VIDEO - Adam Wakefield from NBC's 'The Voice' headlines free music festival

In celebration of Smyrna’s 250th anniversary, the Smyrna at Night music festival Friday, June 29 will be bigger than ever, with 25 performers, 18 food vendors and an expanded beer garden.

The fifth annual event from 5-10 p.m. will feature Adam Wakefield, runner-up on season 10 of the NBC TV show “The Voice.”

“Adam is the first nationally-known act we’ve had headline the event,” said Jeremy Hebbel, co-owner of Gable Music Ventures which is organizing the festival with the Town of Smyrna and Strongpoint Marketing. “To give a comparison, our previous headliners have had a local following in the 1,000 to 3,000 range. Adam not only has a huge local following since he is originally from Baltimore, but has about 70,000 followers on his social media. We also know how much Smyrna loves country music, and his music is similar to the extremely popular Chris Stapleton brand of country. We think by far he will be the heaviest draw for the event that we have had yet.”

Other performers include Highway 309, Darnell Miller, Scot Sax & Suzie Brown, Best Kept Secret, Cecilia Grace, The Blues Reincarnation Project, Sara Ann Garrison, Party Fowl, Tyler and Friends, Frantastic Noise, Reverse Giraffe, Rusty Blue, Genesis Z & the Black Mambas, Single Origin, The Mixx Unplugged, Leo & Cygnus, Judy Sings the Blues, Kelly Lynn Dixon, First of June, Dayne Melvin, Spencer Joyce, Hannah Dale, Danni Peace and Chloe Rae.

“We aim for variety of music, but also a nice mix of local acts and regional acts,” said Hebbel. “It’s so much fun for us to introduce new bands to Smyrna.”

There is no admission charge for any of the shows.

Stages will be set up indoors and outdoors downtown on portions of South Main and West Commerce streets as well as South Street and Market Street Plaza near the town hall and post office. Among the indoor stages will be the Smyrna Opera House and the Smyrna Music Garden, while Painted Stave Distilling and Sheridan’s Irish Pub will both host indoor and outdoor performances.

“People like variety, and the freedom to choose what they listen to and where they listen to it,” said Hebbel. “One of the best parts of this event is how many businesses participate as venues. It allows visitors to stop in and check out the vibe and the music, and if it’s not for them, move along to another venue….It creates almost a Nashville or Austin kind of experience where it feels like there’s live music everywhere.”

MORE THAN MUSIC

As for being part of Smyrna’s 250th anniversary, Hebbel said the big differences compared to previous festivals are the nationally-known headliner and something that visitors at previous festivals have been clamoring for – more food trucks.

Food trucks and food vendors scheduled so far include Delaware Provision Company, Delicious Craving, Mojo Loco, Brickworks Brewing & Eats, Zaikka on Wheels, Po’ Boys Creole, B&B Concessions, Between the Bunz, Chick-fil-A, Crossan Kettle Corn, Viva Bowls, Sweet Josephine’s, First State Catering, Tre Sorelle Dolce Ice Cream, Hot Dogs for the Troops, Kee’s Cookies & Cupcakes, White & Associates Treats and Maui Wowi.

“We hope that will do the trick,” said Hebbell.

For a little refreshment after all that food, the festival will feature an expanded beer garden for ages 21 and up.

However, Smyrna at Night is very much a family-friendly event, with games and activities for children along with all the music and food.

“We want people to know that the event is completely free to attend and paid for by the town,” said Hebbel. “Months of planning goes into this, and we couldn’t be more excited to present to artists, as well as bring back some favorites from previous years. We’re also proud of how many Smyrna and southern Delaware artists we have included this year.”

A complete schedule of performers with times and locations will be featured in next week’s Sun-Times, June 27, and on the Sun-Times website, www.scsuntimes.com.

SHARING SMYRNA'S HISTORY

Smyrna at Night is part of the celebration of the town’s founding in 1768, so the Duck Creek Historical Society will open the Smyrna Museum for special hours during the festival from 5-9 p.m. Normal hours are Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The museum, at 11 S. Main St., next to Sayers Jewelers & Gemologists, is the site of the Civil War draft lottery in Smyrna. Along with a variety of exhibits and Smyrna memorabilia, guests can tour the reconstructed Plank House, which dates back to the 1790s.

Brooks Keen, the chairman of the Smyrna 250th Anniversary Committee, is also president of the Duck Creek Historical Society which owns and operates the museum.

He said he’s glad the committee and the historical society can integrate the museum into the music festival so visitors and Smyrna residents can learn more about the town’s history.

Keen said the idea for the 250th anniversary celebration started with conversations between himself and former mayor Joanne Masten.

“When she was mayor, Joanne and I just started talking one day along the lines of, ‘Do you realize the 250th anniversary of the town is coming up? We’ve got to get everyone together to start planning this,” he said.

Keen and Masten started asking leaders from community groups, clubs and churches if they’d like to be involved, and a committee of about 30 people was formed. The committee has been meeting about once a month to discuss ideas for how and when to celebrate the town’s founding.

The committee’s main idea is to highlight the 250th anniversary at existing community events, some which have already occurred like the Smyrna Opera House Cotillion, I Love the Smyrna School District Day, St. Patrick’s Day, the Kickin’ It Loose country music concert at Citizens’ Hose Company, the Spring Tea at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and the tribute to the late mayor George C. Wright Jr.

However, Keen said the main celebration will be held the last week in June to the first week in July with events such as “Songs of the American Revolution and a Tribute to Patriot Allen McLane” Sunday, June 24 at First Presbyterian Church, the Smyrna at Night concert downtown, the carnival at Wright Municipal Park July 3-7, and what could be the largest Fourth of July Parade and fireworks display the town has ever seen.