Spring may seem long way away on these bitterly cold days of winter.

Yet Kent County Tourism is already busy preparing for the 82nd Dover Days Festival, which will be held May 1-3.

Registration is now open for community and business participation in Kent County’s largest free, family festival.

“Every year, Dover Days grows in size and quality with literally thousands of community participants,” Cindy Small, the executive director of Kent County Tourism, said in a release. “We invite our local businesses and community members to be a part of the county’s showcase event.”

The theme this year will be “Abraham Lincoln.”

More than the garden tour it once was, Dover Days still centers on the grassy Green.

Celebrating First State history is just a part of a weekend that also includes many family-friendly activities. Last year, there were 40 food vendors and 350 artisans and craftspeople set up along six blocks downtown.

The event also offers opportunities to explore Revolutionary War, Civil War and World War II reenactors’ encampments and visit Woodburn, the governor’s residence.

On Saturday, families can watch Kent County’s largest parade. And don’t forget the smaller, but no less fun, Kritter Sitter pet parade.

The Dover Days Car Show has become a Sunday highlight. With vintage vehicles beside the Dover Days Cup vintage baseball tournament, this judged car show awards 26 trophies and other prizes.

Programs, speakers and exhibits will be announced at a future date, but businesses and community organizations interested in promoting before a crowd of 50,000 are invited to join as a sponsor now. Entertainment, fireworks, Colonial artisans and others need those sponsorship so that the tradition of free admission and quality programming can continue, Small said. Sponsorship opportunities start at $100.

Kent County Tourism also is seeking crafters, artists and artisans, resellers and nonprofit organizations, as well as food, home and trade exhibitors. Last year, 500 spaces were filled, making Dover Days the largest vendor show in the state. Signing up early will qualify vendors and exhibitors for early-bird discounts.

Early entries into the Dover Days Car Show will save $5.

Meanwhile, car clubs, marching groups, bands, fire companies, floats, schools, civic organizations and commercial entries, as well as pets, are being sought for the parades. Entry is free except for a small fee charged only to non-sponsoring commercial entries.

Applications and sponsorship information is available at DoverDaysFestival.com. To discuss vending or exhibiting, call Michelle Beachler at 734-4888. To learn more about sponsorships, call Lorraine Dion at 734-7511.