What is... Delaware?
“You think you know, but you have no idea.”
While local history-hounds won’t have to phrase any answers in the form of a question, there’ll be plenty of them asked when Elkton, Md.-based storyteller Ed Okonowicz appears at the Millsboro Pubic Library for “So You Think You Know All about Delaware?” on Monday, March 20.
The interactive “Jeopardy”/trivia-style showcase aims to stump Blue Hen natives and transplants alike, on a variety of little-known topics on the First State, ranging from historical facts and figures to legendary tales and folklore.
And while the main objective of the night will remain focused on fun, the former University of Delaware professor and author of 24 books on such subjects is also aiming to have those who attend leave the event having learned something they may have never thought to seek out before.
“That’s what the program’s all about. It’s supposed to be fun, entertaining and informative at the same time. Education in an interesting fashion, basically,” Okonowicz explained.
“There’s a lot of questions back and forth and interaction. It’s interesting, because this is stuff that you really wouldn’t know automatically. You walk away saying, ‘Wow, I never knew that.’”
Some of the interesting anecdotes ready to be detailed and discussed include the famous author who got the boot from the Deer Park Tavern in Newark when he couldn’t pay his bar tab and the famous inventor in attendance when Rehoboth Beach hosted the first ever national beauty pageant in 1880.
Okonowicz will typically group the audience into teams of either men and women or Delaware natives and non-natives, to see who can finish with the highest score, with plenty of color commentary worked in along the way.
The program has seen its fair share of success since Okonowicz came up with the idea now going on six years ago. And after spending most of his days writing and researching, the new form of storytelling has become just as enjoyable for him as it is for participants.
“With this kind of storytelling, it’s immediate. You know that very minute whether something is going over or not. That’s the neat thing about the programs, is the live presentation aspect. It makes it fun for me, too.”
After wrapping up in Millsboro on Monday, Okonowicz will be headed for Milton as the next stop on his trivia tour, where he’ll be putting on “Foodlore, Muskrats, Scrapple & More,” which he said has been one of his most popular shows to date.
That event will take place at the Milton Historical Society on Thursday, March 23, at 7 p.m., switching gears to regional food and customs along the Delmarva Peninsula, from both a historical and a personal perspective.
“That one is a totally different program, and it’s a lot of fun,” Okonowicz said.
As for “So You Think You Know All about Delaware,” the event is scheduled to get under way at 2 p.m. on Monday, March 20, at the Millsboro Public Library, located at 217 W. State Street in Millsboro. The event is free and open to the public, with participants welcome to just drop in without having to sign up in advance.
For more on Okonowicz or his storytelling programs, visit his website at www.mystandlace.com.