With Labor Day weekend comes Labor Day tradition, and there might be no greater spectacle in this community throughout the course of the year than the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral.
For those unaware of the celebration, it is a time-honored tradition in Bethany Beach for residents and visitors to congregate on the town’s boardwalk and pay homage to the outgoing summer. The event carries the air of a traditional New Orleans jazz funeral with colorful costumes and festive music, and the participants do not necessarily “mourn” the passing of the recent summer as much as they celebrate all the good it brought.
A mock casket carrying the spirit of the summer is paraded through the crowd while onlookers let loose with their appreciation for what the season did for businesses, fun and the general quality of life for all who enjoy this community.
Of course, no Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral would be complete without the town’s lifeguards celebrating their recent summer by collectively jumping into the ocean together one last time, in various levels of attire — or, lack thereof, on occasion.
The entire event is silly, ludicrous and outrageously goofy. For a town with the cultural make-up of Bethany Beach to host such an event is an oddity in itself.
However, once again, it is great fun, and a terrific way to both blow off the steam from a busy season and enjoy one last hoorah at the beach.
We encourage everyone in the area to take part in this annual event, and help make it one that will forever be part of our landscape. Like the Fourth of July parade, it is an event for the people and unique to this community.