As the first state to ratify the Constitution Dec. 7, 1787, Delaware will always have a place in the history books. Georgetown-based 16 Mile Brewery is trying to honor that historic day with the first of what it hopes will be many celebrations.
From 3 to 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 7, also known as Delaware Day, 16 Mile will become much more than a brewery; it will be the place to go for food, beer, live music and charity, all ending with a bonfire.
“Every year I've lived here, I've watched the news on Dec. 7 and they mention that it's Delaware Day,” said 16 Mile Director of Sales and Marketing Claus Hagelman. “I always think we should've done something. How can we not celebrate your own day? It's right there on our flag.”
In 1933, a statewide effort was made by Delaware educator and legislator E. Paul Burkholder and the Georgetown Rotary Club to make Dec. 7 Delaware Day. Every governor since has supported the tradition.
The event features many businesses and nonprofit organizations based in or around the Georgetown area. In future years, Hagelman said, he wants to see the event grow into a Sussex County celebration.
“We hope this is something we can own down here,” Hagelman said.
The event will feature 16 Mile's entire catalog of brews, including its lightly produced collaboration beers. A second version of Delaware Oyster Stout, made with Delaware oysters, was brewed for and will debut at the event. The first batch was made for Georgetown's annual Oyster Eat in February. Hagelman said the latest brew features twice the number of oysters, bringing out more oyster flavor. It also has a higher alcohol by volume.
Bethany Blues will be on hand to provide delectable dishes made from a pig raised on 16 Mile grains. The event also offers 16 Mile gourmet bread made by Root, 16 Mile malted ice cream from King's Ice Cream and Amber 16 English Farmhouse Cheddar from Chapel Creamery in Easton, Md. All creations feature 16 Mile's beer as an ingredient.
The brewery partnered with Great Scott Broadcasting to organize the event's live entertainment. Four to eight bands will perform, in a 30-foot-by-30-foot tent outside or acoustically in the brewery's tap room.
The event will also raise funds for Georgetown-based Children and Families First. One dollar from every pint sold at the event will go to the beneficiary. Other charities, such as Habitat for Humanity and the Delaware Human Society, will set up in the tent to offer information and solicit donations, Hagelman said.
“Our goal is to create a fun event,” he said. “Hopefully we can make it bigger and better and let it grow to become a big celebration. It's about time we celebrate our day. This is what makes us the First State.”
Lewes to celebrate Delaware Day
The merchants, museums and parks on Front Street overlooking the canal in historic Lewes will also honor Delaware Day, hosting “Delaware's Birthday Party: 'It's good to be first on Front'" from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Dec. 7.
Because of the state's small size, Delaware leaders were afraid the much larger states surrounding Delaware would take advantage of it. Others believed that the only way to survive as a small state would be to join in a union with the larger states. In any event, Delaware became the first state to sign the constitution. Delaware Day was first celebrated in 1933.
To celebrate the 225th anniversary of Delaware’s ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Front Street shops and museums will host open houses, a scavenger hunt, light refreshments, special savings and other special activities in each location.
The Lewes Historical Society is proud to be a part of the Front Street group, including the Society’s Cannonball House Lewes Maritime Museum and the Lewes Life-Saving Station. Other partnering locations for the celebration are the Vesuvio Motel, Puzzles, Lewes Gourmet, Sand N Stones, Marsha’s, Gilligan's Waterfront Restaurant & Bar, Lewes Canalfront Park, and The Overfalls.
At Lewes Gourmet, located at 110 Front St., Krista Scudlark of Milton will be sampling her locally-made jams, jellies and savories. Krista's Beach Plum jelly, Hot Pepper jellies and chutneys make a great Christmas gift. Also at Lewes Gourmet, The Friends of The Lewes Public Library will sell its new cookbook, featuring favorite recipes from area residents. All proceeds from book sales support the Lewes Public Library.