Bethany readying for big Fourth of July

Friday, July 4, will find Bethany Beach residents and visitors very excited about this big day in the small town. The town’s population of 2,600 full-time residents explodes to more than 30,000 each Fourth of July as they celebrate the nation’s independence.

The 24th annual parade will steps off at noon on Friday, July 4. The theme this year is “Pride, Tradition, Dedication,” honoring the Bethany Beach Patrol.

This year will feature a return appearance of the 287th National Guard Army Band, leading the parade. As always, organizers anticipate almost 1,500 kids on bikes riding through town. The parade is designed to represent what small town Americana is all about.

Following the parade, at approximately 2 p.m., the horseshoe-throwing contest will get under way for the 20th year in a row. The contest is set up on the north side of the Christian Church property, where a crowd of well-wishers always gathers.

The parade awards will be announced on the bandstand at 7:15 p.m. There are four categories in which to enter:
(1) Marchers & Walkers — adults/children; single/groups;
(2) Float/Organization — civic, service, fraternal, church, etc.;
(3) Float/Business; and
(4) Float/Individual or Family.

The Grand Prize is for Best of Parade. Everyone is being invited to join in on the fun.

The Philadelphia Brass Band concert will begin at 7:30 p.m., followed at dusk by fireworks.

This big day involves long hours of work by many, organizers noted. The town supplies behind-the-scenes support and provides support by the police department and public works crew. Many hours of preparation go into making this day run very smoothly. In addition, the 4th of July Committee consists of an all-volunteer group run under the chairmanship of Philip Rossi.

Funds are raised from a letter-writing campaign and from the sale of T-shirts. In early spring, a solicitation letter goes out to businesses, neighborhoods and individuals. Anyone who would like to support the parade, can mail a donation to: The 4th of July Parade Committee, P.O. Box 800, Bethany Beach DE 19930.

T-shirts depicting the theme of the 24th event will be available starting the Saturday evening of Memorial Day weekend and every evening that coincides with a bandstand performance. During business hours, they may be purchased at the Bethany Trading Co., Pitter-Patter, and DiFebo’s and Isabella’s restaurants. In addition, the Parade Committee will host a booth at the Seaside Craft Show on June 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The last chance to purchase a T-shirt will be the morning of the parade, at a tent on the parade grounds. Committee members advised people to purchase early, as popular sizes do sell out.

Monies earned go to paying for the bands, decoration kits for the kids’ bikes and parade awards. The committee also makes donations to the Boy Scouts, the Christian Church for the use of their property and to the Bethany Beach Fire Company for serving lunch to all the fire departments, the bands and the volunteers.