We've been (sometimes not so) patiently waiting several months to say this, so play along, use your imagination and picture us speaking right now in the most excited tone we can possibly muster.

WELCOME TO THE FIRST BIG FESTIVAL WEEKEND OF 2018 HERE AT THE DELAWARE AND MARYLAND BEACHES!!

That's right! After a long winter and some less than ideal weather thus far in the spring, it's finally time to get outside and enjoy some great community fun here in the coastal region.

We have four fantastic events for you to consider over the next few days in coastal Delaware, as well as a great annual happening held at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City.

If you've been waiting, as we have, for a chance to get out and enjoy some quality family time at the beaches, well your wait is officially over.

Read much more below, of course, but first here are the Oldfather Group's Adam Linder and Richard DeCore with a quick video preview of this weekend's events.


Thanks fellas! Okay, so let's jump right into the main course here, shall we?

REMINDER: be sure to check out the interactive map at the end of this blog entry to learn more about this weekend's featured events.

Here are our top five picks for fun and family friendly events over the weekend of April 27-29 at and near the Delaware and Maryland beaches.

We begin with a former winner of the Southern Delaware Tourism award for best event in the local region. And that is...

Ocean to Bay Bike Tour (April 27-28). This is one of coastal Delaware’s premier spring events and features hundreds of bicyclists completing one of four courses – either a 36-mile, a 50-mile, a metric century or a century route. 

This used to be a one-day only event, but new for 2018 is the Friday afternoon "fun ride," featuring an out and back ride from Bethany Beach to the Indian River Inlet, with a pit stop at the Big Chill Beach Club within Delaware Seashore State Park.

Organized by the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, this award-winning local event is held rain or shine and will only be cancelled in the event of extreme weather. All routes begin and end in Bethany Beach and, as always, completion of the route is not mandatory. 

The kickoff of the Saturday portion of the Ocean to Bay Bike Tour is staggered, beginning at 7 a.m., with the Century Ride and running through the beginning of the 36-mile ride at 8:30.

Visit www.oceantobaybiketour.com for more information.

Bug and Bud Festival (April 28). This is one of the highlights of the spring festival season in southern Delaware. 

Held on the shores of the beautiful Mispillion River in Milford, this 15th annual family friendly event is highlighted by the always-popular Ladybug and Tree costumed parade, which even allows dressed up pets to be involved in the fun. 

The festival also features paddle boat rides on the river, a Chalk Art contest, a children’s art show, nature related hands-on activities, more than 100 vendors and much more. 

If you plan on a day in Milford this Saturday, however, make sure you go early and get a good seat for the parade, which starts at approximately 9:30 a.m. and winds it’s way through the downtown area. 

Visit the event page at www.downtownmilford.org for more information on this fun springtime event.

Delmarva Spring Birding Weekend (April 26-29). If you love wildfowl, then these four days in coastal Delaware and Maryland are made just for you. 

This event includes boat trips, paddling treks and expeditions on foot during the spring migration through Delmarva of many different species. 

Included during the four days of the event are such fun excursions as “Warblers on Water,” “Birds of Prime Hook,” “Warblermania!” and “Shorebird Explorer.”

Visit the event page on www.delmarvabirding.com for more information on this four-day, two-state excursion.

Southern Delaware Kidney Walk (April 29). This 10th annual event is planned for Sunday, April 29, at Cape Henlopen State Park and is sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland and Delaware.

More than 600 people are expected for the 2018 version of this popular event, which kicks off at 11 a.m. Check-in begins an hour earlier and a brief ceremony will precede the beginning of the walk.

Participants can choose from a three-mile route or a shorter route that is designed with patients in mind, especially those using strollers and wheelchairs.

Other activities at this Sunday event include entertainment, refreshment, a petting zoo, a photo booth, a "Kidney Kids Corner" and games.

To register or for more information, visit www.kidneywalk.org.

Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition (April 27-29). This international event draws carvers, collectors and visitors to the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City every spring and is organized by the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art in Salisbury.

Several thousand dollars in prize money is awarded each year in several different categories, with the winner of the main competition winning the title of “world champion.”

The three-day event is the world’s largest such gathering and is the longest running wildfowl carving competition in the world.

Hours for the 2018 event are Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Visit the events page HERE for more information.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, we hope you have a fun and exciting few days here in the coastal region.

And be sure to check back here next week in our “Weekender Blog” for more great happenings at and near the Delaware and Maryland beaches.

Have a great weekend everyone!