Who says the Fourth of July can only be celebrated once each year?
In 2017, residents of and visitors to southern Sussex County and coastal Maryland can enjoy not one but five different events focused on the Independence Day holiday. Most of the events will take place on different days throughout the week before the Fourth, so people can enjoy fireworks, concerts and parades more than just once this year.
Bethany Beach gets its Fourth on
The town of Bethany Beach will be hosting its annual Independence Day celebration, which will include the traditional Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade, a concert and other forms of entertainment for the public on July 4.
The parade, which will start at noon at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Garfield Parkway, will include a float competition, 12 bands and more.
Participants interested in entering a float into to the competition must register their float at a table located on Central Boulevard near the Bethany Beach Christian Church grounds. Registration will be held between 9 and 11:30 a.m. on the day of the parade.
Parade participants have the opportunity to compete in four categories, for the best entries by individuals, organizations, businesses and walkers.
Prizes will vary, but according to Julie Malewski, events director for the Town of Bethany Beach, winners can expect to win this year’s collectable Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade T-shirt, a trophy or a gift certificate.
The T-shirts, which raise funds to support the parade, can also be purchased on July 3 from 6 to 9 p.m. on the boardwalk or on July 4 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Christian Church entrance.
This year’s parade theme is “Bethany Celebrates,” which Malewski said was inspired by a photograph taken by photographer Bryan Scar. The parade float guidelines, which can be found on the Town of Bethany Beach’s website at www.townofbethanybeach.com, encourage float-makers to follow the theme to further their chances of winning in one of the categories.
“It’s a nice, neutral apolitical theme that can apply to many different interpretations,” Malewski said.
The parade will also include a series of local and out-of-state music groups, including the Delmar District Pipe Band, the Tidewater Brass Band, the 287th National Guard Army Band, the Back Bay Strummers, the German Oompah Band, the First Delaware Regiment, the First State Detachment Marine Corps League, The Circle C Outfit LLC, The Honeycombs, the Nautical Sounds Chorus, the Paddlewheel Strutters and the Downtowners Fancy Brigade.
After the parade, at 2:30 p.m., “Art Thou Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader in Ben Franklin Trivia” will be held on the boardwalk bandstand. For the trivia event, Ben Mulligan, a “first-person interpreter,” will be acting as Ben Franklin. Mulligan has appeared as Franklin on shows such as ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and NBC’s “The Jay Leno Show.”
Then, at 7:15 p.m., the parade awards ceremony will be held on the bandstand, right before a concert by Dewey Beach-based band Love Seed Mama Jump, which will perform at 7:30 p.m., also on the bandstand. Majewski described the band as family-friendly and mentioned that it tailors to a wide variety of ages and music tastes.
The Town’s annual fireworks display will conclude the event around dusk. They will be set off over the beach near the Wellington Parkway entrance. The shells in this year’s show may be a little smaller, due to the current width of the beach, but as a result, the show is expected to last a little longer than it has in some recent years.
“The whole town gets alive with excitement,” Malewski said as a final note of encouragement to attend the event.
Ocean City doling out dual displays
Ocean City, Md., will be having two sets of Independence Day festivities that are each expected to include a live musical performance and a fireworks show on July 4.
The two events will take place at the same time, starting at 8 p.m., offering visitors the opportunity to choose between two different Independence Day experiences.
One of the locations will be in downtown Ocean City, on the Dorchester Street beach. The other will in Northside Park, off of 125th Street, bayside. Both locations will host a concert, which will start at 8 p.m., and a fireworks show, starting at 9:30 p.m.
Downtown, the theme will be a modern take on the fireworks show. It will be “heavily synchronized to music, and it’s more of an enveloping experience,” Ocean City Director of Special Events Frank Miller said.
The band Triple Rail Turn will be performing near Dorchester Street, on Caroline Street, at the start of the event, Miller said. He described the band as a modern country-rock group that is very fun to watch live.
The Northside Park location’s theme will be a more traditional approach to the celebration. Miller said that the show will incorporate traditional and big-band music.
A stage will also be set up on 125th Street, in the park, where the band Mike Hines & the Look will perform at 8 p.m., according to Miller. He said the concert will be very family-friendly and will feature a wide variety of music types.
The beauty of having two locations 10 miles away from each other, is that visitors and residents of Ocean City will be able to enjoy two separate experiences in one night, Miller said.
The fireworks displays, Miller said, will be the highlight of both celebrations. He noted that there will be a different fireworks company operating the show this year. Image Engineering, a Baltimore-based company that Miller said specializes in special effects and pyrotechnics will be in charge of both locations’ shows. Each show is expected to last around 18 minutes.
“Don’t be surprised if what you think is the finale for the fireworks isn’t the finale,” Miller said.
For more information about the events, visit Ocean City’s website at http://ococean.com, or call 1-800-626-2326 or (410) 250-0125.
Rehoboth Beach putting the Funsters in the Fourth
Rehoboth Beach will be hosting its annual fireworks show and live concert event on July 2.
Communications Director Krys Johnson said the festivities will begin at 8 p.m., when the band The Funsters, which has been performing at the event since 2006, will give a live performance on the bandstand. The Funsters will play until 9:15 p.m., when the fireworks show will begin.
This year, Zambelli Fireworks will be in charge of the fireworks show.
“Every year gets better and better,” Johnson said.
Approximately 100,000 or more have attended the celebration in past years, said Johnson. She remarked that the large turnout is the main reason why the event is not being held on the actual day of the holiday.
With several neighboring towns also having their own Independence Day celebrations, each one requires an adequate amount of emergency responders to maintain a safe environment, said Johnson. That is why she decided to having the event on a different day, to ensure that Rehoboth will have a sufficient amount of responders.
“I can’t stress enough the importance of safety,” Johnson said. “That is at the top of our list.”
The number of visitors can also result in a lot of traffic and difficulty in finding parking, Johnson noted. She suggested Rehoboth celebrants consider parking at the Epworth United Methodist Church at 19285 Holland Glade Road, where the parking lot will open at 6 p.m. with a fee of $20 per vehicle, which includes Jolly Trolley rides to and from downtown.
Bear Trap to parade around community
Bear Trap Dunes in Ocean View will be hosting its traditional Independence Day parade for the community and the public on July 1. The parade will start at 9 a.m. in front of the community pavilion. Bethany Beck, the pavilion manager, said the parade will form a half-mile loop around the community. The route will go around October Glory Avenue, Sycamore Street and Willow Oak Avenue.
The local fire company will be participating in the event, said Beck. She said they are expected to bring firetrucks and rescue vehicles for the children to see. She said people in the community are being encouraged to participate and that she expects many of them to walk, skateboard and bike in the parade.
Children are also usually treated to complimentary ice-pops after the parade, Beck added.
Live entertainment for the event had yet to be secured, Beck said early this week, but she said she would really like to have a local band perform.
Later in the day, Bear Trap’s Fourth Annual Children’s Boat Race will take place, limited to Bear Trap community members only. Children will be expected to build boats solely out of cardboard and tape. They will then race their creations across the length of the pool. Beck said that, this year, since the event was so successful in previous years, there will be not one but two divisions of racers based on age.
“To be able to have an event that size is pretty exciting,” Beck said.
Getting more people to come out to the community is an important priority for the event, Beck said.
For more information, contact Bear Trap’s Pavilion front desk at (302) 537-6371 or email Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Millsboro gets in on the fireworks game
The inaugural Millsboro Stars & Stripes event will give that town the opportunity to attract holiday visitors of its own on July 1.
For the first time ever, according to Amy Simmons, the executive director of the Millsboro Chamber of Commerce, the town of Millsboro will have the opportunity to come together and celebrate Independence Day in their own town.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. in Cupola Park and will include various local food vendors, including Fat Daddy’s Barbeque, Insante’s Ice-cream & Italian Ice, and possibly a truck selling hamburgers and hotdogs.
The musical entertainment for the evening will be by D.J. Sky Brady, who will be performing up until the fireworks show at 9 p.m.
The fireworks show will be orchestrated by Brothers Pyro, who Simmons said are a local, family-owned company.
There will also be free face-painting for kids, cornhole and a 50/50 raffle. She said the Chamber has been selling the raffle tickets for $1 each — with $5,000 available. If all of the tickets are sold, the $5,000, accumulated from ticket sales will be evenly split between the Chamber and the winner of the raffle, so the maximum prize will be $2,500. The winner will be announced on July 2.
The idea behind scheduling the Stars & Stripes event on the first day of the month was to not conflict with some of the larger celebrations in neighboring towns, said Simmons. She said the event will give visitors to Millsboro an opportunity to see multiple fireworks shows throughout the week and will draw more people to the town.
“This will be our signature event this year,” Simmons said.