A few fun ideasMay 14, 2021 02:53PM ● By Tricia Hoadley
The arrival of vaccines is giving people hope that favorite activities and events in and around Newark are returning, but there’s still a lot of caution among organizers.
“All of our events are subject to change based on updated COVID-19 guidance/restrictions at the time of the events,” said Paula Martinson Ennis, deputy director of the Newark parks and recreation department.
“Given the evolving status of the pandemic and state health and safety protocols, most of our colleges and programs aren’t doing that kind of long-term events scheduling at the moment,” said Peter Kerwin, a media relations manager for the University of Delaware.
Those cautions acknowledged, here some ideas for entertaining and enriching activities in the Newark area for the next few months:
Main Street Alfresco
Outdoor dining on Newark’s Main Street began last summer as a joint venture by the city and the Newark Partnership to celebrate the end of roadwork downtown and boost restaurants limited by pandemic guidelines. It was so popular that it ran every Wednesday evening into December. The city closed off Main Street between Chapel Street and South College Avenue, with restaurants spilling out with plenty of socially distanced tables. And there was music, even Santa once.
Newark City Manager Tom Coleman told TownSquareDelaware.com that he expects more retailers to join the restaurants for this year. Main Street Alfresco began at the end of March, and the early schedule called for it to be repeated on the second and fourth Wednesdays. Details will be posted on the city website, https://newarkde.gov.
The city is in the very early stages of planning for the Newark Food and Brew Festival, which pairs dozens of beers with fare from Main Street restaurants. It’s tentatively scheduled July 24 or July 31, said city spokeswoman Jayme Gravell.
Music and more from Newark parks & rec
A spring concert series is one of the highlights of activities planned by the Newark parks & recreation department. It runs 7-8 p.m. Thursdays through June 12 at the Academy Building lawn, Academy and Main streets.
A Memorial Day event is planned May 16, with a ceremony at 1 p.m. on the University of Delaware Green and a parade at 2 p.m. along Main Street.
The department is hosting a Christmas in July flea market from 8 a.m. to noon July 24 at the George Wilson Community Center, 303 New London Road.
Summer camps – a week of sports, a week of arts or an entire summer of fun – run June 12 through Aug. 27 at various locations.
Details and updates are posted at https://newarkde.gov/58/Parks-and-Recreation.
Parks on Draft
Newark is bringing back Parks on Draft, its pop-up beer garden that debuted in 2019 with four days of fun at Olan Thomas Park, featuring food, games, beer, live music, vinyl spinning and even yoga.
Parks on Draft returned three times last summer, featuring different restaurants providing the refreshments, different activities and different sites, all benefiting some good cause. “It’s an integral part in making Newark a destination,” Mayor Jerry Clifton told the Newark Post. “It’s events like this that will make Newark attractive to people in the 25 to 45 age range. That’s important for the long-term viability of the city.”
Admission is free, and children and pets are welcome, but only adults can buy beer. Details will be posted on the city’s website.
White Clay Creek Presbyterian turns 300
White Clay Creek Presbyterian Church is celebrating its 300th anniversary with multiple events. Worship services began in 1721 in a log cabin, almost a mile north of the church’s present site, 15 Polly Drummond Hill Road.
On May 30, the church will host a Memorial Day ceremony, marking 55 or so graves of veterans in the White Clay Creek Cemetery. Veterans from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam are found in the cemetery. There will be a brass band and a speaker.
The 30th anniversary picnic at the church on June 6 “will feature fun activities from past and present,” the church says on https://wccpc.org/about-us/300-years. Admission is free, and the menu is a catered barbecue.
Anniversary events continue into the fall, with a celebration dinner Nov. 5 at the Clayton Center and a worship celebration and lunch Nov. 7. The church also plans to publish a book on its history.
Appreciating White Clay Creek
There are multiple ways to get closer to White Clay Creek State Park, which boasts 37 miles of trails in its 3,600 acres. (Don’t forget hundreds of more acres in Pennsylvania’s adjacent White Clay Creek Preserve.)
The state park has opened registration for summer camps, contingent on the governor’s state of emergency guidelines. They proved to be popular: All but one of the camps at White Clay was filled by early April.
Also, “we hope to be able to do some of the popular Panning for Creek Gems programs this summer,” said Shauna McVey, community relations coordinator for Delaware State Parks. Updates are on www.destateparks.com/programs.
A virtual Creek Fest launched May “to celebrate the many ways to enjoy and protect the White Clay Creek, a National Wild and Scenic River,” she said. “Our goal is to raise awareness of the drinking water, scenic, recreational, historical and natural resource values of the White Clay Creek.” Details are at http://whiteclay.org/creekfest.
The creek is Delaware’s most heavily stocked water. The park offers catch-and-release fishing for largemouth bass, and Smith Mill Pond offers accessible docks.
A virtual road map covers a self-paced two-mile round-trip hike. Fifteen highlights include a bridge that used to float away in storms, where to see beaver chews and the location of one of 11 mills sited to take advantage of free waterpower.
Pause at No. 9, the Shirley A. Russell bridge, named for the wife of T. W. Fraser Russell, a University of Delaware chemical engineer who donated money to build it. “Walks along the White Clay Creek were Russell’s first recommendation for anyone who had a problem to think through,” the guide says. Go to www.destateparks.com/VirtualParks and select the White Clay self-guided hike.
And an 18-round disc golf course meanders through wooded areas in the Carpenter Recreation Area.