The tradition of “Homecoming” in Ocean View began in 1902 and continued through the beginning of World War II. The idea was to choose a day for family and friends who had lived in the area but moved away to come back and visit. It was a very informal, fun time. Though the tradition faded over the years, there was a “Homecoming” in 1976 for the nation’s birthday and again in 1989, on the 100th anniversary of the town of Ocean View.
Last year was a return to that time. The Town of Ocean View and the Ocean View Historical Society worked together with the local business community to put on a new Homecoming event. Carriage rides, children’s games, crafters, music and food were part of the celebration.
This year, “Homecoming” will be on May 14 in John West Park in Ocean View, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the public is once again invited. The event will be sponsored by the Town of Ocean View and the Fulton Bank. The Historical Society will provide volunteers.
Once again, all parts of the event are free to the public, except for food, which will be offered by Café on 26, Charley K’s BBQ, Northeast Seafood Kitchen and Papa John’s pizza. This year will also include Beach Plaza Scoops ice cream, and the Millville Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary will be making strawberry shortcake.
Music will be provided by the homegrown Back Bay Strummers, Junior Wilson and the Mariners Bethel Praise Team.
Additionally, the U.S. Navy Band Cruisers will perform starting at 1 p.m. in the gazebo. Their music ranges from jazz and standards, to rhythm-and-blues, classic rock and more. See www.navyband.mil/cruisers.shtml for more information on the Cruisers.
This year will also feature a Coastal Historians booth, where James Diehl, author of “Remembering Sussex County” and the producer of the video “World War II Heroes of Southern Sussex” will answer questions about Sussex County history and Delaware’s role in World War II.
Odette Wright of the Nanticoke Indian Center will also explain the traditions and culture of Sussex County’s native inhabitants, the Nanticoke Indians.
Paul Rix, a Civil War re-enactor, will display Confederate uniforms and answer questions about Delaware’s split allegiance in the Civil War. (This year is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.) Rix is also a docent for the Delaware Coast Guard Station and can talk about the Life Saving Service that operated in the 1800s.
Carol Psaros, author of “Come to Bethany,” will describe local beach life in the Native American, Victorian and modern-day periods. Bev Dalecki of the Fort Miles Historical Association will answer questions about the efforts to restore the beach towers and Fort Miles, to preserve the story of coastal defenses against German attack in World War II.
There will also be demonstrations from carpentry artisan Joel Antonioli; basket maker Aletha Gilbert; blacksmith Noel Justice; and quilter Jeanne Boswell.