On a day filled with bright sunshine and steamy temps nearing 90 degrees, a handful of invited visitors were treated to frosty, delicious scoops of ice cream this morning at Rockwood Park as part of a preview of next month’s Ice Cream Festival.
A hot air balloon, super-magnification telescopes and a big-time fireworks display are just some of the activities in store for New Castle County’s Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Festival on Saturday, June 29th.
The festival will go all day, from Noon to 9 pm, concluding for the first time in over a decade with fireworks at dusk. Should the weather be uncharitable, a rain date is set for Sunday, June 30th.
Hot air balloon and special daytime telescopes
The hot air balloon will at times be inflated and tethered to the ground and semi-inflated and lying on its side so that kids and their parents will be able to walk through. “The hot air balloon will be a really cool experience,” said Carey Lockman-Corbin, community services coordinator for New Castle County. “I think the colorful balloon will not only look great, but it will be a lot of fun for families.”
The Mount Cuba Observatory is hoping the forecast calls for lots of sunshine because they are bringing several high-powered telescopes equipped with special filters to Rockwood Park so fairgoers can look directly at the sun.
The festival will look a little different this year – no carnival rides or bungee trampoline activities – as organizers try to return the festival to its roots and revitalize the original spirit of the event.
Look for the new Author’s Alley and Vintage Marketplace
People looking for a day of fun and plenty to eat will still find lots of choices at this year’s event. The Local Food Court will include a mix of restaurants and food trucks — 10 in all — selling smoked BBQ, pizza, tacos, Carribean soul food, kettle corn and more.
A local music sound stage will feature seven different bands, including Hoochi Coochi and the Wilmington Concert Opera, and there will be a variety of kid’s activities, like giant bubbles, face painting, a photo booth, stilt walkers, opportunities to meet costumed characters and a kiddie train. The schedule of musical performances and list of activities and exhibitors can be found here.
Also new this year is an ‘Author’s Alley,’ with published local authors reading excerpts from their books (also for sale of course), and a Vintage Marketplace with a variety of antique and handcrafts items sponsored by First State Flea.
“It’s a combination of antiques and handmade items, like handmade soaps and candles as well as home accents and jewelry. So, we’re really supporting local entrepreneurs and also a few local museums, who will sell gift items,” said Lockman-Corbin.
Ice Cream and Cold Treats
Seven ice cream and water ice vendors (two this year) who take great pride in their locally-run businesses have pledged not to run out of their ice cold treats. This year’s include Caffe Gelato, Dino’s Water Ice, Ice Cream Shoppe, Kilby Cream, Kona Ice, UDairy Creamery and Woodside Farms Creamery.
Organizers want to remind festival-goers that while admission is free for kids 12 and under accompanied by a paying adult, the ice cream and all food at the event is pay-as-you-go. Admission is $5 for attendees 13 and over.
County Executive Matt Myer thanked the Rockwood Park Preservation Society for their support of the park and the festival. “This is an effort to make sure that this park and the friends of this park have the funding they need to move this park forward long into the future,” he said.