The thing about the State News is, we throw one heck of a party. I’m writing this Friday morning, in the wake of our Stars of Delaware event. If you’re a regular reader, you’ve seen the logo and teasers about our readers’ choice contest for the last few months. I’m hoping most of you participated in the voting stages. It seems like you must’ve, because we have over 30,000 votes and nominations this year. It’s one of the biggest, best-received projects we take on, so I’m sure most of our readers are more than familiar. The book showcasing our winners should be in this very newspaper, so give it a look if you haven’t already!
But what some readers may not know is that each year, we put on a massive celebration for all our finalists. Tickets are only available to the top 3 in each category, and it’s a sell-out every year. For good reason.
Like I said, it’s one heck of a party. This year it was hosted at King Cole Farm, a new Dover venue that did nothing but impress. The large hall is modern and sleek, with rustic farmhouse touches. It housed hundreds of winners, giving the whole night the air of a gala or wedding. Outside, cozy firepits offered some break-out conversation spaces crowned by string lights, leading to C.M. Baker Photography’s Shasta Shutterbug mobile booth (Sponsored by the Biggs Museum). The whole space framed by serene fields of corn, a good distance away from any outside noise. It was like a little farmland oasis. But the main event was inside, where over 300 local business owners and leaders were mixing and mingling. It was really lovely to see so many familiar faces, from Downtown Dover Partnership, the Biggs Museum, La Baguette and many, many more all dressed to impress.
After a moving speech by our person of the year, DEMCO’s Dr. Linda Hackett (please read more about her in the publication–SUCH an amazing soul), we moved onto our toast (courtesy of High Ground Creative), catered dinner, drinks and ice cream. Some of us hit ice cream before dinner, but can you blame us? Vanderwende’s had a mobile ice cream shop parked just outside and it was all-you can eat (thanks to Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation).
And shortly after that, the dancing. Ah, the dancing. Once Mike Hines & the Look took over the mic (courtesy of Chesapeake Utilities), it was THEIR party. If you’ve never seen these guys play live, oh man, they are an experience. Several dozen of us flooded to the dance floor, and that became the party the rest of the night. It was fantastic. And not just because Laura Garofoli (Lean On Me Caregiving) and I absolutely destroyed the floor to their rendition of Bell Biv DeVoe’s POISON, or that the team from Bigg’s Museum dominated the center of it all. Or that SOMEONE managed to drag everyone’s favorite columnist to the front of a conga line. (Sorry, no footage of that one survived the night). It was just … extremely fun. Special shoutout to our loudest table, J Rena Styling Company, who made the rest of us look like chumps on the boards.
At some point near the end of the night, flush faced and smiling, someone reminded us that it was only Thursday night, after all, and we all still had work in the morning. A few songs later and we started to wind down, breathless, happy, and better friends than we were coming in.
And now I know how well our own Heather Cregar can tear up a dance floor.
Seriously though, it was a great event with wonderful food, music, venue, the works. But nothing makes nights like those more than the people you share it with. There were over 300 great people at King Cole Farm last night, and you, our readers, are the ones that put them there. We really do thank you for recognizing some of the best in our communities, and I hope you all take a minute to look at the Stars of Delaware publication either in print or online. These people are not only my dance partners, they’re our neighbors, keeping our area thriving, and most of all, Local-First! Congratulate them or consider patronizing them when it makes sense to; they’re the Best of Delaware for a reason.
Bay to the Beach: Byways is a regular column in which we explore interesting places and projects on the Delmarva Peninsula. Videos and more photos at Bay to the Beach Byways.