John DiEleuterio is a lifelong resident of Wilmington (excluding a 4 year stint in Denver, Colorado). He works for Main Light Industries and is “that guy” that does bingo at Oddity Bar (which we miss!) Because of his foundational work with Illuminate Delaware, which saluted essential workers with light installments all over the state, he is this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE. Read his story below.
“I graduated from St. Elizabeth’s in 1992. My first job was in the early ‘90s as a cashier at the old Pathmark on Lancaster Pike. My family just moved from Union Park Gardens to Green Acres, a rad mid-century modern neighborhood in North Wilmington. I’ve lived in Wilmington my entire life, except for a four-year stint in Denver, Colorado in the early-2000s. My family has been in Wilmington ever since my great-grandparents emigrated from Italy in 1912.
I’m extremely proud of Illuminate Delaware, a collective of Delaware lighting and event industry professionals. Over Memorial Day weekend we lit iconic Delaware locations as a show of gratitude to our essential workers and a symbol of unity to our fellow Delawareans. It was an all-volunteer effort of 16 colleagues who were all affected by the shutdown of the live entertainment industry and wanted to use their creativity and expertise to shine some light during a very dark time.
I’m looking forward to live events happening again. The live-events industry was the first to shut down and will be the last to recover. My career relies on large numbers of people being able to gather for concerts, festivals, and theater. My two favorite events occur within days of each other—the Greek Festival and the Italian Festival. June is by far the best month to live in Wilmington. Waiting in line for a gyro at the Greek Festival and a panzarotti at the Italian Festival are both highlights of my year. I have such great memories of being a kid and walking to the Italian Festival from my grandparents’ house on Rodman Street (aka, Goat City). When I could smell the honeysuckles on West 9th Street near the old DMV (now Woodlawn Library), I knew we were almost there. Seeing the tower of St. Anthony’s, with the Italian flags streaming down, was just the most amazing feeling, and still is. I’ve lived in Union Park Gardens for 11 years, and being able to walk to the Festival every year with my wife and daughter is pretty darn awesome.
For almost seven years I’ve spent my Wednesday nights at Oddity Bar running Oddball Bingo. What started off as a way to get people into a newly-opened bar quickly became one of Oddity’s busiest nights of the week. We partnered with other local businesses and nonprofits and raised money and awareness for Planned Parenthood of Delaware. I’m proud that Oddball Bingo is a very inclusive night out in Wilmington. Unfortunately, it’s been on hold since March of 2020 and I miss spending my Wednesday nights with such a diverse group of people, many of whom have become good friends over the years.
My advice to people living and working in Wilmington is to demand more from your elected officials. One of the most recent and exciting experiences I’ve had living in Wilmington was watching President-Elect Biden giving his victory speech on national television from the Riverfront, and then being able to see and hear the fireworks from our front porch. It was an amazing, hopeful experience for my whole family.
I continue to choose Wilmington because it’s a place to be somebody, and I want to be somebody!”
Follow John on his Instagram and Mainlight Industries through their Website and Instagram! Connect with Illuminate Delaware through their Website, Instagram, and Facebook! Follow Oddity Bar’s “Odd Ball Bingo” on their Instagram and Facebook. Know of another Wilmingtonian that needs to be featured? Tag them in the comments or by using #PeopleOfWilmDE.