Historic church opening Sunday for annual ice cream festival

There are plenty of historic sites remaining in Sussex County, but – at 253 years old – Prince George’s Chapel in Dagsboro stands out among them. Set back from Route 26 behind the church cemetery, the church comes to life just four times a year, to preserve its place as a historic site. And the next big event set to be held there is the annual Ice Cream Festival on Sunday, Aug. 1. The event is held every year on the first Sunday in August.

Homemade ice cream in a wide variety of flavors will be available by the pint, for $3.50, and by the quart, for $7. There will also be entertainment by a local steel drum band and baked goods available for purchase. The chapel will be open for tours, too, and there will be guides there to explain its rich history.

According to Delaware archives, the property was originally considered to be in Maryland, dating back to 1755, before the settlement of a boundary dispute.

“On June 30, 1757, the newly-completed chapel was formally received from the builders by the vestry of Worchester Parish. It was named to honor the English prince who would become King George III,” according to the archives.

The State of Delaware received ownership of the property in 1967, and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 24, 1971. Perhaps most notably, the cemetery in front of the chapel houses the grave of Gen. John Dagworthy, an officer in the French and Indian, and Revolutionary wars, who – according to the archives – “was an early and ardent supporter of the church” and for whom the Town of Dagsboro is named.

To allow for many local church services to let out before the Ice Cream Festival commences, “It starts at 11:30 a.m.,” explained Margaret Morris, president of the Friends of Prince George’s Chapel, “and goes until we run out. Come and join us!” she invited.

To help maintain its status as a historic site, each year the Prince George’s Chapel also hosts an Olde Christmas Day celebration in the first week in January, a dinner – usually in early April – and an Easter sunrise service.

Prince George’s Chapel is located at the north side of Route 26, near the intersection of Road 302 (Armory Road) and Route 26 in Dagsboro.