Bethany Beach is set for an all-day Fourth of July celebration this Friday, with a parade, live music, awards ceremonies, fireworks and more.
One of the biggest events of the day will, of course, be the Bethany Beach 4th of July Parade, which this year will feature Grand Marshals Phil and Marry Rossi — who have helped organize the parade for the past 10 years, leading the volunteer committee that has handed over the reins to the Town of Bethany Beach for the first time in 2014.
“It’s a great honor that they would even consider us for this,” said Phil Rossi. “I enjoyed the 10 years — we met a lot of nice people and had a lot of support from the Town to make it a success. It’s a big event, and it means so much to the Town and the visitors that come to watch the parade. The T goes all out. I think it’s great it’s continuing.”
This year’s parade theme is “anything patriotic.”
“We’ll see how red, white and blue we can make this town,” said Bethany Beach Events Director and Media Coordinator Julie Malewski.
The parade will start at noon, beginning at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Garfield Parkway, going on a 2-mile route downtown through Bethany Beach.
It will feature six marching bands and five entertainment groups on trucks, with marching units including Tidewater Brass Band, Delmar District Bag Pipe Band, Delaware National Guard, Trilby String Band, Back Bay Strummers, Downtown Dixieland Band, German Oompah Band, Honeycombs, Paddlewheel Strutters, Nautical Sounds, Chester County Emerald Society Pipe Band and 1st State Detachment Marine Corps League.
Those wishing to participate may register floats and bikes the day of the parade from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at two registration desks. Floats can register at Route 1 and Central Avenue, while kids joining the bike brigade can register at the Christian Church grounds.
According to Malewski, this year’s parade could see a crowd of up to 40,000 people, so she encouraged the general public to arrive early.
“The best piece of advice is ‘Be patient’ — get here early to try to get a good spot,” she suggested.
Official Bethany Beach 4th of July Parade T-shirts will be on sale from 9 a.m. to noon on the day of the parade, across from the post office). The cost is $15 for adults, $10 for child sizes.
After the parade, the traditional horseshoe-throwing contest will be held at the southwest corner of the Christian Church grounds. Then, at 7:15 p.m., the awards ceremony for parade entries takes place. Prizes will be awarded for “Best in Parade,” “Most Patriotic” and also for both business and family floats. There will also be a 50/50 raffle, followed by live music from the Warrior Spirit Band.
“Warrior Spirit Band is comprised of disabled or combat-wounded veterans who share their musical talents in order to empower other wounded soldiers and support their recovery programs,” said Malewski, noting that the band’s genre is an eclectic one, “missing rock and blues/country to appeal to diverse age groups while crossing social barriers.”
Paul Delacerda, the group’s founder, is a former infantry paratrooper and musician who was injured in an IED blast in Iraq. In May, 2009, he was told his injuries would prevent him from ever playing drums again.
“Paul’s military training to persevere over obstacles is what led him to form the Warrior Spirit Band.”
Bethany Beach Mayor Jack Gordon said, “Our parade traditionally features the 1st State Detachment Marine Corps League and the 287th National Guard Band. Warrior Spirit Band is an ideal addition to a lineup that shows community support for military veterans and their transition to civilian life.”
“We’re really excited about that, because they have a nice story and they’re picking up traction,” Malewski said regarding the band. “They’re launching their tour in Bethany Beach, so that’s exciting for us.”
Following the musical performance is the main event — the Bethany Beach Fourth of July fireworks show, which is set to begin at dusk, with prime viewing on the beach.
For more information on the Fourth of July activities, visit the Town’s website at www.townofbethanybeach.com.