New Castle County again will host a series of celebrations – starting this Friday, December 2 -- that have become known as its “Holiday Traditions,” County Executive Thomas P. Gordon announced Monday.
The free events, which draw thousands of guests, will be held at Rockwood Park & Museum, Glasgow Regional Park and Carousel Park & Equestrian Center.
“Our Holiday Traditions are some of the county’s most popular events, with many families creating their own traditions of attending every year,” Gordon said. “These free activities at county parks close to home help parents stretch their holiday budgets and create wonderful memories to last their children a lifetime.”
“We’re proud to present another season of these family-friendly activities at these beautiful facilities,” said General Manager Sophia Hanson of the county Department of Community Services.
Events start with the 16th Annual Holiday Open House at Rockwood Museum this Friday through Sunday, Dec. 2-4, with entertainment, children’s activities, costumed characters and free take-home photos with Santa, Hanson said.
Performers this year include the Delaware Arts Conservatory performing excerpts of “The Snow Queen,” Wilmington Children’s Theater with a preview of its “Willy Wonka” production and Imagination Players, along with the Kathryn Ciminello Dance Troupe, Cab Calloway Middle School Choirs, University of Delaware’s Children’s Choir.
The event also includes our Youth Entrepreneur’s Secret Santa Shoppe, selling gifts for the whole family, tours of the holiday display in the museum and a festive light display in the gardens surrounding the Carriage House and historic mansion.
Gordon will lead the traditional tree lighting at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, and at 7 p.m., give children a special reading of Clement Clarke Moore’s classic “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
Open house hours run 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3, then 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4.
Guests are asked to bring donations of nonperishable food items or new hats, gloves, mittens or scarves for the Giving Tree to help the needy. Tours of the museum also are free throughout December. For GPS, the park address is 4651 Washington Street Extension, Wilmington, DE 19809.
Next in the county’s Holiday Traditions events is the Annual Tree Lighting Celebration at Glasgow Park on the evening of Friday, Dec. 9.
Festivities there run 6-9 p.m., with Gordon leading the tree lighting at 7 p.m. by the newly restored Glasgow Park Bank Barn. There will be live music, bonfires, refreshments and make-and-take crafts in Santa’s Workshop. Guests are encouraged to bring cameras for their children’s visits with Santa.
New this year will be the Festive Holiday Market, featuring area vendors with a wide variety of local foods, gifts, holiday decorations and more.
While visiting the park, Gordon also invites guests to check out the recently dedicated “H!GH 5 PARK,” the county’s special playground created to address the needs of children on the autism spectrum -- the first facility of its kind in Delaware and surrounding states. For GPS, the park address is 2275 Pulaski Highway, Newark, DE 19702.
The next day, Saturday, Dec. 10, festivities come to Carousel Park & Equestrian Center in Pike Creek.
Children of all ages are invited to visit “Santa and His Pony” from noon to 4 p.m. and create a make-and-take craft in his workshop.
More than two dozen local vendors will join the celebration’s extensive Holiday Market with a variety of foods, crafts, jewelry, handmade soaps and candles, farm products and gifts, including unique items created by the industrious kids of the Youth Entrepreneurs of New Castle County.
Guests are invited to bring cameras for photos with Santa, meet the many friendly animals of the Kids Corral – from alpacas and goats to rabbits and turtles -- and enjoy hayrides around the park’s beautiful rolling hills.
For GPS, the park address is 3700 Limestone Road, Wilmington, DE 19808.