DNREC’s First State Heritage Park ‘First Saturday in the First State’ invites the public to discover a Delaware hero

Students from Caesar Rodney High School will present “Independence or the Bayonet” – The Life and Times of Caesar Rodney” in an historical theater presentation.

DOVER – DNREC’s First State Heritage Park, in partnership with Caesar Rodney High School’s Stage Crew and Thespians, will present a historical theater production for the First State Heritage Park’s monthly “First Saturday in the First State.” A variety of other free events and activities will also be featured throughout the day.

One of Delaware’s greatest heroes, Caesar Rodney did much more than simply ride to Philadelphia to cast his vote for American independence. Under the glow of candlelight in The Old State House, step back in time to experience the life of the patriot who devoted his life to the service of his beloved Delaware. Caesar Rodney High School students will perform the historical theater piece under the direction of CRHS theater teacher John Muller.

“Independence or the Bayonet – the Life and Times of Caesar Rodney,” will be presented at The Old State House at 11 a.m., 1, 3 and 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6. Performances are roughly 45 minutes long. Tickets are free, but space is limited, so reservations are recommended by calling 302-739-9194. This production is a part of a four-play series, presented in rotation each year in October. This successful partnership has been in place for five years, and has provided an exceptional student opportunity.

Other programs during the day on First Saturday will further emphasize the importance of Caesar Rodney to Delaware. Visit Caesar Rodney Headquarters at the John Bell House to learn about the many contributions he made to the First State during his lifetime, or go on a walking tour featuring Dover’s other heroes of the revolution.

Here is a list of programs and activities for First Saturday in the First State:

First Saturday – Oct. 6
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

  • Caesar Rodney Headquarters
    John Bell House on The Green, 43 The Green
    Learn about all of the places in Delaware that are connected to Delaware’s hero, Caesar Rodney, and explore his life as you prepare for the “Independence or the Bayonet” historical theater presentation.
  • A Capitol Experience
    Legislative Hall, 411 Legislative Avenue
    Tour Delaware’s state capital building, and experience Delaware history. Photo ID is required for all adults entering the building.
  • Biggs Kids: Bird Prints
    Biggs Museum of American Art, 406 Federal Street
    Help welcome our visiting flock of John James Audubon bird prints with a special bird craft. Feathers will fly! For ages 5-10.
  • Early 1900s Music Education
    Johnson Victrola Museum, 275 South New Street
    In 1911, the Victor Talking Machine Company started its education department. The mission was to take music appreciation courses to rural schools and standardize music education. Learn more about the department and its mission.

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

  • Tours of the Governor’s House
    At Woodburn – The Governor’s House, 151 Kings Highway
    Enjoy guided tours of the official residence of Delaware’s Governor since 1965, and Hall House, the Governor’s guest house.

10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

  • Dover’s Heroes of the Revolution Walking Tour
    Meet at the John Bell House on The Green, 43 The Green
    Dover was a hotbed of activity during the struggle for American Independence. Tours begin on the half hour.
  • Hands-On Archaeology
    John Bell House on The Green, 43 The Green
    Get down and dirty with state park archeologists, and take part in an actual archaeological dig. Experience the thrill of discovery as you uncover small pieces of Dover’s past. For ages 10 and older. Weather permitting.

10:30 a.m.

  • Preserving Documents, Photographs, and Digital Memories
    Delaware Public Archives, 121 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
    This program will highlight some of the cost-effective steps every home archivist can take to preserve precious family records.

11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

  • ”Independence or the Bayonet – The Life and Times of Caesar Rodney” – Historical Theater Presentation
    The Old State House, 25 The Green
    Step back in time to experience the life of the patriot who devoted his life to the service of his beloved Delaware. Space is limited and pre-registration is recommended by calling 302-739-9194. Presented in partnership with Caesar Rodney Stage Crew and Thespians.
  • Biggs Kids: Bird Watching Basics
    Biggs Museum of American Art, 406 Federal Street
    Do you have a Biggs Kid who loves birds? Join a Delaware Nature Society Teacher/Naturalist for “Bird Watching Basics,” to learn the traits of a bird, how to use binoculars, and tips for beginners in the great outdoors on The Green and Legislative Mall.

1:30 – 4:00 p.m.

  • The Once and Future Courthouse
    Kent County Courthouse, 38 The Green, Courtroom #1
    From the 1690s to the present, find out how this site went from a courthouse to a hotel and back again.

Admission to all park sites and programs is free. Centrally-located free parking is available at the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries, located at 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard North. For more information about “First Saturday” events and all First State Heritage Park programs, please call 302-739-9194 or visit www.destateparks.com/heritagepark.

The First State Heritage Park is Delaware’s first urban “park without boundaries,” linking historic and cultural sites in the city that has been the seat of state government since 1777. The park is a partnership of state agencies under the leadership of DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation, working in collaboration with city and county government, nonprofit organizations and the private sector.

Contact: Sarah Zimmerman, DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation, First State Heritage Park, 302-739-9194 or sarah.zimmerman@delaware.gov.

Vol. 48, No. 263