When Frank Wheaton, Jr. first visited the Corning Museum of Glass in the early 1960's, it caught his ire. On display were many marvelous works of glass—treasures forged of sand, wood, soda ash, and silica that represented the dawning of the American glass industry. Frank's problem? Those shiny, fragile masterpieces were being exhibited in New York and not where they were birthed: New Jersey.
As the grandson of glass magnate Dr. Theodore Corson Wheaton—whose glass pharmaceutical bottles were instrumental in giving rise to the Millville glass monarchy of Wheaton USA—Frank claimed his birthright and created the WheatonArts and Cultural Center. Sprawling across 65 wooded acres, WheatonArts features a fully functioning glass studio with daily demonstrations of glassblowing wizardry; artist studios where craftsmen branch out into pottery and woodworking. The jewel of the WheatonArts retreat, and the fulfillment of Frank Wheaton's dream to usurp New York, is the [Museum of American Glass(http://www.wheatonarts.org/museumamericanglass). The magnum opus of luminescence charters the history of the medium from its brittle infancy to its latest mutations. The circulating collection typically includes up to 7,000 objects, ranging from early American bottles and mason jars, clever Art Nouveau creations, and stunning works from Dale Chihuly and other contemporary glass-working artists.
The Newark Film Festival hosts a wide collection of Oscar-nominated, independent, foreign, and limited-release films. Cinema darlings such as Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life share theater space with indie fare including the gospel music documentary Rejoice and Shout. The fest provides a valuable outlet for local filmmakers’ shorts and features, and hosts a 30-second commercial contest for members of Delaware Independent Filmmakers to out-advertise each other for cash prizes and World’s Greatest Grandpa mugs. This year, the Newark Film Festival introduces OUTflix, a fest-within-a-fest that exhibits LGBT films, ranging from Peru’s Undertow to A Marine Story’s gritty take on true events. Groupon holders can snag a quintet of friends for a single showing and post-film hide-and-seek game, or hoard the set for solo enjoyment of six different films.
One of the largest gatherings of its kind in the country, St. Anthony’s Italian Festival celebrates its eponymous country's rich cultural heritage through a Renaissance-inspired jamboree of food, wine, music, and cultural events. In La Piazetta, vocalists Vincenzo Fiore and Nicola Nigro stimulate auditory organs, and Tarantella dancers showcase traditional routines. Restaurants specializing in heterogeneous regional varieties of Italian cuisine dot the fairgrounds’ landscape in edible tents strung together with deli meat. Diners at the Antonian Surfside can purchase steamed soft-shell crabs and clams, and Café Nona Starda visitors select land-roaming comestibles such as grilled sausage with fresh peppers as well as broccoli rabe. Customers sip crushed grapes courtesy of La Piazza and DaVinci’s.
Despite its food-centric name, the Maryland Seafood Festival casts a wide net over Chesapeake Bay culture, capturing the essence of the area’s music, art, sports, and cuisine in an annual celebration that has endured since 1967. For 30 of those years, the festival has camped out on Sandy Point State Park’s seaside grounds, where, like the mattress of a giant, the event sprawls across a space the size of nearly three football fields. On Saturday, the festivities kick off with two of the event’s traditions: the Maryland Fishing Challenge and the Annual Crab Soup Cook-Off. After that, hungry patrons can sample local flavors at vendor booths by Jimmy's Famous Seafood and the Maryland Watermen's Association, or visit chef demos where pros impart tips on preparing dishes such as blackened snakehead and oyster shooters. Local artisans also fill festival tents, selling colorful wares that range from jewelry to furniture. A lineup of live music will soundtrack the event through most of the weekend, helping kids bop to the beat in bouncy houses while adults sample imported and craft beers from local brewers.
The fourth annual Annapolis Arts, Crafts, and Wine Festival will draw a wide array of artists and craftsmen to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, where they'll exhibit their oeuvres to curious onlookers. Visitors examine booths full of paintings, photos, and jewelry and watch as craftsmen manipulate metal, clay, leather, or preconceived notions of reality.
When not soaking up arts and crafts, festival-goers can check out the live jazz playing all afternoon, or indulge in the food and wine tastings. Specialty food exhibitors offer samples of flavored olive oils and vinegars, dips, pumpkin rolls, and more. Children can enjoy the Kids' Art area, with musical and theatrical performances, face painting, and storytelling.
Usually, runners swig water during a race. But at the Annapolis Beer Week 5K Beer Run, participants stop at beer stations to rehydrate with samples of various brews?drink packages are available for purchase on-site?before continuing their dash for the finish line. The event encourages racers to dress creatively, awarding distinctive costumes such as old bridesmaid's dresses, team uniforms, or running shorts made from two miniature kegs. Proceeds benefit the MSBusters Support Group of Edgewater, a community organization that provides financial and emotional support for those living with multiple sclerosis.