F.Y.I. Things Worth Knowing

New Year’s Eve Fest Set For The Grand

OperaDelaware, The Grand, and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra will collectively present New Year’s Eve at The Grand featuring Broadway legend Brian Stokes Mitchell. Performing alongside Mitchell will be the Delaware Symphony Orchestra led by Maestro David Amado and four popular OperaDelaware soloists (Vanessa Becerra, Chrystal E. Williams, William Davenport, Erin McKeever).

We are elated to partner with our colleagues at The Grand Opera House and OperaDelaware to once again bring a glittering New Year’s Eve gala to Wilmington,” says J.C. Barker, Executive Director of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. “After a long break, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate — not only our musicians’ return to the stage, but also The Grand’s 150th Anniversary.”

Tickets to the concerts are $150 with proceeds benefiting each organization equally. Visit TheGrandWilmington.org/NYE

New Executive Director For The Delaware Division Of The Arts

Jessica Ball has been named executive director of the Delaware Division of the Arts (DDOA). Ball replaces Paul Weagraff, who retired in June after leading DDOA since 2006. Ball has served as executive director of the Delaware Arts Alliance since 2018 and was instrumental in getting CARES Act funds for arts and cultural organizations in Delaware. 

“My vision for the arts post-pandemic is one that is centered on increased access, diversity, equity, and inclusion. I am eager to work with the Division of the Arts staff and our partners throughout the state to advance the sector for the benefit of all Delawareans,” said Ball. 

Holiday Fun At Brandywine Zoo

The 115-year-old Brandywine Zoo may be in the middle of significant upgrades, but it’s doing so while maintaining many of its popular traditions. On Dec 11-12, Santa at Brandywine Zoo (10am-noon) features a chance for kids to get a photo with the special guest, enjoy free hot chocolate and take part in a variety of family-friendly activities. The event is free to Zoo members; $7 otherwise. On Dec. 31, Noon Year’s Eve at Brandywine Zoo (11am-12:15pm) will feature a cider toast at noon, crafts and a daytime celebration to welcome in the new year. Free with Zoo membership; $5 otherwise. Visit BrandywineZoo.org

Celebrity Chefs Headline Benefit Dinner Series

Celebrity guest chefs will team with a collection of popular Wilmington chefs and restaurants to present IRC x Wilmington, a series of mission-driven dinners to benefit the Independent Restaurant Coalition. The series is hosted by The Buccini/Pollin Group and Tyler Akin, chef-partner at Wilmington restaurant Le Cavalier and a board member of the IRC.

The first event of the series will take place at Le Cavalier on Dec. 9 and feature Ashley Christensen (owner of AC Restaurants and a James Beard Foundation award winner) in collaboration with Jim Burke (culinary director of Philadelphia’s acclaimed Wm. Mulherin’s & Sons). Mulherin’s is operated by Philly-based Method Co., which is collaborating with BPG to create a boutique downtown Wilmington hotel in the historic building at 519 N. Market St. 

The second event in the series is set for Jan. 20 and will feature Le Cavalier’s Akin teaming with Jennifer Carroll (owner of Carroll Couture Cuisine and finalist on Bravo’s Top Chef) and Tom Colicchio (host of Bravo’s Top Chef and five-time James Beard Award winner). Remaining dates in the series are Jan. 30, Feb. 17, and Mar. 10. 

In addition to Akin, local chefs participating include Antimo DiMeo (Bardea), Bryan Sikora (La Fia) and Dan Sheridan (Stitch House).  

“Every person collaborating on this series — from the IRC and its visiting celebrity chefs to our friends up and down Market Street — were instrumental in outreach to legislators that led to the creation of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund,” says Akin. “Since March, the IRC grew from a dozen chefs to an organization of thousands across the country who have given our industry a platform for change. This work led to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which helped over 100,000 restaurants across the country keep their doors open.”  

For tickets, visit EventBrite.com/IRCxWilmington

Free Shipping When You Shop Downtown

Downtown Visions is offering a free shipping program to support downtown Wilmington businesses. Through Dec. 31, 2021, those who shop online with participating downtown retailers will receive free shipping,both for the customer and the retailer, courtesy of Downtown Visions. For a list of participating retailers, visit DowntownWilmingtonDe.com

Literacy Tutors Needed

The number of adults in Delaware who cannot read at more than a third-grade level and/or who don’t speak English well would fill 11 UD football stadiums,” says Cindy Shermeyer, Literacy Delaware Executive Director.

To help address that need, Literacy Delaware is recruiting volunteers for its upcoming tutor training sessions. No tutoring experience is necessary. An orientation session will be held on Thur., Dec. 16 with tutor training sessions each Thursday from Jan. 6-27. Visit LiteracyDelaware.org or call (302) 658-5624.

Shine A Light’s 10th Anniversary Concert

The annual Shine A Light concert celebrates its 10th year on Saturday, March 5, with a star-studded cast of more than 60 Delaware musicians rocking The Queen theater for a fitting cause. 

In 2019, Delaware Today honored Shine A Light with a “Best of Delaware” designation in the fundraising category.

Showcasing the best highlights from shows over the past decade and offering plenty of new surprises, this year’s show looks to support musical programs in Wilmington’s most underserved communities. 

Tickets go on sale online January 1. For more information about the Shine A Concert series, go to LightUpTheQueen.com

Holiday Village Market In Kennett Square

The Kennett Collective is presenting a holiday celebration in the style of a German Christkindlmarkt Dec. 4-5 and Dec. 11-12 (11am-5pm each day) at The Creamery of Kennett Square (401 Birch St., Kennett Square). In addition to dozens of curated artisans and vintage vendors, the Holiday Market will offer live music, ice sculptures, food trucks and Santa Claus. Visit KennettHolidayVillage.com

Wilmington Ballet’s Holiday Tradition

The Wilmington Ballet Academy will present its 53rd annual production of The Nutcracker Dec 17-19 at The Playhouse on Rodney Square. This production of The Nutcracker is the only one in the area featuring a live orchestra and a wide range of onstage performers. Featured performers include The Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Amanda Smith & Anthony Santos, the renowned Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and the Wilmington Ballet Orchestra. Additional guest artists include Pieces of a Dream Academy of Dance (Wilmington), American Dance Academy (Hockessin), Stage Lights Dance Academy (Newark), McAleer-Paulson School of Irish Dance (Wilmington & Lewes) and Wilmington’s own Akua Noni Parker (Dance Theatre of Harlem & Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater).

Showtimes vary. For tickets visit TheGrandWilmington.org/productions

More in:FYI