To commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Americans gather together each year to celebrate the country’s independence from Great Britain with family and friends.
In the local community, there is no shortage of celebration — from family barbecues and picnics on the beach, to parades and fireworks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
South Bethany to hold holiday weekend fun
South Bethany is heating up for the holiday weekend, from a boat parade to movie night.
Pedestrian Safety Day comes to South Bethany on Friday, July 3, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The Delaware Office of Highway Safety will distribute safety information and demonstrate best practices, to encourage bicycles, motorists and pedestrians to share the street, on the corner of Henlopen Drive and Route 1.
Look for the South Bethany float in the Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade. But anyone can catch the encore when South Bethany’s float parades through its hometown July 4 around 1:30 p.m.
The mini-parade will take place down Ocean Drive, Route 1, Evergreen Road and Anchorage Drive, finally being parked at the corner of Route 1 and Anchorage.
The Town will also host a movie night later that night, at 8:30 p.m., with “Dolphin Tale 2” on the big screen at S. 3rd Street. Families are being encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, beverage and snacks for a perfect spot when the fireworks begin.
The town’s Boat Parade is a highlight on July 5, as residents and renters have decked out their favorite vessels for Independence Day.
The parade lineup starts at 4:30 p.m. in Jefferson Creek. The boats sail in a clockwise route through the town’s major canals: up the west side of Anchorage Drive, the east side of Anchorage Drive, and along York Road.
The public is welcome to find a spot to watch the floating parade. Awards will be presented for most creative, funniest, most patriotic and best in show.
Learn more about the Town’s events by visiting www.southbethany.org.
Bear Trap 4th of July Parade and Kids’ Day
On Friday, July 3, beginning at 9 a.m., the Village at Bear Trap Dunes will hold its annual Fourth of July Parade, beginning at the development’s pavilion.
“It’ll start right outside the pavilion and on a three-quarter of a mile loop through the neighborhood,” said Bethany Beck, the pavilion manager. “The majority of the people that watch are from the community, but we do open it up to people outside, not only to watch but also participate.”
Anyone inside or outside the community is allowed to participate in the parade, which will include participants from a local Cub Scout pack and area volunteer fire companies.
“This year, we actually have show horses coming that have been in parades up in Dover and Ocean City. So they’ll be here this year for the first time.”
One annual aspect of the parade is watching all the families decked out in their red, white and blue, walking or riding their bikes through the parade.
“We’ll do that again,” said Beck. “They are separated by the street they are living on or staying on that week — October Glory, Willow Oak, Sycamore.”
Prizes will be awarded at the end of the parade for Best Patriotic Couple, Most Patriotic Bike Decoration and Most Patriotic Car or Float.
“For that, we do give out prizes from donations throughout the community,” noted Beck.
“This year, as we’ve done in the past, we have a Little Miss and Little Mr. Bear Trap. People vote for kids they think who would represent Bear Trap well here at the pavilion. They’ll be in the parade, as well, and get recognized after we finish the parade. We do have one little girl who has put up posters advertising for Little Miss Bear Trap.”
Baltimore Ravens’ mascot Poe will be in attendance to greet attendees, and anyone else interested in participating in the parade should contact Beck at the pavilion.
“In the past, the parade has gone very well. The last few years has increased in numbers and popularity. Every year, we try to add on to make it a little bigger.”
Following the parade, a Kids’ Day will be held from noon to 3 p.m., but it is limited to those children who live or are staying in the development. Kids will be able to enjoy activities throughout the afternoon, including, for the second year, a cardboard boat race.
“People can only use cardboard or duct tape to make a boat, and they have to race from one end of the pool or the other. And the team that gets from one end to the other fastest is the winner. Last year was a lot of fun. We held it at the indoor pool, and it was absolutely packed.”
This year, the race will be held at the outdoor pool around 2:15 p.m. Beck said that, so far, a number of children have signed up to compete.
“People were very excited that we’re going to be doing it again,” she said. “We ask them to name their boats, and costumes are encouraged. Last year, we had one boy come dressed up as a pirate. We had a total of five participants last year, so we’re really hoping to increase that this year.”
Those who wish to participate in the parade, or who would like to learn more about the events, may contact Beck at the pavilion or call (302) 537-6371.
Millsboro’s Children’s Parade
The Town of Millsboro, the Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce and parishioners of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Millsboro will be hosting the 9th Annual “Happy Birthday, America” Celebration & Children’s Parade beginning at 10 a.m. on July 4.
At St. Mark’s Labyrinth, a brief patriotic ceremony will be held, featuring the musical talents of local singer Cathy Gorman.
“This year, we’re honoring Mr. Atwood Timmons Sr. He passed away last February at 92. He always played ‘Taps’ for us,” said Gail White, a veteran who is organizing the event this year. “One of his buddies is going to play ‘Taps’ for us this year. Mrs. Timmons is going to be there, and Atwood Timmons Jr. We’re going to have a little tribute to them.”
Following the ceremony, the children’s parade will he held on the grounds. Trophies supplied by the Chamber will be given for Best in Show, Best Stroller, Best Wagon, Best Bike and Best Dog.
“The mayor and vice mayor are two of the judges, as well as a St. Mark’s parishioner,” said White.
All who attend are being encouraged to come in their most vibrant red-, white-and-blue attire.
“It’s very patriotic, and I think it’s something the children don’t often see,” said White. “Part of it for the kids is that experience of dressing up in red, white and blue and honoring America. I really like that. It doesn’t take that long, but when everyone is busy doing picnics and other things, it’s just nice to spend a couple minutes doing that.”
Those children who attend will be given water and fruit snacks and, perhaps most importantly, an American flag provided by American Legion Auxiliary Post 28.
White said it is important to hold events such as the celebration and children’s parade, to continue to teach the country’s children the significance of what it means to be free.
“That kind of, a moment to pause and be thankful for the country that we have… I think it’s great every once in a while to take a moment,” she said. “We want to engage them a little bit, and let them know why we celebrate the Fourth of July.”
St. Mark’s is located at the corner of State Street and Ellis Street in downtown Millsboro. In case of rain, the celebration and parade will be held in the parish hall.
Fenwick Island Independence Day parade
For 18 years, Fenwick Island has hosted its own Independence Day parade, thanks to the Hayman family.
The parade will start at 5 p.m., beginning on W. West Virginia Avenue and travel all the way down the canal and then back east. It will take a left on Coastal Highway’s bike lane to make it down South Carolina Avenue before looping back to W. West Virginia.
Floats, bicycles, skateboards, dogs and walkers are welcome to dress up and travel in the parade, or gather on the streets to watch the festivities.
Bethany Beach annual parade and fireworks celebration
Bethany Beach will hold its 32nd Annual Fourth of July Celebration, with a parade and fireworks, on July 4, which draws tens of thousands of people each year.
“It ranges anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000,” said Julie Malewski, Town of Bethany Beach events director. “I think the attraction is its charm — the old-fashioned Americana-type event where the kids come and they’re given bike kits to decorate their bikes. We get a handful of youngsters to carry the banner to announce the start of the parade… It’s just a real fun event for them to participate in.”
The parade will begin at noon, with the theme “Let Freedom Ring.” Those who wish to register a float in the parade may do so between 9 and 11:30 a.m. that morning at desks located on the corner of Route 1 and Central Avenue.
Those who wish to have their floats judged must be registered prior to 10:30 a.m., as that is when judging will begin.
“Part of the fun is to see how people decorate their floats,” said Malewski.
Bicyclists may register from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on the Christian Church grounds. This year, though, bicycles won’t be judged. Instead, prizes will be chosen by raffle and awarded to those attending the awards ceremony, held at the bandstand at 7:15 p.m.
Official Bethany Beach Fourth of July parade T-shirts will be sold from 9 a.m. to noon on the day of the parade, for $15 for adult sizes and $10 for youth sizes.
The parade will begin at the intersection of Pennsylvania and Garfield Parkway and take its traditional two-mile route through the town. It will feature five marching bands and six entertainment groups on trucks, with marching units including the Delaware National Guard, Downtown Dixieland Band and the First State Detachment Marine Corps League.
“One addition this year is a Civil War cannon from 1863, with its undercarriage. That’s going to be part of the lineup. It’ll be exciting to see that going down the streets.”
The 2015 grand marshals will be Phil and Mary Rossi, who have been involved in the annual parade for more than a decade.
A horseshoe-throwing contest will be held at 2 p.m. at the southwest corner of the Christian Church grounds.
Following the awards ceremony, The Vigilantes will perform popular dance music at the bandstand. A fireworks display will be shot off near Wellington Parkway at dusk, running less than an hour.
Malewski said the event would not be the success that it is without its organizing committee and countless volunteers.
“I’d really like to acknowledge the committee that’s involved with planning the parade. There are a lot of moving parts, and they do such great work and are the reason, along with the volunteers, for the success of the event.”
For more information, visit www.townofbethanybeach.com or call (302) 539-8011.
Fenwick Island’s annual bonfire
To wrap up the holiday weekend, the Town of Fenwick Island will be hosting the 11th Annual Fenwick Island Bonfire on Sunday, July 5, from 7 to 11 p.m. The event will have music and games designed to be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
“There will be a D.J., as usual, glow sticks and other things for the kids. There’ll be snowballs, silent auction, T-shirts for sale and just a big bonfire itself. It’s a great time,” said Fenwick Island Beach Patrol Capt. Tim Ferry. “It’s bigger and better every year, and everyone always looks forward to it.”
The annual event benefits the Fenwick Island Beach Patrol. T-shirts and other items are available for sale to help offset the cost of the patrol team’s attendance at the USLA National Lifeguards Championships in Daytona Beach, Fla., in August.
“There are different things that benefit the guards with the money raised. One of the major contributions is to our lifeguard competition — locally, regionally and especially the national championship,” he said. “It helps offset the cost of hotel rooms, airfare and those types of things.”
Ferry said that, this year, he has 30 guards patrolling Fenwick’s beaches from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Labor Day. Guards will also patrol the beaches on some September weekends, depending on weather and staffing availability.
During the July 5 event, those who attend will be able to chat with the guards and learn more about their daily job.
“There are so many different aspects to lifeguarding — there’s the physical, there’s the mental. You have to be able to make good, quick decisions up there on the stand. You have to have good recognition of potential victims,” said Ferry, adding that guards receive extensive training.
“It’s a very detailed training regimen that these lifeguards have to go through. Our guards still have to learn and communicate using the flag semaphore system, so they can communicate with each other from their stands.
“They work extremely hard… There’s definitely a lot of hard work and dedication needed to be an ocean lifeguard.”
Ferry said training for the competitions also presents challenges but is also an exciting time.
“It’s very challenging,” said Ferry of lifeguarding, noting that an athletic background, along with commitment and drive to excel are key factors in succeeding at the job. “It’s not all about the competitions.
“They wouldn’t be that good at competitions if they weren’t first that good as lifeguards. They have a daily workout regimen that’s part of their paid work day, where we do a variety of running, swimming, cross-training — all different types of things to keep them in the best possible shape.
“That is so they can perform their job at the highest possible level every day. That also transforms over into the competitive side of it, which is a great release and great camaraderie.”
Ferry said he hopes to qualify six to eight guards from the FIBP to participate at the national level as part of the Sussex County Life Saving Association’s team.
“We’re looking forward to it. We just finished local training, and some of the local competitions are starting.”
The Town, residents and visitors have been extremely supportive of the patrol over the years, said Ferry.
“It’s a great working relationship. The Beach Committee in Fenwick helps us doing this. The Town itself helps subsidize some of the cost, too, so it’s a really, really good working relationship between us and the Town and Beach Committee, to not only put on the bonfire but to help support the guards in our daily endeavors and competitions.
“The residents and visitors that come back year after year to this event, it’s awesome to hear all the compliments they have of our beach patrol. They take that to heart. The Town and the residents respect the job they do.”
All those looking for an enjoyable family-friendly night on the beach are being encouraged to attend the free event.
“Everyone is welcome. It’s for families and for kids, so come out and enjoy it — it’s just an awesome event.”
The bonfire will take place on the beach off Dagsboro Street in Fenwick Island. The rain date is set for July 6.