The Ultimate in DIY

A collaborative workspace with digital and traditional fabrication tools, classes, consulting and events, NextFab is coming to downtown Wilmington

To Ryan Harrington, NextFab is “a Disney for makers.”

Mona Parikh says “it’s cool…so much fun.”

Jessi Taylor considers it another after-hours option, an alternative to bars, concerts and television.

Carrie Gray says this “high school woodshop on steroids” will be a key anchor for Wilmington’s developing Creative District.

And Bernice Whaley sees it as an economic engine, a place where men and women can learn and develop skills needed to transition into new jobs or launch entrepreneurial careers.

Clearly, NextFab means different things to different people, but what else can you expect when an operation brands itself as a “gym for innovators”?

Evan Malone, NextFab CEO (Photo by Megan Ritchie Jooste)
Evan Malone, NextFab CEO (Photo by Megan Ritchie Jooste)

Area residents will get their chance to create their own description in late spring or early summer when the Philadelphia-based makerspace opens a 3,500-square-foot satellite studio in the Creative District, the designation that the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation has pinned on the area bordered by Shipley, Fourth, Washington and Ninth streets. As of mid-December, NextFab CEO Evan Malone wasn’t about to reveal the exact location, saying he didn’t want to jinx the nearly concluded negotiations on the lease.

Malone, enticed by Gray, the Wilmington Renaissance managing director, came to visit Wilmington nearly two years ago, as planning for the Creative District was in its infancy, and quickly bought into the concept. “This is incredibly important, something I want to be part of,” he says, referring to a master plan to make the area immediately west of Market Street a residential and commercial hub for artists, crafters and tech-savvy entrepreneurs.

“This is a new era for Wilmington,” Malone says.

Financed in part by a $350,000 start-up grant from the Delaware Economic Development Office, NextFab’s Wilmington center will be designed to offer the attractions that have already won it an influential cadre of Delaware boosters, albeit on a smaller scale than in Philadelphia.

Examples of 3D printed objects made at NextFab. (Photo courtesy of NextFab)
Examples of 3D printed objects made at NextFab. (Photo courtesy of NextFab)

Gray’s “woodshop on steroids” analogy is appropriate. Think of a warehouse-like setting filled with tools for woodworking and metalworking—more than your average handyman could put in a garage or basement (if he or she could afford to buy them all). Add a section for making jewelry. On top of that, layer in the whiz-bang 21st-century technology—3D and large-format printers, laser cutters, CAD software, and more. In addition, NextFab will offer classes and its staff will be trained to show new users how to handle the equipment.

“The focus is on digital manufacturing—using computer designs in digital format to drive robotic tools,” Malone says, “but we also have a complete metal shop, with computer-controlled machine tools and manual tools like mills and lathes, and a complete welding area.” The wood shop, with its saws, sanders, drills and routers, he adds, “is a great entry point for people who are nervous about making things for themselves for the first time.”

To use the gear, members pay monthly fees, which range from $49 to $359, depending on anticipated usage. “The low end is for weekend users and hobbyists. The ultra-premium level is aimed at professionals, those who are using the facility for their business,” Malone says. Wilmington members will also have access to NextFab’s two Philadelphia sites for no extra charge.

Access to all three spaces is important, Malone notes, because there might not be enough space in Wilmington to accommodate all the gear that’s available in Philadelphia.

An introduction to jewerly-making class at NextFab. (Photo courtesy of NextFab)
An introduction to jewerly-making class at NextFab. (Photo courtesy of NextFab)

However, he adds, the Wilmington site will have one or more features to distinguish itself from NextFab’s Philadelphia locations—to give Philadelphia-based members some incentive to make occasional visits to Wilmington. No decisions have been made on what those special features might be.

Key figures within Wilmington’s creative community are anticipating NextFab’s arrival.

“It’s a great way for people to learn,” says Harrington, education coordinator at 1313 Innovation, the year-old co-working space in Hercules Plaza. “They come with experience.
They’re starting with a platform that works, as they’ve proven in Philadelphia. It’s another outlet for people, whether they’re in technology, in a startup, or part of the maker community.”

Parikh, managing director of the Start It Up Delaware co-working space and community builder for the Archer Group digital marketing agency, recently visited NextFab in Philadelphia, where she and friends signed up to take a couple of basic courses.

“First you must go through their safety training,” she says, and “as part of that you have to make something that works.”

For woodworking, she made a shelf. For metalworking, a bottle opener.
“Who knows?” she says. “If I keep my membership I might be the next metalworking queen.”

The NextFab community brands itself as a "gym for innovators." (Photo courtesy of NextFab)
The NextFab community brands itself as a “gym for innovators.” (Photo courtesy of NextFab)

Taylor, president of the board of directors of Barrel of Makers, a Wilmington-based collaborative that now holds weekly “Maker Mondays” at 1313 Innovation, thinks NextFab will provide “a great space to have cross-communication with people you wouldn’t ordinarily meet in your field.”

NextFab has approached Barrel of Makers about possible partnerships. “We think that’s great,” Taylor says, “but we’re going to have to talk it through” to see how the relationship evolves.

Barrel of Makers, she says, has about 30 core participants and a total of nearly 200 people who show up occasionally for activities, and many of them are likely candidates for NextFab membership.

Besides reaching out to Barrel of Makers, Malone says he has contacted area colleges and universities about possible collaborations. And he has learned from his experience in Philadelphia that professional organizations, hobby clubs and school groups will be interested in visiting the site and learning about the technology. Some of these visitors, of course, ultimately will become NextFab members.

Whaley, the director of the Delaware Economic Development Office, says NextFab “will directly support our innovative entrepreneurs” and also bolster indirect job growth in the surrounding area. The terms of the state’s $350,000 grant require NextFab to hire five fulltime employees and serve at least 120 members in its first three years of operation, she says.

Noting the uncertainty surrounding the DuPont Co.’s merger with Dow Chemical and the long-term location of the headquarters for Chemours, the DuPont spinoff created last summer, Whaley pointed to NextFab as a facility that could assist downsized employers in transitioning to new careers.

“We’ve seen it with AstraZeneca and others. [Downsized] workers say ‘I can do these things’ or ‘I can go out on my own.’ This is one way they can develop new skills,” Whaley says.

NextFab, Wilmington Renaissance’s Gray says, “will make accessible equipment, technology and training that might not otherwise be available” to area residents.
What can they make with that equipment?

Well, in Philadelphia, Malone says, members are using large-format printers to make vehicle wraps and window graphics, tools in the advanced electronics studio to design and assemble circuit boards, and laser cutters to make holiday ornaments and candle holders.

One heavy-duty user, who has his own business, is using a “water jet” (that’s shorthand for a five-axis abrasive water jet cutter) to experiment with new designs to make window air conditioners more energy efficient.

To Gray, however, more important than what NextFab’s makers make is the potential impact the center can have as the Creative District develops.

By filling a currently vacant building, she says, NextFab will “bring more energy and life to the stretch just west of Market Street.”

The impact will be gradual, Malone cautions, because his plan to be “up and running by summer” most likely means operating at about 75 percent of capacity while advancing to close to 100 percent capacity later in the year.

“Because a lot of our users have day jobs, we will have evening and weekend hours,” Malone says. “Activity on the street and in our space will help activate the entire neighborhood.”

That activity, he says, will bring new customers to restaurants and service businesses in the neighborhood, and to the vendors who can provide the raw materials that artists and crafters use in their work. “There’s a lot of indirect economic activity,” he adds.

Getting more people onto the streets in the evening and on weekends, Gray says, should make the neighborhood more appealing for potential residents —the 10-unit Willing Street Artist Village housing rehabilitation project is now under way in Quaker Hill, in the southwest corner of the Creative District—and visitors alike.

Parikh envisions NextFab’s arrival as a launching pad for fresh synergies among the artists and crafters who use the space and the graphic designers and coders who frequent the CoinLoft on Market Street, Start It Up Delaware’s collaborative space.

“We’re all in this together,” she says.

Food Notes – Nov. 2015

Tasty things worth knowing

A New Beginning
French-style cafe opens in place of Fresh Thymes

Croissant

After Wilmington’s Fresh Thymes Cafe closed its doors recently, a new French-style eatery, De La Coeur Café et Patisserie, took its place. Alex Sianni and Pastry Chef Gretchen Brizendine helm the new café, whose name means “baking from the heart.” It features locally sourced, sustainably produced food.

Brizendine has been in the restaurant business for more than seven years, and Sianni has been in the business in three countries and the fine wine industry for more than 15 years.
The café’s food is sourced from Powers Farm in Townsend, Bayberry Farm in Middletown and Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative in Lancaster.

Located at 1836 Lovering Ave., it will serve breakfast, including sandwiches, omelets, pancakes, French toast, and crepes; lunch, featuring soups, salads, sandwiches and paninis, and of course a variety of pastries like éclairs, croissants, cookies, tartlettes, mousse cups, and more.

Visit the website at delacoeurcafe.com for the opening date and more information.

Expanding to Middletown
Wilmington chef has plans for three new eateries

Patrick D’Amico, Middletown native and chef at several Wilmington eateries like Eclipse Bistro, the Hotel du Pont Green Room, and Harry’s Savoy Grill, is opening three Middletown restaurants with RM Hospitality Group over the next few months.

Metro Pub & Grill is the first of the three, which will be a gastro-pub at 17 Wood St. off West Main Street. It will be open daily for lunch and dinner early this month.
Next, a fine dining establishment tentatively called The Bank will open in January.
Currently the site—an actual vacant bank building at West Main and North Broad streets—is undergoing renovations.

The third name and location are TBA.

Do Good This Season
Food Bank of Delaware needs help

This month, IHeartRadio in partnership with the Food Bank of Delaware will be collecting turkeys as part of the annual Turkey Round Up. Drop off your frozen birds and other holiday essentials at the following locations on Thursday, Nov. 12. and Friday, Nov. 13, between 5-7 p.m. both evenings: Food Lion grocery stores at 1607 Pulaski Highway in Bear, 501 W. Main St. in Middletown, and 1030 Forest Ave. in Dover.

Additionally, the Food Bank needs help filling 2,500 Thanksgiving meal boxes for Delaware families in need. The following items are requested: Canned vegetables, cranberry sauce, evaporated milk/shelf-stable milk, canned pumpkin, canned fruit, juice, corn muffin mix, mashed potatoes, gravy, and frozen turkeys (must be dropped off to Newark or Milford warehouses).

For more information about hosting a Thanksgiving For All food drive, please contact Angel Diaz, Fleet and Routing Coordinator, at 292-1305 ext. 260 or adiaz@fbd.org.

Dinner & a Documentary
Penn Cinema hosts a special one-night screening Nov. 5

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following an intrepid filmmaker as he uncovers one of the most destructive industries facing the planet today—large scale factory farming—and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it. This 91-minute documentary will be featured at a one-night screening on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 7:30 p.m. at Penn Cinema on the Riverfront. Prior to the showing, guests are invited to dinner at Drop Squad Kitchen (serving dinner until 6:30 p.m.) or for happy hour at Veritas Wine (both also located at the Wilmington Riverfront). You can also enjoy the Riverwalk or one of the other dining attractions the Wilmington Riverfront has to offer.

Claymont Steak Expands
Third location opens on Concord Pike

ThinkstockPhotos-174449396Claymont Steak Shop opened a new location at 2720 Concord Pike this fall, making this the third restaurant in the local chain, with existing locations in Claymont and Newark.
Since 1966, Claymont Steak has been popular for its cheesesteaks, subs and pizza. The new location, with a contemporary interior, and online and delivery options, includes baklava and other snacks in addition to its staple plates.

An Inspiring Challenge

This Wilmington-based nonprofit helps at-risk young people gain construction and vocation experience

Anyone taking a tour of the Kalmar Nyckel at its Wilmington shipyard off East Seventh Street will certainly be drawn to a spacious, uniquely-shaped structure to the right of the shipyard. The edgy, contemporary building is made entirely of reclaimed materials like salvaged pickle barrels. And the builders? Aspiring local carpenters between the ages of 18 and 21 from at-risk, underserved backgrounds. About 150 students have worked on the building since construction began in 2008.

The building is home to the Challenge Program, a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower these young people with the carpentry and vocational skills needed to get jobs in the workforce. Furniture made by the students can be found in such places as Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen and Taverna in downtown Newark, the Trolley Square Brew Ha Ha!, and a handful of other eateries and cafés between Philadelphia and Lewes. They also continually work on low-income housing in New Castle County.

Says Executive Director Andrew McKnight: “I’ve always been interested in this experiential education model, along with building stuff and filling a need.”

The program goes back to 1995, when McKnight piloted it with the same goal that he has now but with a different focus: boats. He originally taught at-risk young adults classes on building small wooden boats. In the process, he developed a relationship with the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation. For a time, students worked on the tall ship, too.

But McKnight soon realized that in order to be effective, he needed to spend more time with each student. So he began incorporating more practical and long-term projects like housing and barn construction, which he says made more sense to the youth. After a number of years, McKnight implemented woodworking, and he eventually salvaged enough timber to build tables, bar tops, stools, paneling, and more for restaurants. That work started in 2007, and has been a major program focus since.

All different levels of skill are welcome—some participants have experience, others have none. In six months of training, students learn woodworking, basic carpentry skills for construction, safe operations of tools, safe jobsite training, and much more.

Pictured is a CP Furniture log table and benches installed at Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen on Main Street, Newark. (Photo by Carlos Alejandro)
Pictured is a CP Furniture log table and benches installed at Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen on Main Street, Newark. (Photo by Carlos Alejandro)

And while construction training is important, the key to student success is on a more personal level, according to McKnight. “It’s all about case management,” he says. “The construction is really just a tool, a carrot, to being able to teach the kids to stabilize themselves and allow them to become work-ready. We want to find students who want to work and be successful, not just forced here by their P.O. [parole officer]”

Being able to hold a job has very little to do with skill, and everything to do with attendance and dependability, says McKnight. “Skill is a distant fourth place. Do they have a good attitude? Show up on time every day?”

The weekly work schedule is Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with four hours of paid classroom training included.

The eight program employees also assist students with earning high school diplomas and GEDs and offer job placement services.

The Challenge Program is split into two halves. The previously mentioned open-space Construction Training and Education Center—filled with every kind of tool—is used as the classroom and training shop, and is led by three instructors.

A couple of hundred yards away, a subsidiary program called CP Furniture is where students practice the skills they’ve learned in class.

McKnight says the program is largely funded by the state and various big-name sponsors like Bank of America and Barclays, but it now earns close to half of its income through custom contract work.

Within the next year, he wants to start rolling out a line of CP Furniture pieces, rather than working on custom projects. The program will stop taking custom jobs in January or February 2016 so students can focus on the line.

“CP Furniture is going to make more money so the Challenge Program can function,” says McKnight. “That way, we won’t have to depend so much on grants, and can keep good people around—and afford cool tools and machinery. The more resources we have, the cooler the jobs, the cooler the toys, the better caliber employee we’ll have.”

One student, Kyle Hamilton, 21, heard of the program through a friend, and decided to apply during an unsure period in his life when he was unemployed and didn’t know what his next step would be. As O&A was about to go to press, he was finishing up the last few weeks of his six-month apprenticeship and was planning to transition into a carpentry job that program staff helped facilitate.

“With these skills, I can pretty much go to another construction site and be able to move up,” says Hamilton. “I feel like I have the knowledge and confidence to find my way around. And now I’m already on to the next step.”

Currently, participants are custom-building a bar front for Grain, and pieces for Heirloom restaurant in Lewes as well as Metro, a Middletown eatery. Students also are working on a modular house as well as pieces for the corporate offices for health-focused, Philadelphia-based restaurant chain Honeygrow.

One great aspect of the program, says Hamilton, is that the staff’s main concerns are finding something better than what students are currently doing. So if students don’t have opportunities lined up right after they finish the program, “something could be figured out,” says Hamilton.

“I hope more people hear about the Challenge Program, I really do.” It’s an opportunity, but it can indeed be a challenge, he says. “You have to wake up and be here at 8 a.m., but if you’re willing to show up and finish each day and show the extra effort, it’s worth it.”

F.Y.I. – Nov. 2015

FYI

Things Worth Knowing

Attention, Young Professionals
Make connections at Nov. 5 event

On Thursday, Nov. 5, aspiring professionals are encouraged to attend the Delaware Young Professionals Network Happy Hour at Twin Lakes Brewing Company in Newport. From 5:30-7:30 p.m., attendees ages 21-40 can enjoy local craft beer and connect with members of the DYPN.

Harris Hawk in Flight

For the Birds
Fundraiser set for Nov. 6

The Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research will host a fundraiser on Friday, Nov. 6, at 6 p.m., at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington. The event, Banding Together to Benefit the Birds, will feature dinner, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, music, dancing, caricature drawings and games, in addition to a silent auction for Philadelphia sports tickets. General admission is $150; Benefactor admission is $200.

A Holiday Tradition at Longwood
Holiday display starts on Thanksgiving

Longwood Gardens’ annual holiday display returns on Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, and continues through Sunday, Jan. 10. The display features towering trees, indoor and outdoor garden displays, and unique and colorful light arrangements. This year, enjoy the debut of an expanded outdoor experience featuring a floating tree display, snowflakes and a fountain show. Longwood Gardens is open from 9 a.m.-10 p.m., with admission depending on peak and non-peak pricing.

Fun at the DuPont Environmental Center
Water Bash is Nov. 14

On Saturday, Nov. 14, at 11 a.m., celebrate the Wetland Water Bash at the DuPont Environmental Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington. This open house includes interaction with marsh animals, relay races, prizes and live music. Admission is free, and no pre-registration is required. The Environmental Center also features year-round programs, such as Lunch with Live Animals each Saturday at noon, and Netting in the Marsh from Tuesday through Sunday at 2 p.m. Also, a binocular walk will be held each Tuesday at 1 p.m. until February.

Contemporary Gala
Annual fundraiser benefits DCCA programs

The Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts is the only arts center in Delaware devoted to contemporary art and visual culture. The fact that the DCCA has been around since 1979 is a testament to its appeal and the creative execution of its mission.

On Saturday, Nov. 14, (7-10pm) you can support that mission by attending DCCA’s 2015 Contemporary Gala. The event is the Center’s biggest fundraiser of the year with proceeds benefiting exhibitions and programming. DCCA member artists are also contributing works to be auctioned during the evening with 50 percent of those proceeds going back to the artists to support their careers.

Governor Jack Markell and First Lady Carla Markell are the honorary chairs. The event will feature live music by The Bullets, DJ Skinny White, Ellen Durkan’s Forged Fashion, a silent auction, open bar and liquid nitrogen cocktails.

Tickets are $75 for members; $85 for non-members. There is also a Patron Package for $250 that entitles guest to a pre-party from 6-7p.m., VIP wine tasting and early bidding on auction items. For tickets or more information visit thedcca.org.

The War on Words
Bob Yearick’s columns in one paperback

Bob Yearick’s War on Words book is an ideal stocking stuffer. The column has been a regular feature of Out & About Magazine since 2007 and remains one of our most popular contributions. War on Words is available at Ninth Street Books or at the Hockessin Book Shelf. You can also order directly through Out & About by calling 655-6483. Cost is $9.95 plus $3 for shipping. Credit card payments are accepted.

Partying for a Cause

Inaugural Meals on Wheels event set for Oct. 22

Fall is finally here, and with it, of course, weekends filled with football games. And in the parking lots at Delaware Stadium before a Saturday afternoon Blue Hens game, or at Lincoln Financial Field before an Eagles game, RVs and hatchbacks will be laden with a smorgasbord of smoked goodies, chips and dips, and seasonal brews.

But even veteran tailgaters’ spreads will pale in comparison to the Meals on Wheels Ultimate Tailgate, set for the Wilmington Sheraton South in New Castle, on Thursday, Oct. 22, beginning at 6 p.m. This inaugural event will feature local restaurants and chefs offering their unique spin on classic tailgate dishes.

“The Ultimate Tailgate will continue the legacy of offering guests an opportunity to indulge in a unique culinary excellence, while raising money in support of Delaware’s homebound seniors,” says Regina Dodds, director of Events for Meals on Wheels Delaware. “We are incredibly grateful for the community’s outstanding contributions, and are excited to kick off our new fundraiser in the fall of 2015.”

Some of the local restaurants scheduled to be on hand for the Ultimate Tailgate include 8th & Union Kitchen, Caffé Gelato, Fins Ale House & Raw Bar, Soffritto Italian Grill, Columbus Inn, Pizza by Elizabeths, Buckley’s Tavern, and Chesapeake Inn & Marina.

Executive Chef Tom Hannum, of Buckley’s Tavern in Centreville, also serves as vice chair of the board of directors for Meals on Wheels Delaware. He says the Ultimate Tailgate will give Meals on Wheels a chance to extend its fundraising efforts into the fall, much like the Wine Auction and Celebrity Chef Brunch do in the spring.

“All the events we did used to be on the same weekend, and it was sometimes hard for people to attend each one,” says Hannum. “By spreading the events out, we’ll be able to attract more customers and guests.”

Gianmarco Martuscelli, owner of the Chesapeake Inn & Marina, says he and Chef Christian Lackford are planning Thai chicken mini-tacos and mini-crab cake sliders with a citrus-horseradish aioli and tomato jam.

Martuscelli takes great pride in being involved with Meals on Wheels. “Throughout the year, we get invited to a lot of events or are offered the chance to work with a lot of charities, and when it comes down to it, we can only do so many,” says Martuscelli. “But I feel like Meals on Wheels does the most for the community, and is a top three charity in mind, so we’re proud to be a part of it.”

On the beverage side of the event—because what’s a good tailgate without a proper beer or cocktail?—Two Stones Pub and its newly opened 2SP Brewing, located in Ardmore, Pa., will handle the beer garden at the Ultimate Tailgate.

Ben “Gumbo” Muse, of 2SP, says the event will feature more than 30 craft beers on tap at the beer garden. Of those, six will come from the 2SP lineup, including the Delco, a workhorse lager perfect for tailgating, the Weiss Wit, with subtle notes of coriander and orange peel, the Baby Bob, a roasty stout, and the Bellcracker, a double IPA.

In addition to all the creative fare and craft beer, Painted Stave Distilling, from Smyrna, as well as Philadelphia Distilling will be on hand to offer samples of their vodkas and gins.
Live entertainment will include a DJ spinning tunes, courtesy of Spin Jocs Entertainment, and cover band FreeLance playing classic rock. Guitarist Bruce Anthony also will be on hand, playing a mix of traditional jazz standards and contemporary blues and rock.

While the Meals on Wheels mission is to raise funds in support of nearly 4,000 homebound seniors statewide, Erica Porter Brown, project manager with City Fare Meals on Wheels Delaware, hopes the event will encourage those attending to consider becoming volunteers.

“Our biggest challenge continues to be our desperate need for new volunteers, especially as the number of people we serve increases,” says Brown. “We have not been able to add delivery drivers with some of the expanded routes we are now serving, so this fall, we will be undertaking a major volunteer recruitment campaign.”

Katy Ford, a 64-year-old Delaware native, has been delivering Meals on Wheels for just over a decade, after she was first approached about volunteering while working at Wilmington Trust. It started as a once-a-month activity for Ford, and is now something she enjoys doing several times a week.

“I wanted to do something meaningful in my retirement, and it’s turned into something that’s just as much for me as it is for the people I serve,” says Ford. “I thank them when I drop the meals off, because it really is fulfilling. It only takes between 30 and 90 minutes out of my day, and I’m happy to do it. I’ve made friends over the years and gotten a lot of good advice from those I’ve served.”

Ford picks up the hot lunchtime meals on Silverside Road and follows a mapped-out route that takes her to a minimum of six houses and a maximum of 18.

Anyone interested in volunteering should check out the volunteer portal at the Meals on Wheels website.

For more information on the Ultimate Tailgate, or to purchase tickets to the event at $55 per person, go to mealsonwheelsde.org, or call 656-6451.

Fundraisers Full of Fun

Help others—and have a great time doing so

Whether you like dancing, attending an elegant gala, sampling delicious food and drink or a simple stroll with your pet, you can have the perfect day or evening out while also contributing to local cultural, philanthropic and art-focused nonprofits. Here are a few upcoming fundraisers to get started:

DHATails Around the Tower

Sunday, Oct. 4, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Rockford Park, Wilmington

This is Delaware Humane Association’s 25th Annual Walk for the Animals, which is a one-mile walk around the park for dogs and their owners. A fun atmosphere, dressed-up dogs, music, refreshments, pet-oriented vendors, pet contests, and more make this a great outing for the entire family while raising funds for homeless animals waiting for their forever home.

For more information, visit dehumane.org.

A Night in Cuba: A Celebration of a New Era

Saturday, Oct. 10, 6:30 p.m.-1 a.m.
Doubletree Hotel, Wilmington

The Latin American Community Center’s 46th Annual Grand Ball, A Night in Cuba: A Celebration of a New Era includes a cocktail hour, dinner and lots of dancing.
Call Sindy Rodriguez, 655-7338, ext. 7701, for information about individual tickets, a table for 10 and sponsorship opportunities.

For additional information, visit thelatincenter.org.

vendemia_daVinciVendemmia da Vinci

Sunday, Oct. 11, 2-6 p.m.
Bellevue State Park, Wilmington

The 12th annual Vendemmia da Vinci is a fundraiser for the da Vinci Society of Delaware, which promotes the cultural heritage of Italian people through education, service, charity and community events. The gala includes samples of Italian wine, Italian food, an Italian Beer Garden, live entertainment, and a Vendemmia 2015 commemorative wine glass. Also featured are a handcrafted wine and homemade gravy contest, silent auction and Italian vendor displays.

For more information, visit societadavinci.org; tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the gate.

Eleganza

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Wilmington Country Club, Wilmington

The Ministry of Caring, a nonprofit serving the underprivileged, is hosting its 27th annual event, a luncheon and fashion show featuring styles of Lafayette 148 New York from designer Neiman Marcus. The fundraiser includes a live auction and prize drawings (win a two-year lease of a 2016 Cadillac ATS Sedan). Admission is $100 per person, which includes the lunch. Money raised by this event supports the Ministry of Caring’s four emergency homeless shelters for men, women and children, along with the Ministry’s Job Placement Center.

For tickets, call 428-3702.

The Ultimate Tailgate

Thursday, Oct. 22, 6-9 p.m.
Sheraton Wilmington South, New Castle

Enjoy local restaurants serving their unique interpretation of tailgate food. This sophisticated yet casual event will feature wine and spirits, live entertainment, and a beer garden. (For full description, see page 39).

For additional information, visit mealsonwheelsde.org.

Christi Awards

Friday, Oct. 23, 5:30 p.m.
Christina Cultural Arts Center Inc., Wilmington

Launched in 1991, the Christi Awards are Christina Cultural Arts Center Inc.’s signature event. The awards ceremony honors unsung individuals and organizations making significant contributions to promoting the arts in Wilmington. The awards ceremony also raises public awareness of the organization’s mission, program impacts and financial support needs.

This year’s theme is “Arts for Our City’s Sake,” celebrating the impact of the arts on the quality of life in Wilmington. Three honorees have been chosen this year: Kenneth C. Brown, for Achievement by an Arts Educator; Juhi Jagiasi for Volunteerism; and Darrell Andrews, Jr., for Achievement in the Arts by a Youth.

General tickets are $75 each and are available at christiawards.org.

all-hallows-eve-ballAll Hallows’ Eve Costume Ball

Saturday, Oct. 24, 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
Brandywine River Museum of Art Courtyard, Chadds Ford, Pa.

Calling all witches, ghosts and ghouls—will your costume be the winner? The event is the Young Friends’ annual fundraiser, and all proceeds will support programs of the Brandywine River Museum of Art. Enjoy cocktails, light refreshments, music and more.

Prizes go to people in the most creative costumes, and to those not in costume, beware: You will suffer an unspeakable fate, according to the website.

Tickets start at $85. Guests must be 21 or older to attend. For more information, visit brandywine.org.

Blue Jean Ball

Saturday, Oct. 24, 6:30-10:30 p.m.
Food Bank of Delaware, Newark

Help combat hunger in the First State at the Food Bank of Delaware’s 10th annual Blue Jean Ball with a spooky new twist—a Halloween theme.

Come dressed in a costume—there will be a contest—or casual blue jeans.

The event will feature a fall harvest small plate menu prepared by students from the Food Bank’s Culinary School with guidance from presenting sponsor Iron Hill Brewery’s team of chefs. Food will have a distinct autumnal theme and each item will be carefully paired with a seasonal brew from Iron Hill.

In addition to fine food, beers and wine, the evening will feature entertainment and dancing with Mike Hines and the Look.

Tickets are $75 a person, which covers unlimited beer, wine, food and a commemorative beer mug. For more information, visit fbdbluejeanball.org.

wine_women_shoesWine, Women & Shoes

Friday, Nov. 6, 6-10 p.m.
Hercules Plaza, Wilmington

This event benefits Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children. It includes a wine tasting, a fashion show, a silent auction, food, shopping, complimentary valet parking, and more. Tickets start at $100.

For more information, visit winewomenandshoes.com/Nemours or call 302-651-4383.

Delaware Antiques Show

Nov. 6-8, times vary
Chase Center on the Riverfront, Wilmington

Sixty of the country’s most distinguished dealers present the finest offerings of American antiques and decorative arts, including furniture, paintings, rugs, ceramics, silver, jewelry, and more at this 52nd annual event. The show benefits educational programming at Winterthur.

For more information, visit winterthur.org.

Contemporary Gala

Saturday, Nov. 14, 7-10pm
DCCA, Wilmington

Join supporters of the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts for this elegant evening of food, dancing, auctions, and unconventional entertainment. Proceeds raised from the event will help with DCCA exhibitions and educational programs.

The Patron Pre-Party from 6-7 p.m. includes specialty appetizers, VIP wine tastings presented by Frank’s Wine, early bidding on auction items, and a curatorial tour with honorary chairs, Gov. and First Lady Jack and Carla Markell. Tickets are $250. General admission for the Contemporary Gala from 7-10 p.m. is $75 for members and $85 for non-members. Tickets cover a silent art auction, silent luxury auction, open bar, dancing, music, and more.

For more information, visit thedcca.org.

the_GrandThe Grand Gala

Saturday, Dec. 5, 8 p.m.
The Grand Opera House, Wilmington

At the 39th annual Grand Gala, all proceeds benefit Arts Education at The Grand Opera House. This year’s event features internationally-renowned music ensemble Celtic Woman, accompanied by the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. Ellen and Michael Kullman are this year’s distinguished honorees for their commitment and service to Delaware. As usual, the Ultimate After Party will take place following the Gala at the Hotel du Pont. It will feature live music, dancing, an open bar and gourmet fare in six rooms.

For more information, visit thegrandwilmington.org.