As this web site understands it, and certainly this web site is not the expert, the community of Arden Delaware began as a artist colony north of Wilmington and south of Baltimore pike in Pa. In the intervening years Wilmington has developed around Arden to the point that we can call Arden an enclave of that city, but Arden retains much of its rustic charm from its early years.

There is a tradition that on the Saturday of the Labor Day weekend a fair is held on what is called The Highway (and like many of the streets of Arden, The Highway resembles an enlarged cattle and animal path) which is a stretch extending from the Arden Gild Hall past the Buzzware center, two locations where lots of art and activities take place throughout the year. Note, however, that the Gild Hall has been undergoing renovation this summer and this was to be its first appearance to the public with a new hat, and we mean by that, since this is a building, its new roof.

We should note that the weather was beautiful on this day. For those in the northeast, you are aware that a week before we were visited by Irene and a week later by tropical rains and both events caused a lot of damage and flooding. But Labor day weekend was an oasis of great weather surrounded by the storms and floods. So, it's nice to report that the tradition of the fair being held on the Saturday of the Labor Day weekend was upheld although a rain date had been readied for the next day.

Another tradition that has been built up throughout the years is the folk dance presentations that are done in the Gild Hall in the afternoons of the Arden Fair. And, this year was no exception. In the case of the Israeli dance demonstration, Sharon Kleban, as she has for the last 6 years, led a set of dancers through a program and then invited participants in the crowd to join. The presentation took about an hour.

So, below we have two photo presentations intermixed: Photos with dialogue as we walked the fair and photos with dialog as the Wilmington Israeli dance session did its thing.

While we have the chance we would like to thank Rochelle Zimmerman and Adam Baum who joined this web site as it participated in the fair. Many of the photos were shot by both and we thank them for their effort and this web site enjoyed their company and, at the end, there was an agreement to do the same thing together next year, same station, same time.

As indicated, the Arden fair is centered around the Arden Gild building. This is north of Wilmington as you can see by the first map. It is situated between 202 and 95. The second map (first row, right) shows parking. Most people park at the Brandtwine Y and bus in (blue line) but Adam was able to secure parking on Grubb Road and the red line shows our walk to the fair. The map on the right shows a birds eye view of the grounds. Kiosks were set up and down the Highway. The Arden Gild Hall, as indicated, was where the dancing would occur. We have noted the bandstand. What we can't show you in these maps is the crowd that enveloped the area. You'll just have to look at the montages and read further!

In previous years we have parked at the Y and bused in. But Adam was able to find a parking spot on Grubb Road. These pictures show the activity around the intersection of Marsh and Grubb from a variety of directions. There was plenty of traffic and cars were parked whereever the eye could see.

These shots show the approach that our group took in getting to the fair. The first shot shows the entrance to Sherwood Road and then we followed the road until it turned to become part of The Highway. Although Arden is encircled by Wilmington, it has not lost its rustic charm. These roads of Arden seem as they did a century ago when no doubt they were cowpaths and the like. On most days there is car access to these rural-like one lane roads, but on this Saturday, access was limited to the incoming buses from the Brandywine Y, one of which you can just make out in the third picture.

Where Sherwood Road turns, we meet The Highway. Can you tell from these pictures that we are at the edge of the fair? Certainly, one kiosk has a sense of humor as we are sure you can see. The vertical rides that you see some children enjoying were busy all day.

We've move slightly forward along The Highway. It might just be our imagination, but it seemed as if half of Delaware was here enjoying the fair. The pictures below take a panoramic view of the activities of the fair at that point. In this 360, you can see both the kiosks and the crowd.

We keep moving further down The Highway and you can see that it is kiosk to kiosk on both sides and very crowded. In the third picture, at the top, you can see the red banner of the Gild hall beckonning us, And, of course, like any good fair, everyone is tended to and the last picture shows a watering hole for the four legged visitors and a sign for a baby changing location.

While the main objective of our trip to the fair was to help out and record the dancing that was scheduled between 1 and 3 in the afternoon (1-2 for international folk dance, 2 to 3 for Israeli), we did have some time to investigate these kiosks more closely. One of these vendors, Kismet Yogaware, seemed of interest to Rochelle and we were able to talk with the owner, Mollie Hadley, in blue, for a bit while Rochelle went browsing (and eventually bought a white TShirt that she used for dancing). Mollie seemed to indicate that her walk throughs were significant and that she had been satisfied with her sales in prior years to the point that she was back this year. We're sure that the folks who organize the Arden Fair would also be happy to hear of Mollie's experience. The Fair is a money raiser to fund the activities of the Arden Gild through the year. Mollie and her fellow vendors pay a fee for the opportunity to show and sell their wares. That the fair can attract a large and willing to buy clientele of fair goers every year helps everybody.

These few pictures have been taken as we follow Adam down The Highway toward the Gild Hall. In the first picture we get an Adam's eye view as we catch the activity over his shoulder.

Well, we've made it to the side of the Gild Hall. These pictures record the activities right at what we think would be designated as the eastern side or wall of the facility. Below the entrance was a very popular kiosk offering among other things, Strawberry pie. By time we got there the Strawberry pie was long since gone but we settled for a very tasty peach cobbler.

This was Rochelle and Adam's first visit to the Arden Gild and we decided to show them the swim club which is beyond the back of the building. In going around the building we encountered lines of people moving back and forth from the park that is sidelong to the pool (or off the northeast side of the building). Normally this park is empty, but on this day it was packed as it was the scene of concerts. We'll deal with this later as you will see, but the last shows shows the pool in its normal operations as the poolgoers and the lifeguard ignore the massed crowd.

It was time to enter the Gild Hall, newly renovated with its new roof. We entered by the side door and the first picture shows where one could purchase the books selected from the book mart. We continued toward the stage passing several bibliophiles as we have recorded. Finally, you can see the stage of the Gild. The Gild stage, besides being used for equipment this day, hosts Gilbert and Sullivan plays in addition to the Shakespearean festival. It is said that the facility is used every day throughout the year for some event. Although it is obvious that one person is not that interested, at least at the time we took this shot, we should report to you that we see Sharon Kleban bent over the computer and sound equipment and next to her, surveying the scene, is Susan. We made it to and up the stage and then took a shot looking backwards and you can see the activitiy of the bookswap in the background and in the foreground is the space used for the dance presentation.

Wednesday is dance night at the Arden Gild. On selected Wednesdays, the International folk dance group meets under the leadership of Jennie Brown who could not make it this afternoon. Generally two Wednesdays of the month, the first and fourth, it's time for Israeli dancing led by Sharon Kleban who this day was also handling duties pertaining to sound and music. The pictures to the left show the end of the presentation by the International dance group, Some pictures show the juxtaposition of the dancing with the book swap and, if you were not there, you might imagine that this could not coexist, but coexist is did and quite well. In addition, some of the pictures show audience participation as members of the audience are invited up to dance.

The International folk dancing perfromance has ended but before the Israeli dance performance begins, the audience is in for a treat. Now, International folk dancing is really not that international copnsisting of dances through the Balkans and down through the Mid East. Asian dancing, which also is folk dancing, is not usually covered. However, two younger dancers, who seem to be of Indian extraction, gave a great performance of an Indian folk dance as you can see. The dancers displayed tremendous energy if not tremendous acrobatic skills. We caught some of this by still camera and some by video camera and the top pictures are stills and bottom are stills generated from video.

Coincident with the Indian dance demonstration, Sharon Kleban, who leads the session at Arden on the various Wednesday nights, is getting ready for her group's performance. In one picture you can see Adam chatting with Sharon and Susan to get some idea of the dances that will be performed. In another shot. we see Sharon before she will introduce her dancers to the audience. We start to see a circle grow and the Israeli dancers begin to congregate. The final shot shows the circle as it readies for the first dance.

Well, the first Israeli dance is underway. We are shooting the dancers from above, about 4 ft, on the stage looking down on their performance. We can guarantee you that the change in music style has not affected the book swap, which continues to go on. You can see, however, that there is an audience for the dancers who are sitting astride the dance area. Generally at these demonstrations an informal dress code is advised and in this case most dancers are wearing white tshirts and jeans. Many of the white tshirts bear the designation Arden Israeli Dancers and these tshirts were created circa December '10 as part of a dance presentation in the city of Wilmington.

One of the dances performed is the dance, Naale (pronounced Nah-ah-lay). This dance was choreographed by Shmulik Gov Ari in the middle 80's and is very energetic. Movement in this dance is counterclockwise but interrupted on several occasions by pronounced forays in and out of the circle. This is a dance that Israeli dancers like to do based on the steps and the beat of the music. These pictures attempt to catch these 4 dancers, (left to right in the first picture: Marc, Susan, Karen and Sharon) in the various clockwise and in and out movements of this dance. These pictures are derived from a video and we hope eventually to upload this video to the facebook site that the Wilmington Israeli dancers maintain.

As the presentation is completed, Sharon invites audience members into the circle for instruction and dancing. This montage shows that several audience members took her up on her offer. We catch them as they learn and perform somewhat easy Israeli dances. We thought they did well. Take a look and see what do you think!

For our last montage of dancing (and before we go outside of the Gild hall and rejoin the outside festivities) we thought we'd bring you, the reader, into the action. What does this type of dancing, with its quick movements along and into and out of the circle, look like to the dancers themselves? We armed one of the dancers with the video camera and asked him to point it at the other dancers as both they and he did the dance, Jacob's Ladder. The origin of the music is quite interesting as it is the creation of one of the great Israeli composers of popular music, Nurit Hirsch. The music lends itself to rhythmic movements to the left and right during the first part of the dance and the ending part of the dance is one of the patterns of the great Greek folk dance, Missilu, although this probably is not the correct spelling. Correct spelling or not, we present an inside look at the dancing of Jacob's ladder at the Arden Fair.

As we emerged from the Gild Hall, it was clear that there was another source of music in the neighborhood. Heading in a northeasternly direction from the Gild side entrance, we tracked the sound through a park and through a lot of people as you can see. Our last shot shows the source of what we might call country rock, the band Hippocampus. Of course, one selection of music does not designate the genre of a band. A quick look on the web indicates this to be a local band to the area and you can get more analysis of this band by friending them on facebook.

This fair and the activities of the Gild can only be possible by the contributions in time of many people. It seems as if people move into this community and more so than not voluntarily give of their time to this community. This montage is an example. After leaving the area of the band, our little group including Rochelle and Adam walked back to The Highway and continued to look from kiosk to kiosk. But we had worked up a thirst. In looking for a drink, we found in the far off distance a kiosk serving drinks and bottled water. As we approached, there also seemed to be a familiar face. You also can see in these pictures who's manning this: none other than Sharon Kleban, fresh from her stint as leader of the Israeli dance presentation. It is people like Sharon and others, who volunteer their time and talent, that makes the year long activities of the fair so great and inspiring.

And so we end our coverage of the Arden Fair on Sept, 3rd, 2011. We hope that you enjoyed this description and perhaps learned a little in the process. With the pledge, same time, next year, there is an expectation that we will go again next year and if that comes to pass, we'll try to show you the activities of the the Arden Fair, 2012.