The registration deadlines for the 81st Annual Dover Days Festival have been set for exhibitors, vendors, and car show, parade and pet parade participants. Two special themes for the 2014 event include Delaware Dresses Downton, and Visit and Explore Outdoor Delaware. The festival will be held in the historic district of Dover, Delaware’s state capital, and admission is free.
The following are the early bird and regular registration deadlines:
For crafts vendors, artists and artisans; resellers, home and trade show, nonprofits and food vendors early bird discounted deadline is Friday, March 14, with the final registration deadline of Monday, April 14, if not sold out.
Participants for the Delaware Lottery Dover Days Parade including marching bands, drill teams, floats, dignitaries, civic groups, youth organizations, marching units and more need to register by Friday, April 11. Registration is free of charge except for commercial entries.
Pets for the Kritter Sitter Dover Days Pet Parade including costumed and non-costumed pets, rolling units and floats may register by Wednesday, April 30, free of charge.
Colonial and Victorian artisans who are wearing costumes and demonstrating their trades must register for their free space by Wednesday, April 2. Re-enactment groups (World Wars, Civil War, and Revolutionary War) are also encouraged to confirm their free exhibit spaces by April 2.
Car owners participating in the Winner Automotive Group Car Show featuring 26 trophies should enter by Friday, April 25 to earn the early bird deadline; however, day-of registration will be accepted. Trophies will be presented based on participant and popular judging, and will include Best in Show, Best Downton Abbey-era (cars from 1910-20), and Best Mustang to commemorate the Mustang’s 50th anniversary. Car show registration forms are also available at Winner Automotive dealerships.
Applications are now online at www.doverdaysfestival.com. Each application has registration information, deadlines and details. Applications can also be mailed, emailed or faxed by calling Kent County Tourism, producers of the event, at 302-734-4888 or 800-233-5368.
"In addition to traditional activities such as maypole dancing by 300 costumed schoolchildren, historic re-enactments and demonstrating artisans," said Lorraine Dion, festival coordinator, "Dover Days is a unique blend of old and new, such as a spectacular Zambelli fireworks show, a Kids Zone featuring carnival rides and moon bounce village, as well as a history village featuring two dozen Colonial and Victorian trades."
In 2012 and 2013, the event was named a Top 100 USA Event by the American Bus Association, the first event in Kent County to receive the honor.
New this year will be Visit and Explore Outdoor Delaware, sponsored by the Delaware Tourism Office, to promote the state’s soon-to-be-announced outdoor trails. Also featured will be Delmarva DockDogs, the world's premier canine aquatics competition.
Events get underway at 6 p.m., Friday, May 2, with entertainment on Legislative Mall followed by fireworks. Saturday kicks off with Dover’s largest parade, pet parade, 400-plus crafts and food vendor spaces, Colonial and Victorian crafts demonstrators, entertainment stage, re-enactments and more. Sunday will continue with a vintage baseball tournament, exhibitors, Downton Abbey Picnic on The Green and a judged car show.
For more information including vendor/exhibitor registration forms, car show entry forms, pet parade registration forms or weekend lodging, visit www.doverdaysfestival.com, follow on Facebook, Dover Days, or call Kent County Tourism.