WILMINGTON, Del. — County Executive Tom Gordon and Barry’s Events invite you to Chill out on Saturday and Sunday at the New Castle County Ice Cream Festival at Rockwood Park, packed this year with a full menu of food, fun and games for all members of the family.
The annual festival, produced by Barry’s Events and sponsored by New Castle County Government, will feature a dozen ice cream vendors, a scintillating selection of sandwiches and snacks, two entertainment stages, lots of fun for kids of all ages and Delaware’s first “Drone Zone,” with remote-controlled devices soaring overhead to capture all the weekend’s excitement.
Rockwood’s “Best Sundae on Sunday” competition, featured last year on an episode of the Food Network’s “Eating America” series, will return, with the “Moo Crew” from the University of Delaware’s UDairy Creamery defending its championship against a mix of new and familiar sundae servers.
The summer kickoff celebration, known as Delaware’s largest family picnic, offers family-friendly prices for all food, and activities to keep families at the park all day long. Last year USA Today named it one of the nation’s top ten food festivals. This year, children 12 and under will be admitted for free when accompanied by an adult.
Participating dairies and ice cream vendors include: UDairy Creamery, the Ice Cream Shoppe (second place in the 2014 Best Sundae contest), Sweet Lucy’s (third place last year), plus returnees Caffe Gelato, HyPoint Farms, Kilby Cream, Tocumbo and Cajun-Sno, and four newcomers from Pennsylvania, Yeungling’s Ice Cream, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, iSwich Gourmet and Punk’d Pineapple, as well as one from New Jersey, Battiato Farms Strawberry Milkshakes.
Several vendors will offer lactose-free or sugar-free flavors.
In addition to the ice cream vendors, festival visitors will be able to choose from 30 food and snack options – burgers, ribs, cheesesteaks, seafood, Mexican, Greek, Italian, Polish, Cajun and vegetarian, plus egg rolls, baked goods, water ice and food trucks. Newark’s Home Grown Café will offer a varied selection of craft beers and wines.
A new feature this year is the “drone zone,” hosted by Skygear Solutions, where visitors will be able to monitor activities throughout the festival captured on video cameras mounted on drones flying overhead.
The Music Meadow will be filled with diverse sounds, with a different group performing every hour – rock, jazz, folk, classical, something to please every musical taste. Performing Saturday will be: the Diamond State Orchestra, No Stringz Attached, Hailey Music, Super Ngewel, the Kombu Combo, Weekday Warriors, the Wilmington School of Rock, Poor Yorick and New Shields.
Sunday’s performers are Ballet Folklorico Mexico Lindo, the Black Bird Society Orchestra, Nxt2normal, the Wilmington School of Rock, Kategory 5 and the Chesapeake Brass Band.
The expanded Children’s Zone will have its own entertainment stage, face painting, and plenty of games and activities. Live animals, trapeze artists, stilt walkers and jugglers will add to the fun around the park.
Saturday’s entertainers on the children’s stage includes Jungle John’s Man Eating Balloon Show, Le Petit Yoga, the Movement Workshop, the Middletown Acoustic Guitar Club, Frozen Singalong (three sets), Nature Jams, the Brandywiners, the Wilmington Ballet, We Kids Rock, Preschool Prodigies & My Little Linguist and the Magic Show with Magic Bob.
The schedule for Sunday includes Nature Jams (two sets), the Magic Show with Magic Bob, Preschool Prodigies & My Little Linguist, Frozen Singalong (three sets), Hanna Paige and the Juggling Hoffmans.
In addition, WJBR radio will be broadcasting live from the festival throughout the weekend.
Prime corporate sponsors for the festival are Wegmans Food Markets, Jake’s Wayback Burgers and Bonefish Grill.
Main Street Rockwood will feature more than 50 local businesses, including crafters, artists and retailers, as well as a number of nonprofit organizations. Another 20 businesses will be sharing tent space. In conjunction with New Castle County’s “Buy from Your Neighbor” program, the Ice Cream Festival promotes purchasing goods and services from locally owned and operated businesses.
For an updated schedule of all performances and a list of festival participants, go to rockwoodicecream.com
Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 27, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 28. Admission is $5 for adults, with children 12 and under and accompanied by an adult admitted for free. Free shuttle bus service will be provided between Rockwood and parking lots at Merchants Square, Mount Pleasant High School and the Rockwood Office Park.
The festival is dog-friendly. Friendly dogs on leashes are welcome at the festival and on our shuttle buses.