The 85th annual Dover Days Festival is this weekend. The event will coincide with a NASCAR weekend at the Dover International Speedway for the first time.
Tourism officials are calling it “From Horses to Horsepower,” referring to the horse-drawn carriages set to carry the Mayor and Governor in the Dover Day parade and the stock cars whose engines will be ringing out from the Monster Mile.
Kent County Tourism President Wendie Vestfall says Dover will be in the national spotlight.
“We’ve been able to work really well with the track and get some national coverage for NASCAR through Fox Sports, and then also we have a built-in audience of visitors who are coming for the track, and they have new things to come out and explore that they didn’t have before, because it wasn’t going on the same time as the races,” said Vestfall.
In the past, Dover Days has only been on Legislative Mall. This year, the parade will be re-routed through Downtown Dover, and the Green will used as a focal point of the event. Vestfall says this is meant to draw visitors to local businesses.
“A lot of people forget all the wonderful restaurants and the shops that we have down there, so we’ve incorporated them into the festival. So, that’s the big reason we changed the layout,” she said.
The schedule includes historic reenactments, guided tours and hot air balloon rides.
After the parade Saturday morning, visitors can check out a beer festival on Loockerman called History Heritage and Hops.