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December First Friday

Downtown Dover Capital Holiday Celebration

Festivities throughout the holiday season!

(November 24, 2021)  Downtown Dover is excited to celebrate the holiday season with several partnering organizations in the Capital City.  Mayor Christiansen and his City staff and partners, including Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce (CDCC), the Dover Public Library, NCALL, and the Downtown Dover Partnership, invite the community to safely enjoy holiday traditions, including Small Business Saturday on November 27, the traditional Capital Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting on Friday, December 3 from 4 p.m. into the evening, the “electric light parade” on December 11th, beautiful window displays and downtown shopping.

Support local merchants on Small Business Saturday on November 27, when shoppers can take advantage of special promotions in downtown shops. The Downtown Dover Partnership will feature giveaways and drawings for $100 Amex cards, as well as pictures by Frame DE with Santa at 126 Loockerman Way Plaza between 11 and 2, with candy canes and hot chocolate.  Coney Island hot dogs will be available for purchase at the plaza as well. Shoppers should request a Capital Key at to unlock savings throughout December and year ‘round while shopping in downtown Dover: https://tinyurl.com/DoverCapitalKeyReg

Then on First Friday, December 3, beginning at 4 p.m. with library activities.  Then at 5:30, the official lighting of the city trees will take place with caroling led by local dignitaries at The Plaza, City Hall.  Snacks and Santa will be outdoors at the library, and for those that miss him in person, letters can be mailed by way of the special mailbox next to Santa, and then until Christmas, the mailbox will be inside the library.  Also at the Dover Public Library, children will enjoy picking up their “Grab ‘n Go Craft Kits” and at 6 p.m., community members are invited to take in holiday tunes at the In Harmony concert featuring Tim and Steffi Plimpton, whose music will delight and inspire attendees.  Community members are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to the library for the food drive to benefit local pantries. 

Also on First Friday, shoppers are encouraged to have dinner at local restaurants, or at Loockerman Way Plaza for Sweets And Treats, Gastro Graffiti, and other vendors, then shop later into the evening on Loockerman and adjacent streets where musical buskers will be performing inside many of the shops:

  • Phyllis Edamatsu on accordion with a focus on classical to jazz holiday sounds, at Black Swamp Artisanal Market.
  • Diane Laird playing a mix of the holiday season and other instrumental favorites on keys at My Roots.
  • Mike Miller on acoustic guitar playing/singing Americana themed pieces, at Tina's Timeless Threads.
  • Mollie Raley Hall and Steve Hall - Singer/Songwriters on guitar, ukulele, mandolin and percussion drums with an eclectic mix of mostly folk, pop and Holiday, at the Delaware Shoppes and Parke Green Galleries.
  • Stu's Blues - Performing blues on upright bass, harmonica and guitar, at the House of Coffi.
  • Musician to be announced, 7- 9pm, at Grey Fox Grille & Public House.

Visit the new Black Swamp Artisanal Market at 204 W. Loockerman Street for a variety of food and craft gift items, as well as other downtown retailers.  Visit https://tinyurl.com/DoverFirstFridayDecember for updates on the full program and https://Tinyurl.com/DoverFirstFriday for the list of retailers and restaurants.

On December 11th the “electric light parade” will showcase 60+ vehicles “all lit up.”  For information, visit: Dashing Through Downtown Dover Parade on FaceBook.

On the First Saturday of each month, First State Heritage Park of Dover (FSHPD), Delaware’s first urban park without boundaries, welcomes citizens and guests of Dover with a series of thematic programs and events.  On Saturday, December 4, the feature will be 1920 Holiday Traditions at the John Bell House, to learn about holiday celebrations in the 1920s, have your picture taken in our lovely tableau and receive it electronically in an authentic holiday greeting card style of your choice!  The Johnson Victrola Museum will be bringing an authentic Victrola to play period-style Christmas Music for visitors to enjoy. 

FSHPD is also reviving a beloved artistic tradition among early Americans: Historic Illuminations Craft. Using candlelight, celebratory images, silhouettes, special messages and more we'll adorn the night with flickering, beautiful brilliance. From November 20 until December 18, join FSHPD in making these special decorated paper lanterns to display on the grounds of Woodburn, the Governor's House, with a special event on December 18th. https://destateparks.com/History/FirstStateHeritage

The community can also enjoy “Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Murray” and “Unmasking Culture: An Examination of the Ritual Masks of Mexico” at the Biggs Museum of American Arthttps://www.biggsmuseum.org/  Also at the Biggs in December:

December 1: 5:30- 7:30PM Watercolor and Wine (Creating Holiday Cards)

December 4: 10 AM – 4 PM- First Saturday – Free Admission – Children’s Pop-up Shop and Biggs Kids Winter Workshop

December 7: 6-7 PM “Unmasking Culture” Guided Tour and lecture by the collection owner, Stephen Althouse (presented in English)

December 8: 6-7 PM Unmasking Culture Guided Tour and lecture by the collection owner, Stephen Althouse (presented in Spanish)

December 20, 21, 22: 9 AM – 3:30 PM – ArtVenture Single Day Winter Camps for children 6-13

Throughout the holiday season, participate in a downtown Dover StoryWalk while enjoying the colorfully lit merchant windows.  Inspired by the book Sugar White Snow and Evergreens, the decorating theme will be " A Winter Wonderland of Color."   Poster-sized pages of the book will be featured in downtown windows, and one page leads the viewer to the next.  For details, contact Rosie Mujica at rosie.mujica@gmail.com

Visit https://tinyurl.com/DoverFirstFridayDecember for updates related to programming during First Friday and throughout the month of December to celebrate the season in downtown Dover!

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