Most residents of Camden, Delaware don’t think much of their small little town. It’s a place where everyone knows everyone. Literally. It’s not uncommon to make friends with someone at school and come to find out that your parents were best friends when they were kids too. Some dream of getting out of town and going somewhere new, but it isn’t until you leave that you realize just how comforting a small town can be.
Praying For A Good New Restaurant
Camden didn’t always have as many restaurants and food places as it does today, and to most locals, it still isn’t enough. Most developments have been recent within the last 10 years, and whenever construction is spotted, people start buzzing with excitement over what new restaurant is coming to life. The Texas Roadhouse is still packed every Friday and Saturday night and Chick-fil-a is slammed at 3 o’clock on weekdays when hungry high school students rush to get their fill after the last bell.
Fire House Events
The Camden Wyoming Fire Department is more than just home to a few fire trucks. These guys and their trucks are out in nearly every parade around town and at all the big events, to the excitement of all the little kids who want to be firefighters when they want to grow up. They hold town events like crab fests, yard sales, craft shows, quarter auctions, and bingo every Tuesday!
Intense High School Rivalries
The beef between Caesar Rodney and some of the other high schools around Camden-Wyoming is intense, especially the rivalry with our neighboring town, Dover. The phrase “We are, CR!” has been engraved into my memory forever from cheering in the stands of the student section at sports games. Even alumni who graduated as long as 50 years ago are still around and show up to support their alma mater.
Camden-Wyoming Little League was every 8-year-old’s excuse for staying up past 9 o’clock. T-ball, softball, and baseball games were on almost every night of the week and everyone ages 4-16 was either on a team playing or was there watching. Even kids who played other sports like soccer or lacrosse would come to play on the empty fields. Some just came for the cheese fries. When you think of childhood hangouts you think of schools, parks, treehouses in backyards, but for Camden, Delaware, it’s the little league fields.
4 Schools Within 2 Miles Of Each Other
In the last 20 years, the population in and around Camden, Delaware exploded, prompting the quick construction of 3 new schools on whatever land the district could snatch up, even if it was less than a mile away from another. Traffic at 3 o’clock on weekdays is like rush hour on the highway. As a child, I remember waiting nearly 30-40 minutes to get picked up by my mom (because she didn’t want to deal with the traffic). As a junior and senior in high school when I could drive, I quite literally would sprint to the parking lot to get out before the buses backed up the streets.
At 86 acres, Brecknock park has the most amenities out of any other park in Kent County. As a child growing up in Camden, you were visiting Piccadilly Castle Playground at least once a week in the spring, summer, and fall. If you were there long enough, it’s guaranteed you’d run into the ice cream truck in the parking lot. As a teenager, it became a great spot for hiking or for pre-season sports conditioning on the mile-long trail in the woods. The park also includes beach volleyball courts, softball and baseball fields, and a horseshoe throwing area. And, once you were too old to trick-or-treat, Brecknock saved the day with their “fright night” trail.
The Homecoming Parade
The Caesar Rodney School District is basically the Camden-Wyoming School district, and every year around the end of October the district has a huge parade celebrating homecoming. There are at least 100 floats that hold members from every elementary school and middle school, cheer squads from the middle schools and high schools, high school clubs, and sports teams, the high school marching band, the homecoming court, and trucks from the police and fire departments. You don’t want to get stuck in that traffic, so if you’re from Camden, Delaware you know to either get home early or find a parking spot and join the fun on the sidewalks.
Rider Pride Day
The day after the homecoming parade, right at Caesar Rodney High school is an event called “Rider Pride Day”, where locals of all ages come out to show their “Rider Pride”. Essentially, it’s a parked version of the parade with food vendors in the parking lot. Choirs and cheer squads from every school perform in the auditorium, kids visit the agriculture wing to pet farm animals, there’s face painting, water ice, sports games, and booths for various clubs and organizations throughout Camden-Wyoming set up in the gym. It’s just another way to bring community members together for a fun time.
“Camden, like New Jersey? Oh Camden, Wyoming. Like in the Midwest?”
When I tell people I’m from Camden, they assume I’m from Jersey despite my not-so-Jersey accent. I then add Wyoming, because Camden and Wyoming, although technically two separate towns, are often hyphenated because they share a post office. Then people think you’re from the state of Wyoming. Typical and predictable when you live in a small town with less than 3500 people, but still shocking when ‘Camden-Wyoming’ in Delaware has always been the norm for you.
A classic small-town farmers market with big city turnouts for their festivals. Fifers produces a smorgasbord of fresh fruits and vegetables, jams, syrups, preserves, ice cream and flowers from the end of March until the end of December each year. You can even go pick produce like strawberries and pumpkins straight from the field when they’re in season. Nearly the whole town comes out to the strawberry festival in May and the peach festival in August to enjoy tractor rides, face painting, ice cream, pet zoos and live music. Their biggest festival is the fall fest which runs for six weeks every Saturday in September and October and includes all of the activities listed earlier, PLUS a giant corn maze, rubber duck races, straw castles and slides, and pumpkin painting. You haven’t been to Camden if you haven’t been to Fifers.
Loblolly Christmas Trees
Similar to the family atmosphere at Fifer Orchards, Loblolly is another family-friendly farm in the area. Loblolly, however, is most known for their farm animals and Christmas trees. They also have an old-timey gift shop that just smells like Christmas, packed with tons of handmade crafts and decorations. At Christmas time, just about every Camden, Delaware resident comes out on the weekends to go on hayrides, take pictures with Santa, and leave with a Christmas tree strapped to the roof of their car.
Tre Sorelle Dolce
Previously named “Vitales”, but most commonly referred to as “that ice cream place by the railroad tracks”, Tre Sorelle Dolce is one of the most popular summer hangouts for all ages. With seemingly endless ice cream flavors from classic chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, to fun favorites like deep dish apple pie, cappuccino crunch, and candy bar overload, this place can satisfy any kind of sweet tooth. And don’t forget to make it a gelato and add some water ice with flavors like watermelon, mango, and strawberry. On Friday nights you can hang out in the lamp-lit pavilion and listen to local bands and artists perform a live show. This ice cream stand has the homiest vibe in all of Camden, Delaware.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many things that make Camden, Delaware unique, and so is every local’s experience. But these 12 things, in my own childhood and memories, are the ones that bring our community together the most.