Traditionally, the common conception of this area has been one that thrived from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and then we rolled up the sidewalks and counted the days until the visitors came back next year.
Make no mistake — that was once the reality, to some extent. Oh, there were still farms to be managed and some year-round businesses that stayed open for the locals to frequent, but not a whole lot. Business owners mostly banked whatever they could over the summer and tried to stretch it out over the winter.
But that’s not really the case anymore.
Plenty of businesses do close up after Labor Day — or, at least go to weekends-only for the fall season before closing. Downtown Bethany Beach probably sees the most dramatic change in the area because so many of those Garfield Parkway businesses exist solely because of the vacationers.
But many businesses now stay open throughout the year. The year-round population has grown exponentially over the past 15 years or so, and more and more retirees are finding this place to be a pretty great place to live in the off-season. We no longer are only a seasonal community, and this weekend no longer feels like cap to the year.
It’s just a change.
Now, there will be a few great events this weekend marking the end of “the season.” The annual Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral kicks off on the boardwalk at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 6. The Jazz Funeral Silent Auction will take place at Bethany Blues on Friday, Sept. 3, at 3 p.m. And the growing-more-popular yART Sale will take place again on Saturday and Sunday (see page C1 for the full story and details). These are tremendous events that wrap up the season and we encourage all of you to get out there and enjoy them.
Just don’t think we’ve closed up when they’re over.
We now happily enjoy the “shoulder season” here. September is a great time to still enjoy the beaches while the weather is warm. The local restaurants continue to provide great food, and local shops hold many events and sales throughout the fall.
There is no doubt that things do change after Labor Day weekend. Children are back in school, and families just can’t take a week’s vacation anymore once that happens. But we are no longer closed. Come back and visit.