Strolling in the Village
Wilmington Village Strolls – 10 Years of Strolling
Time is funny sometimes. With the Village Strolls entering their 10th year, it seems like yesterday the first stroll took place and yet it seems hard to remember the time when they didn’t happen. Village Strolls have become part of the fabric of our community – drawing everyone from locals to visitors to enjoy an evening in our little village. Over the last nine years the strolls have been supported by dedicated volunteers and now receive support from Wilmington Works and the Town of Wilmington, but the work is still done by volunteers.
The next Village Stroll is coming up on July 16th and is sure to be a fun time. Here are some memories from past events:
The first Village Stroll took place as part of the Bears in the Valley public art project. It was a cool and misty evening but people turned out to see the small bears designed by local schoolchildren on display in the downtown shops. The kids put on their fancy duds to attend a Fancy Nancy party and paraded through town led by a strolling banjo player. It was the beginning of something.
The strolls each have a theme for the evening. Art has been a common theme, often partnering with the chamber for their public arts event kickoff. In 2015 the Windows on the Valley unveiling kicked off downtown during a stroll. Large empty frames were decorated and placed around town to mark participating locations, with the works of art on display throughout town.
A few years ago the theme was Dance and in addition to dance-themed props around town, there was an attempt to break the world record for the longest stroll line dance. The line dance went across the new Reardon footbridge, and while Guinness didn’t approve it as the world record, it was lots of fun with about 250 people participating.
Most of the strolls happen in the summer, but a notable winter stroll was the Chili –n-Chimes Stroll one winter where chili tastings were available at the downtown restaurants and hand-crafted chimes made from ski poles were sold by the Social Art Project crew. The chimes decorated River Bank Park where hot cider and hot chocolate were available.
The lawn next to Chapman’s In-Town Antiques is usually the site for the photo opportunity of the night: from vintage clothes and sleighs, to hats and scenes to pop your head in.
Other cool things happen at strolls – here are a few: glitter tattoos at Beyond Imagination, printmaking demonstrations at Gallery Wright , musicians playing throughout town, magicians or a drum circle or hula hoop show on the Pettee Memorial Library, circus lawn, Vermont Valley TaeKwanDo demonstrations on the Crafts Inn lawn, scavenger hunts like Where’s Waldo?, a baking contest for the 4th of July, tastings around town from the Twin Valley Jr. Iron Chefs, antique cars, gallery openings, restaurant specials and shops open late.
The next village stroll is set for Saturday, July 16th from 5pm -7pm.
The theme this time is Ready, Set, Stroll! Look for checkered racing flags around town marking businesses open late and stroll happenings. Highlights of this stroll include a Pinewood Derby on an official Cub Scout track. The cars racing have been designed and sponsored by local businesses. Derby will take place between The Village Roost and The Incurable Romantic buildings on West Main Street. Come on out and cheer for your favorite car. You will have a chance to vote for your favorite design.
Other happenings include a cooking demo on the deck at The Village Roost, a concert by Parisian musicians La Mechante et la Connard at Bartleby’s Books , a photo opp on Chapman’s In-Town Antiques lawn, face painting and hula hooping plus a book sale on the Pettee Memorial Library lawn and more! Basketball and other games will start early at Buzzy Town Park at 3pm.
Check out the Village Strolls Facebook page to see more pictures of previous strolls and more details on future strolls. If you’ve never been to a Village Stroll or if like me you look forward to them every time, here’s your chance. See you at the stroll!
Lisa Sullivan - Owner Bartleby's Books and Co-Chair of Wilmington Works.
Funded by the Town of Dover & Town of Wilmington through the Bi Town Marketing Committee.