This weekend, the Town of Ocean View will hold its 2015 Homecoming event, inviting the community to come together and enjoy fellowship and fun.
According to Richard Nippes of the Ocean View Historical Society, Ocean View’s Homecoming originally started in the early 1900s.
“The reason why was because there weren’t many jobs other than farming, so a lot of people would leave to go to Philadelphia and other places to work. They all tended to miss the camaraderie that existed in town because of family and friends — it was a tight-knit community.
“They started an event held in August where they invited all the people who had left to come back and renew family ties and friendships; just to get together with old friends and have a good time.”
However, with the start of World War II and the rationing of gasoline, Nippes said, the event ended.
The event returned to the town in 2010, with Nippes’ help, and has been growing steadily ever since.
“The current town manager, Dianne Vogel, has done a phenomenal job,” said Nippes.
Homecoming 2015 will be held on Saturday, May 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in John West Park, rain or shine. The event is free and open to the public.
The event will open with Ocean View Mayor Walter Curran overseeing a flag-raising ceremony.
This year’s event will also feature more than 25 crafters, along with entertainment provided by Randy Lee Ashcraft & the Saltwater Cowboys.
Kids can enjoy a giant rock wall, shark slide, carnival rides and face-painting.
Free ice cream will be provided to the first 200 people by Vanderwende’s Creamery.
Shuttle service and parking from designated parking lots will be provided by the Bloody Mary Shuttle.
The event is sponsored by the Town of Ocean View; Morris, James, Wilson, Halbrook & Bayard LLP; Fulton Bank; WSFS bank; Sussex County Council; Lyons Companies; and Kercher Engineering Inc.
During the event, the historical society’s adjacent complex will be open for tours. Those attending will be able to learn more about the town’s first post office, an 1800s outhouse, a replica of broiler-industry pioneer Cecile Steele’s first chicken house and the Tunnell-West House.
“All of our historical buildings will be open, and there will be docents present,” said Nippes. “This year, we’re hoping Dr. [Donald] Hattier will bring some military equipment in from World War II and have it set up for people to tour.”
Nippes said continuing the town’s historic Homecoming event is important, especially with so many individuals moving to the town from other states.
“I think it can be summed up in the fact that, a community, as it grows, tends to lose its identity. It has a name, but you have different neighborhoods and the people there they have very little interaction with other neighborhoods,” he said. “In my opinion, it’s not a cohesive community as it was. ... What you try to do is remember the past and traditions, and it tends to give the newer people in the community a sense of where the community has come from.”
Nippes said he hopes community members from across the county will attend the event, meet their neighbors and learn a little bit about the town.
“Hopefully, the people of Ocean View will begin to develop an appreciation for this tradition and it’ll bring people from the various neighborhoods together to remember this was something that started in the past.”
John West Park is located at 32 West Avenue in Ocean View. For more information, call (302) 539-9797.