The Millville Airport claims the honor of being the first in a chain of defense air fields around the time of WW II. This museum commemorates the airports role in the defense of our country as well as other important periods in aviation history. It is a small museum packed full of items of interest. Anyone who finds the war or aviation interesting would really like this museum. While you're there you can watch the planes take off and have lunch.
(My uncle, who was one of the first pilots to train new pilots for battle, is among those commemorated at the museum.)
South Jersey has a long history of manufacturing glass. Wheaton's is a world-renown glass company that was (little known fact) cofounded by Wheaton, my great-great grandfather, and several other men. Wheaton, a shrewd business man, managed to connnive the his partners out of business for, and 'the rest is history...' The Wheaton family got filthy rich-- we didn't. Anyway, Wheaton Village is the home the Museum of American Glass and several other interesting things. It's a nice way to spend an afternoon. I often go there for walks and buy real penny candy (since that's all I can afford, thank you very much, Mr. Wheaton! LOL,) from the General Store.
At Wheaton Village you can roam the premises, visit the shops and feed the ducks for free. The pricey shops at Wheaton Village, specializing in unique collectible glass items and nostalgia are worth a visit. For a small donation you can see a live glass-blowing session and visit the American Museum of Glass (there's a photo of my great-great grandfather tucked away in there somewhere.) There are also opportunities to try you hand a glass blowing by special appointment for about $50. There are other crafts on display here, including an impressive pottery hut. Wheaton Village also has a schedule of events throughout the year that include small concerts, lectures, classes, special events and art openings.
Make sure you find out what's going on in Millville, particularly during the warm weather months. From May until September, there are tons of outdoor activities going on, many of which are sponsored by the Millville Recreation Department and the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts. In addition to published calendars, you can also find listings of events in local newspapers and publications such as the Cumberland Reminder and Serendipity.
This past Friday we attended a cultural festival in the Glasstown Plaza. It featured free entertainment and commentary from local cultural groups. Especially interesting was the dancing provided by four local groups- Mexican, Greek, Irish and Native American were all represented.
Millville has borrowed the tradition of "third Fridays" from Philadelphia, where art galleries and other shops on High Street stay open late every third Friday and have a free open house. I always have a fantastic time. It reminds me of European tradition of the evening stroll. We visit the jam packed pub and have a beer. We hop from gallery to gallery where we enjoy various hors d'ouvres, wine and cheese. The very best local musicans crawl out of the wood-work to fill every unused nook and cranny of every mom and pop shop on High Street. We drift from store to store and are serenaded by some really excellent music. Usually if there's time, I like to finish off the evening with a coffee or tea and a nibble...
I'm absolutely hooked on 3rd Fridays. They' re a lot of fun and everyone I've convinced to come with me is blown away by how awesome it is. Come and join us!!!
The Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts is at the heart of the arts district in Millville. The Center is the starting point for everything in the arts in the area. They have all the info on what is going on. The nicest and most upscale gallery is located in the Center. They have great art shows all the time. In the hallway joining the two main galleries they frequently display the art of local school children and much of the stuff is brilliant. I enjoy it as much as the professional works on display. The center offers lots of art classes for all ages. My daughter intermittently takes 10 week art classes for a mere $60, materials included.
Be sure to visit on Third Fridays when they have a great open house with hors d'ouvres and all the local artists come out.
Gallery is Free. Local art for sale. Closed on Mondays.
The first time I met Dennis Tawes was in the very beginning of this whole Arts District Project. He was the very first person to leave his old life behind him and step out on a limb and come to Millville to be a part of the Millville redevelopment project. I stopped in the first gallery he had and chatted with him for a while-- nice guy. But I figured that he had to be nuts to leave everything and come to a town like Millville to sell art. But I was wrong.
Dennis Tawes has become known as Millville's pioneer artist, and he is, because he really did journey into the unknown when he came here. He's been here the longest and has the coolest art gallery/studio in Millville. Unless you make an appointment you can only see it on 3rd Fridays. I highly recommend you don't miss the gallery on Third Friday's, it's definitiely the coolest. There's crock pot with some grub, appetizers, wine, lots of comfy couches and hires INCREDIBLE musicians to provide ambiance. It's the kind of place you could just sit and relax for hours and people watch. Great vibe.
(There's no cover charge although he appreciates donations of course to cover the cost of the food & wine.)
Take a long drive through Millville down Carmel Road out into the middle of nowhere and you'll end up at the Cumberland County Fairgrouds. They have lots of events there throughout the year (including the Pumpkin Festival.) But by far the best event of the year is the County Fair. Children and adults love this event. Of course there's rides, food and games, but there's also pig racing (hysterical!), fireworks, horseback riding shows and a demolition derby. By far the favorite part of the county fair is the 4-H pavillions. The Cumberland County 4-H Club does a bang-up job and provides tons of animals for children and adults to enjoy. There's always a big bunny rabbit competition with all kinds of varieties you never knew existed. There's cows, pigs, goats, horses, and even a baby chick hatchery. The best part is the free petting zoo with sheep and goats. Every year we spend at least an hour in the pen with the animals petting them, getting chased and stepping in poop. (Bring old shoes :P ) It's a blast.
This year the dates are: July 4-9, 2005
See the website for more info, schedule of events, admission info, etc.
Millville Airport claims to be America's first defense airport. It's a place many locals are very proud of. It's a small airport on the fringes of town where many locals take affordable flying lessons or house their small planes.
The big draw to the airport is the yearly Wheels and Wings Airshow. Tens of thousands of people flood into Millville for this huge annual event every year.
The airshow is scheduled for May 20-22, 2005 this year. Purchase tickets in advance for $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Tickets are more at the door. You can order tickets online this year, see link below. Military personnel are free with ID.
The Clay College on High Street is an extension of our local community college (Cumberland County Community College). It is both a ceramic studio and gallery. Classes are available for adults and children (ages 8 and up). Items are available for viewing and purchasing as well. The best time to visit is during 3rd Fridays when the place is humming. Or you can take a chance to see if they're open whilst you are strolling High Street (Monday-Friday.)
La Bottega is one of the galleries that sometimes is missed because it is a bit out of they way... Walk the extra 2 blocks beyond the post office to check out this unique gallery.