Wilmington Says, ‘So Long, Santa,’ Hello to 2020
Holiday festivities were plentiful in 2019 and the Mayor’s Toy Drive helped Santa distribute toys to 800 children thanks to assistance from Walmart, the Laffey McHugh Foundation and the Harry Cohen Foundation
Mayor Purzycki thanks private donors and the Office of Constituent Services for a successful Mayor’s Holiday Toy Drive.
Wilmington’s 2019-20 holiday season has ended, and the City now turns its attention to what promises to be an event-filled new year. Hundreds of people gathered at Horizon Services Riverfront Rink on New Year’s Eve to welcome 2020 with a bang as the City once again partnered with the Riverfront Development Corporation (RDC) for the 4th Annual Family Fun Night. Wilmington’s official New Year’s Eve celebration on the Christina Riverfront offered multiple ice-skating sessions, food and drink specials, a live ice-sculpting demonstration, and culminated with an early fireworks show at 9 p.m.
The season officially began on November 30 when Wilmington musician Chad Michael Jervis of King Calaway served as Grand Marshal of the 56th Annual Jaycees Christmas Parade, which coincided with Small Business Saturday. Immediately following the parade along Market Street, Santa visited Downtown Visions’ first Holiday Village in Willington Square. The pop-up market featured local vendors, live carolers, delicious treats and more, and concluded with the lighting of a Holiday Light Display that remains open to the public seven days a week from dusk until 9 p.m. through February.
The festivities continued Tuesday, December 3 when Mayor Mike Purzycki joined a crowd of revelers in H.B. DuPont Plaza for the annual Caroling on the Square and the official lighting of the City’s Holiday Tree. Santa was again in attendance to help with the lighting, and holiday songs were led by Gerald Chavis and The Fast Lane Big Band, featuring special guest Raye Jones Avery and the City of Wilmington Employee Choral Ensemble.
Another holiday highlight was the opening in early November of Blitzen, a Christmas-themed pop-up bar at 220 W. Ninth Street. The bar, designed and decorated by Dallas Shaw and run by the Stitch House Brewery team, closed its doors for the season on December 30.
Finally, Mayor Purzycki is very pleased to report that, thanks to grants the Walmart Store #2555 in New Castle, the Laffey McHugh Foundation and the Harry Cohen Foundation, the Mayor’s Annual Toy Drive worked with Santa and 18 local community agencies to provide toys to 800 children. Special thanks from the Mayor to Walmart Store Manager Andrew Rosko and his dedicated staff who assisted with selecting and wrapping the toys, and Director of Constituent Services Jennifer Prado and her team for organizing the annual toy drive.
“This is always a special time as people of all different faiths, cultures and communities come together to mark the passing of one year and celebrate the hope and promise of another,” said the Mayor. “Wilmington is happy to have played host to many holiday celebrations over the past month and half – including popular old traditions as well as exciting new offerings – demonstrating once again that we are a destination City that punches well above its weight in terms of cultural offerings for people of all ages and backgrounds. It is my hope that our holiday traditions will continue to bring us together in a spirit of unity and peace as we look ahead to 2020.”
The Blitzen staff say goodbye to 2019.
The 56th Annual Jaycees Christmas Parade in Downtown Wilmington.
Santa was the star of the 56th Annual Jaycees Christmas Parade.
The Hotsy Totsy Gals entertain the crowd at the Downtown Visions Holiday Village.
Mayor Purzycki is joined by characters from the First State Ballet Theatre’s “Nutcracker Suite.”