When the Swedes arrived on the banks of the Christina in the early 17th century they surely made use of a sharp axe or two to clear trees and brush for their new settlement. One must imagine they would be surprised 400 years later to encounter festive young people launching these devices at a target with delight.
But that’s exactly what they would have found on this beautiful spring day at the Constitution Yards seasonal beer garden, where Wilmo Axe opened their throwing pits for the first time.
The business was added this year to Constitution Yards popular activity offerings, bringing what has become a national craze to Delaware.
“The axe range popularity is at a peak right now. It has been sweeping across the country,” said Constitution Yards owner John Heil. “When we founded Constitution Yards, we were trying to be transformational. This is continuing that thought.”
The axe throwing on Wilmington’s Riverfront is the only one of its kind in the area, and it’s all outdoors. And yes, you can enjoy an adult beverage or two, but keeping your wits about you is highly recommended.
Heil says axe throwing is a great group activity, and they expect to appeal to businesses interested in a fun team building exercise that’s a departure from the norm. “This adds to the fun factor, and this is what we’re all about. And it attracts all sorts of folks,” said Heil.
Axe throwing at Constitution Yards is available to kids 14 to 17 years of age as long as a parent or guardian is present. Axe Master Katie Derer says they were pleased they were able to offer it to teens because so many other activities at Constitution Yards are centered around fun for the whole family.
Other activities at the expansive, 30,000 square foot facility include corn hole, badminton, bocce ball, arcade games, life-size Jenga and wiffleball. Kicking up the fun factor yet another notch, sumo wrestling will debut in June.
Derer, who has four years’ experience as an axe master and has been training instructors for the last two weeks, emphasized that safety is their number one priority. “We teach everybody how to throw securely and safely. You do not need to be experienced. It’s definitely something everybody can pick up,” she said.
Wilmo Axe has eight lanes and 16 targets – two targets per lane. There are various ways to compete, but the most popular is the round robin, which is five throws per person. Participants will have two sizes of axes (approved through a national axe throwing organization) to choose from. Up to 10 people per lane can participate in an axe-throwing session.
Hourly throwing for small groups – $20/hour per person – as well as private lane rentals are available. The cost for a private lane rental is $40 for a two-hour reservation with 8-10 people.
Derer says they expect to go through a lot of lumber this summer. So they plan to incorporate monthly bonfires into the axe throwing activity lineup using the wood from the targets.
She says her Wilmo Axe team is ready for the scores of families and party-going revelers who might be attracted to experience the thrill of axe throwing. “For sure this is going to be a hugely exciting thing on the Riverfront. We have always been a very active beer garden. It’s an exceptional way to step outside of your comfort zone.”
Constitution Yards also plans to offer valet parking for the first time this summer on Friday and Saturday nights. They have 60 parking spaces on the property and can park additional cars offsite. But with the rains of the last two weeks, the timing of availability of valet parking is TBD. Pricing also is still in the works.