About Dover Days
Dover Days: From 1933 to 2017
The History of Dover Days
As one of the longest-running, award-winning festivals in the State of Delaware, Dover Days dates all the way back to 1933. What started as a simple flower and garden show staged by the Dover Garden Club, has now become an annual time to remember Dover's heritage with community spirit and an entertaining festival of family events.
Celebrating springtime on a weekend in May, "A Day with the Storied Houses and Gardens of Old Dover, 1683-1933" showcased 20 gardens, and greeted visitors with quadrille dancing, the exhibits of antiques, and maypole dancing on The Green with costumed participants. As the popularity of the event grew, tours were given of the new Legislative Hall. A carriage parade led by the Governor and Mayor, concerts of period music, Governors Tea and demonstrations of old trades, crafts and games were added to enhance the festivities, which drew 3000 attendees by 1936.
Over the next 20 years, the festival was held annually (with a brief interruption for WWII), and by 1955 it became a two-day event, drawing visitors from all over the Mid-Atlantic states. In 1967, a major celebration was held to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Dover, and again for the 275th anniversary in 1992 -- "Old Dover Days" continued to showcase Dover at its best in the spring, and offer visitors the opportunity to celebrate the cherished history of this nation's First State. With each anniversary, this exciting festival grows - attracting over 25,000 people to the multi-day event, and adding new traditions every year. No longer "Old," Dover Days promises to remain a treasured part of Dover's past -- and future -- for generations and decades to come.
Lined with 300+ years of historical architecture, The Green is an exciting public living space where people can come to celebrate the community and relax -- at a place where history was made. The Green has been a significant part of Dover's heritage dating back as early as 1680 -- nearly 40 years before Dover's original town plat was prepared in 1717. As the site of some of Dover's most historic events, The Green has bore witness to the passions of revolutionaries, the birth of the nation, and the deep divisions along Union and Confederate lines. Today The Green is also the First State National Historical Park.
The Green continues to play a major roll in fostering civic and public engagement, even as its uses evolve over time. As Dover's "outdoor living room," The Green is the ideal place for residents and visitors to come all year long - to enjoy the art, warmth, and beauty that not only is part of Dover's historic legacy, but adds to the special character and value of the community.
Thank You to Our Sponsors
Thanks to all the companies, business and organizations who help make this year's Dover Days Festival come to life. Your contributions are greatly appreciated! Visit our sponsors page and support those who support your community festival.
© Copyright 2017
Kent County & Greater Dover, Delaware
Convention and Visitors Bureau
435 North DuPont Highway
Dover, Delaware 19901
Monday - Friday 8:30-4:30