Fenwick families celebrate Independence Day with neighborhood parade

Coastal Point • File Photo: The unofficial Fenwick Island Fourth of July Parade, as brought to you by the residents of W. Virginia Avenue, back in 2010.­Coastal Point • File Photo: The unofficial Fenwick Island Fourth of July Parade, as brought to you by the residents of W. Virginia Avenue, back in 2010.­Some Fenwick Island visitors may be surprised to learn that Fenwick Island has had its own little Fourth of July parade for nearly 20 years, wrapping up each year just in time for the fireworks.

In 1996, Marge and Jack Hayman started a little street parade for their family to celebrate Independence Day.

“[Marge] said, when they were kids her mother always insisted, on the Fourth of July, that the kids put red, white and blue on and go down the street,” recalled Barbara Beam, whose family has been participating in the parade for all but two of those years. “Marge said to me, ‘My parents said, “It’s the Fourth of July. We’re going to celebrate.”’ It was just a tradition that started with her parents.’

“The first year it was very small — just she and her husband. We ourselves didn’t participate the two years because we always had a big family picnic out in the country. After that, I said to my kids, ‘We’re going to participate. We’re here. It’s our neighbors. We can have our picnic another time.’ We have been part of it ever since.”

On July 4, residents from Oyster Bay Drive will have a small potluck block party in the early afternoon, and then all get together and begin the small parade from intersection of Coastal Highway and Oyster Bay Drive, down Oyster Bay, make a loop, go back to the highway and then down South Carolina Street.

Beam said the parade can start anywhere between 6 or 7 p.m., depending on when the potluck is over, but they welcome area visitors to view their patriotic promenade.

Beam said her family, along with the Hayman family, the Garriott family and a few other families, will be participating in the parade.

“It’s very minimal, but that’s the way it is,” she said. “We put a trailer and make a little float. Our neighbor down the street, he would have a golf cart and decorate it and pull something behind it.”

In past years, Beam said, the parades would feature live music, and sometimes they still do, depending on who’s in town to celebrate the holiday.

“Sometimes we have one of my grandchildren on a float playing a keyboard. It depends on who jumps in and what happens.”

Beam said she helps out with the potluck, but her husband, Harold, helps put together a float for their family, which includes 10 grandchildren.

“It’s a family affair,” she said. “It’s a family thing for them and us.”

Beam, whose family has had a house on Oyster Bay Drive since 1952, said the parade has become a multigenerational event, with some residents’ great-grandchildren participating.

“They enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun,” she said.