DOVER— Carol Lettieri and her 12-year-old grandson Ethan threw a Frisbee back and forth to each other as they soaked up the sun and enjoyed all the activities the 82nd annual Dover Days Festival had to offer.
“We’ve been coming here for 31 years,” Ms. Lettieri said. “We come back because we want to support the community.
“After 20 years in the Air Force we lived all over and this is just one of the best festivals that we have ever seen. It’s something for everyone.”
People leisurely kicked soccer balls between each other or were laying on The Green with their children, watching people as they danced to the “Cha Cha Slide” and other songs.
Dover resident Shondia Taylor said the festival is never a disappointment.
“It’s a joy coming out here,” Ms. Taylor said. “There are a lot of activities for my kids to enjoy. It’s always a fun event.
Although the festival is typically known for its colonial theme, this year the festival took on a Civil War motif in honor of the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s death.
Daniel Pritchett presented “The Lincolns as a Family,” a story of the meeting of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd in 1839 and their marriage in 1842.
The talk looked back at the unlikely pair, their four sons, and the series of tragedies that struck the family before, during and after the Civil War.
There was a replica Civil War encampment on The Green, the story of Private James H. Elbert, an African-American soldier, which was told by re-enactor Willis Phelps, Jr., of the Delaware Humanities Forum Speakers Bureau.
“It’s fun learning about the history,” Ms. Taylor said.
The highly anticipated Pie Eating Championship drew a crowd that cheered each contestant seeking to devour the treat before anyone else could.
Delaware State News entertainment editor Craig Horleman was victorious after participating in the event for the past three years.
“The pie eating contest was really fun to watch,” Ethan said. “I really enjoyed that a lot.”
Cindy Small, Kent County Tourism executive director, couldn’t stop smiling as she continued to be excited about the success of the festival.
“I had people tell me it was more crowded than it was last year,” she said. “We have more vendors that we had last year. There were 500 spots in the previous year and we have 560 covered this year.
“It’s the best weekend of the year so far. It’s rewarding to look out here and see everyone having a good time.”
Sunday will also be highlighted by the annual Dover Days Car Show and the Dover Days Cup Vintage Base Ball Tournament, both from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Legislative Mall & The Green
Dawn to Dusk: Self-guided tours of historic Christ Church Cemetery, corner of Water and S. State Streets
9 a.m.-4 p.m.: First State Model Railroad Club’s Dover Days display. Club headquarters, McKee Road in Dover; free parking, handicapped-accessible
11 a.m.-Noon: Dover Days Princess Tea, presented by the Premier Centre for the Arts, featuring Elsa, Anna and Belle, this interactive tea party includes light refreshments and heavy fun served table side. Characters sing, dance and tell stories all while engaging the entire audience – it’s a rollicking good time! Meet and greet where you can grab a photo next to your favorite characters.
Hot/cold tea or water included with goldfish, cookies, cheese and more. Souvenir cups available for an additional fee; The Murphey School, Route 8, fee. Tickets: www.doverdaysfestival.com.
11 a.m.-4 p.m.: Moonbounce Village for Kids by BK Rentals, behind the Old State House
11 a.m.-4 p.m.: Carnival Rides by Stine Amusements, Legislative Avenue and Water Street
11 a.m.-4 p.m.: 100-plus Arts, Crafts and Food Vendors
11 a.m.-4 p.m.: Winner Hyundai Dover Days Car Show onsite registration; 26 trophies, plus Best in Show, Best Mustang and Best “Downton Abbey”-era (1900-1920)
11 a.m.-4 p.m.: Dover Days Cup: Vintage Baseball Tournament
11 a.m.-4 p.m.: “Delaware Mourns Lincoln: A Demonstration of Love and Sorrow” exhibit from the collections of the state of Delaware, the Old State House.
11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.: First State Heritage Park Welcome Center open; free brochures, visitor information; and restrooms. 121 MLK Blvd. North
11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.: The Old State House, 25 The Green, will be open for guided tours
11 a.m.-4 p.m.: Colonial Musician Robert Mouland, near information gazebo.
*1 p.m.-2 p.m.: “Close to the Vest & Under the Skirt Tour,” presented by Karen Jessee of the Delaware Humanities Forum Speakers Bureau, Dover Public Library, 35 The Plaza
1 p.m.-2 p.m.: Dover Days Princess Tea, presented by the Premier Centre for the Arts, featuring Elsa, Anna and Belle, this interactive tea party includes light refreshments and heavy fun served table side. Characters sing, dance and tell stories all while engaging the entire audience – it’s a rollicking good time! Meet and greet where you can grab a photo next to your favorite characters.
Hot/cold tea or water included with goldfish, cookies, cheese and more. Souvenir cups available for an additional fee; The Murphy School, Route 8, fee. Tickets: http://www.doverdaysfestival.
*3 p.m.-4 p.m.: “Delaware in the Civil War,” presented by Dr. Gary Wray of the Delaware Humanities Forum Speakers Bureau, Biggs Museum, 406 Federal St.
3 p.m.: Dover Days Pops Concert by the Dover Symphony Orchestra, Rollins Center at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino; a program of familiar patriotic and movie music, medleys of signature Beatles and Elvis songs to conclude the 2014-15 season. For tickets, call 302-270-1903
3:30 p.m.-4 p.m.: Dover Days Car Show Awards, Legislative Mall stage