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Christmas Market Stall

Frequently Asked Questions

Everything you need to know about the Spirit of Christmas Celebration!

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  • What is the Spirit of Christmas?
    The Spirit of Christmas is a town-wide holiday celebration that takes place annually in the charming town of Historic New Castle, Delaware. The event celebrates the magic of the holiday season and features a variety of family-friendly activities, including tours of private homes, museums, live music, street theater; the Winter Market, an artisan vendor market that take place indoors at the New Castle Public Library and outside on The Green; delicious bites and drinks from the town's restaurants, cafes, and visiting food vendors; and visits from Santa & Friends. Visitors can also take part in the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, and explore the historic town's many shops and attractions. Whether you're a local or an out-of-towner, the Spirit of Christmas is a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit and create lasting memories with loved ones.
  • Will the event be held if there is bad weather? Is there a rain/snow date?
    The Spirit of Christmas Celebration is a rain or shine event. We recommend that you dress appropriately for the weather and come prepared to enjoy the day, programming takes place both indoors and outside (+ plenty of places to stop and warm up with coffee or hot chocolate). There is no rain/snow date. In the unlikely event that we have to cancel due to extreme weather conditions, we will communicate the decision through our website and social media channels. Rest assured, we are committed to delivering a magical holiday experience for our visitors!
  • What activities are taking place?
    Spirit of Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! There is a full day of activities planned including: Visit private homes and museums decorated for the season Musical performances and concerts throughout town, including at the New Castle Presbyterian Church, the New Castle Methodist Church, and the New Castle Courthouse A Winter Market at the New Castle Public Library, as well as an outdoor artisan Christmas Market on The Green; additional vendors at New Castle Presbyterian Church Street theater performance of A Christmas Carol by The Reedy Point Players Meet Santa's Elves from around the world, hear their stories, and get photos Eat, drink and be merry, or warm up at a variety of town restaurants, cafes, bars, and visiting mobile vendors joining for the day. Join us for family-friendly activities at many locations throughout town Finish (or start) your holiday shopping by visiting our town's many shops, boutiques, and galleries Caroling & Tree Lighting in Market Square And so much more! A complete schedule of events with map is located here: https://www.spiritofchristmasde.com/_files/ugd/af9584_9fb904a84e774e778c2d121802df82c0.pdf
  • What are the hours to visit private homes?
    Private homes will be open to walk through from 10am - 4pm (some exceptions may apply and will be noted in all programming).
  • How much are tickets?
    Spirit of Christmas is free to the public! Donations are encouraged and benefit Friendship House of Wilmington, Delaware, a non-profit organization working to fight homelessness. Exceptions - Fee Required: * Friday evening, December 8: Fezziwig's Ball at New Castle Historical Society (SOLD OUT) *Saturday evening, December 9: LIT for the Holidays: George Read House & Gardens
  • Are there public restrooms?
    Yes! A variety of public restrooms will be accessible through the day, including: New Castle Visitor's Bureau New Castle Public Library New Castle Presbyterian Church - Christian Education Building New Castle Courthouse Museum New Castle Methodist Church Battery Park
  • Where do we...eat/grab a coffee/have a drink?
    When you arrive, the question won't be where, it will be how do you choose? New Castle has so many wonderful places to eat, drink, enjoy coffee, tea, baked goods. Here are a few options in and around town: The Mercury Cafe & Teahouse [The Coffee Window open: 9am - 11:45am] Zollie's Jazz Cucina Jessops Tavern Nora Lee's Porto-Fino Pizza Taqueria El Centenario Oaxaca Mexican Grill Garrison Deli Three Countries Pizza Be sure to check our our insider's Guide to our restaurants here . Reservations at many locations are strongly encouraged. In addition to our permanent establishments, two mobile food vendors will be onsite. For more information, acceess our event program here.
  • Will there be a print program/map available that outlines the schedule of events?
    Yes - a limited supply of print programs (with a map) will be available at various locations throughout town, including our Information Booth in front of The Window on Delaware Street [Third & Delaware Streets]. In addition, the program will be available: For download here on the website and our Facebook page As a QR code that can be scanned at various locations and on materials and accessed on your phone Our website is mobile friendly and will feature the most up-to-date information and any changes to the day's schedule.
  • I have a question and don't see the answer here.
    Email us! We'd love to hear from you: info@spiritofchristmasde.com
  • About Gene Dempsey
    This site is dedicated to the memory of Gene Dempsey, beloved long-time resident of Historic "Old" New Castle and one of the founders of Spirit of Christmas. Gene generously gave his time, his energy, his enthusiasm, as well as proceeds from the Antiques Show, to support the event. Without him, it would not be the community-wide celebration it is today. Thank you, Gene.
  • How do I get to Historic New Castle, DE?
    There are several ways to get to Historic New Castle, DE, depending on your location and mode of transportation - we recommend you check Google Maps to plan your trip and check traffic conditions. Here are some of the most common options: By car: If you are driving, you can take I-95 to Exit 5A (Route 141 North) and follow the signs to Historic New Castle. There is limited street parking available in town, as well as several public parking lots. By train: If you are taking the train, you can take Amtrak or SEPTA to the Wilmington station, which is about 10 miles away from Historic New Castle. From there, you can take an Uber/Lyft or a bus to the festival. By bus: If you are taking the bus, you can take the DART bus to the New Castle Transit Stop located at Sixth & Delaware Streets, in the heart of Historic New Castle. From there, you can easily walk to the day's happenings.
  • Where do I park?
    Parking is limited, but there are several lots that are free to the public. We suggest you arrive early to ensure you have good access: Street parking throughout town (limited) New Castle Senior Center New Castle Methodist Church Lot at Third and Foundry Street Battery Park Lot - Lower Third Street/Penn Street Lot at Second & Chestnut Streets Lot at Sixth & South Streets Lot at 508 South Street (formerly Brandywine Valley SPCA) Lot at Wilmington Road and Chestnut Streets Handicap parking is available at several locations in town. Event parking lots will be identified with signage on day of event. A map is provided below:
  • Tell me more about Historic New Castle.
    New Castle is an authentic Colonial town, established in 1651 as Delaware's first capital city. Its unique history is one of a kind. Historic New Castle is located 3 miles from the Delaware Memorial Bridge and Interstate 95; 8 miles from the Wilmington Train Station; 40 minutes south of Philadelphia and a 1, 2, or 3-hour drive from Baltimore, Washington D.C., and New York respectively, making it a great day trip for visitors in and around the region. It is known for its thriving historic downtown, outdoor open spaces and recreation including Battery Park, multiple playgrounds, trails, nature areas, tennis and pickleball courts, sailing club, library, and museums. To learn more about our town's history, visit: City of New Castle Website New Castle Historical Society & Visitor's Center
  • I'd like to spend the weekend. Where do I stay?
    Wonderful! Historic New Castle will make the perfect long weekend - with plenty to do, see, eat and drink in and around town, or, venture out and explore the beautiful Brandywine Valley Region. Here are some accommodation options: Terry House Bed & Breakfast Various In-Town Airbnbs Wilmington/Christina Hilton Hyatt Place Wilmington Riverfront Westin Wilmington Riverfront Hotel DuPont For more options, head to VisitWilmingtonDE.com
  • What does Spirit of Christmas support?
    More
  • Tell me more about Friendship House.
    Friendship House is a non-profit organization based in Wilmington, Delaware that provides services and support to individuals and families who are struggling with poverty, homelessness, and other challenges. The organization operates several programs and initiatives, including emergency shelters, transitional housing, job training and placement, counseling, and education.
  • I see the event encourages donations to Friendship House. How do I donate?
    Donations for Spirit of Christmas will be accepted at several locations throughout the day and throughout town. If you want to make a donation in advance, please visit the Friendship House website.
  • Will representatives from Friendship House be around day of to learn more?
    Yes - representatives from Friendship House will be on hand at several locations throughout the day so you can learn more about the important work of this organization.
  • I'm a vendor in this year's event. Where/when do I set up and who do I contact?
    Excellent and we're thrilled you're a part of the day. Detailed information will be sent to you once you've been confirmed as a vendor. If you have any questions, please email us at info@spiritofchristmasde.com.
  • I'm interested in becoming a vendor. Who do I contact?
    Thank you for your interest! Interest was incredibly high for 2023, and all vendors slots are filled. Send us an email at info@spiritofchristmasde.com and we will be in touch regarding future opportunities!
  • I'm interested in sponsoring Spirit of Christmas.
    Thank you for your interest in becoming a sponsor of Spirit of Christmas! We welcome support from businesses and organizations that share our vision of promoting the spirit of giving during the holiday season, and supporting Friendship House of Wilmington. We are particularly looking for sponsorship to support several aspects of the event: Musical Performances Food/refreshments provided for volunteers General support Recognition would be provided in the form of website and social media recognition; onsite signage, and the program, delivered in print and digital formats. To become a sponsor, please contact us at info@spiritofchristmasde.com . We will get in touch with you to discuss opportunities and benefits. We appreciate your interest and look forward to working with you to make this year's Spirit of Christmas a success!
  • I'm interested in volunteering. Are there ways to get involved?
    Wonderful! And YES - we're looking for holiday-loving volunteers with a positive attitude to help bring this year's Spirit of Christmas to life. Opportunities include: Attired Ambassadors: Strolling guides to assist visitors Festive Elves: Assistants to Santa Holiday Helpers: Distributing food & drinks to performers and volunteers Delightful Docents: to help guide visitors through private house tours Clutch Coordinators: To help with set up and clean up If you have interest in becoming a volunteer either leading up to or the day of the event, please email info@spiritofchristmasde.com with subject line: Volunteer.

 Access Our 2023 Program

Download and print the Spirit of Christmas Program in advance to start planning your day!

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