Governor’s guest house.

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Stories of The Green Walking Tour meet at the John Bell House
Retaining its character since it was first laid out in 1717, The Green has many tales to share. Tours offered on the hour.

10 a.m. – 4:55 p.m. Dover Public Library open

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Dover Days Car Show presented by Winner Automotive Group
Tattnall Building Parking Lot. Come see the area’s hottest and best hot rods, street rods, antique, classic, muscle, cars (free)

10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Silhouette cutting demonstration by Linda Chatfield- at Parke Green Galleries

10 a.m. – 5p.m. Colonial Portrait Board in front of Delaware Store

10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friends of Old Dover – Dover Museum Preview- 323 S. State Street

10:30 a.m. Rigby’s Karate Academy demo on Legislative Mall

11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Victorian Ice Cream Parlor, The Dover Century Club on The Green

11:30 – 12:30 Maypole Dancing on The Green by Delaware School Children

11:30 English Country Dancers perform outside the State House

11:30 – Old Bay Circus Performance, Federal Street & MLK South

Noon Batter up! Diamond State Vintage Baseball team plays on the field behind Woodburn, the Governors House

12 & 1 p.m. Schwartz Center for the Arts presents two performances by the The Children’s Theater. Each performance includes 2 presentations. (free)

The first presentation was inspired by The Lion King. This contemporary piece is a 20-minute performance that explains the ‘Circle of Life’ through dance and movement. It is designed to make one feel confident within oneself. This piece was created and choreographed by Tommy Price for The Children’s Theatre, Inc. and utilizes a combination of several pop and current top hit songs.

The second presentation is a 14 minute Delaware historical fiction narrative piece. “Your Young Men Will See Visions” is a short story performed as a one-man play by 14-year-old Nikolas Mandalas. It is the story told of an adolescent Delaware Native American who, on his vision quest, sees the first white men arriving. The story was written by Joseph L. Crossen, Ed.D.

12:00 p.m. University of Delaware/Osher Lifelong Learning Chorus presenting a FREE Choral Concert at the Wesley United Methodist Church Sanctuary

12:00 p.m. Wesley United Methodist Preschoolers Choral Concert, The Green

12:15 – 12:45 Kaizen Karate presents Battle on the Mall! Legislative Mall

1 – 4 p.m. Auburn Heights Steam Car Rides meet at the John Bell House
Take a free ride in an authentic Stanley Steam car!

1:00 p.m. Let’s Get Ready to Rumble! William Penn vs. Lord Baltimore at The Old State House
Celebrate the City of Dover’s 300th Anniversary with a historic theater presentation examining William Penn’s conflict with Lord Baltimore.

1 – 2:30 pm Dover Days Games Legislative Mall
Everyone is welcome to participate in the First Annual Dover
Days games, sponsored by the Air Force Reserves. Games
Include Tug-of-War, Egg Races, and the 300 Relay

1:30 – Old Bay Circus Performs, Federal St & MLK South

1:30 English Country Dancers perform outside the State House

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Behind the Scenes Tour of the Delaware Public Archives
See how the Archives preserves and protects important records. This tour will include a display of propaganda posters from the World War I era to commemorate the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into the war.
1:30 – 4 p.m. Guided Tours of Courtroom One, Kent County Courthouse,
Enjoy a guided tour of the newly restored Courtroom 1.

2:00 p.m. Parke Green Galleries History Talk on Mabel Lloyd Ridgely & Annie Jump Cannon

2:30 – 3:00 Kaizen Karate presents Battle on the Mall! Legislative Mall

3:00 p.m. -9:00 p.m. History, Heritage and Hops Festival- West Loockerman Way Plaza
* ticketed event

3:00 – Old Bay Circus Performs, Federal St & MLK South

3:30 PM Car Show Winners Announced, Main Stage Legislative Mall

7 p.m. – Technicolor Motor Home: A Tribute to Steely Dan (fee) Schwartz Center
A mix of elegance and function, this 10-piece band plays its homage to the recent touring versions of Steely Dan. Their show includes material from every SD album as well as some gems from Becker and Fagen solo projects. Come see why they were named “Best Tribute Band in Baltimore” by Baltimore Magazine!

For a full schedule of Dover Days festival activities can be found by visiting www.DoverDaysFestival.com.

About Staff Writer

First State Update's Delaware editorial team covers New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County breaking news, political news, and general news stories. We bring the reader the latest news from the Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Rehoboth Beach and all point in between. If you have news to share, email us at desk@firststateupdate.com.

View all posts by Staff Writer →