Many people may know her as the “Bandstand Lady,” but Gloria Farrar is much, much more than that. And after more than a dozen years with the Town of Bethany Beach as its entertainment director, she said she has decided to pass the baton on to someone else.
“It’s been great and I’ve done it for 13 summers,” said Farrar. “It’s time to let someone else share in in all the fun and add to it and make it their own.”
Farrar first joined the Town staff in October of 2000, after attending a meeting at which the council had announced they were looking for someone to helm the bandstand entertainment.
“It was on a Friday night when we had nothing to do. Mike said, ‘Let’s go to the town council meeting,’” she recalled of her husband, Mike Farrar. “At that meeting, they announced they were looking for a part-time entertainment director, and Mike kind of poked me in the side and said, ‘That’s for you.’ He can be very persuasive,” she said with a laugh. “I think by the next day I had my résumé together.”
Farrar, who was trained as a schoolteacher, had also previously worked in real estate and directed a training department for a bank in Indiana, Pa. For her job with the Town, she took a computer class at DelTech and was mentored by Ruth Hayes.
“I knew nothing about anything. She and her husband started up the bandstand program in Rehoboth,” said Farrar of Hayes. “Then they started Bethany, way back when, in the early years. She gave me her roster and helped me get a start. She was a very solicitous, lovely lady, and she loved her performers.”
Farrar’s duties continued to grow during her tenure, as she staffed the Fourth of July Parade and was the staff liaison for the town’s Cultural & Historical Affairs Committee.
“We started having cultural evenings. We did historical markers and the heritage trail,” she said. “My initial responsibility was to be the entertainment director and do the bandstand shows.
“Then the duties began to expand. There is an annual calendar of events that I put out that the townsfolk get. It not only has all of the bandstand shows on it, but it has council meetings, other things of interest, like water bills and tax bills.”
Bethany Beach Mayor Tony McClenny said that everyone will truly miss Farrar and what she brought to the town.
“Gloria has held this job for many years, and if you go to the bandstand you expect to see Gloria’s smiling face at the microphone, talking to you. People expect Gloria welcoming them to Bethany Beach and to the bandstand… We are all going to miss that,” he said.
“She’s also been a big help to a number of our committees throughout the years, providing background assistance that people probably never knew about,” he noted. “I’m very pleased that she was here as long as she was and did as much as she did, but, boy, do we have a spot in our hearts for her… We’re going to miss her.”
The best part of the job for Farrar, she said, was not the music or pomp and circumstance, but the people she has met over the years.
“The best part of my job was coming in contact with so many people. It’s great,” said Farrar. “A lot of people say it’s a thankless job, but I have had so many people come up — if I’m shopping at Hocker’s or wherever I may be — and they say, ‘Thank you! Thank you!’ One time we were at the Smithsonian up in D.C. and somebody said, ‘Oh, it’s the Bandstand Lady!’ It’s lovely. It’s endearing. It’s really sweet.”
Farrar said she doesn’t have any official plans for her retirement but will continue to enjoy the bandstand and the town.
“And, hopefully, improve my golf game, or if not, play more golf and travel. We love to travel.”
Farrar gave a shout-out to the bandstand stage crew: soundman Ray Disney and stagehand George Ely, who “take care of all the details.” She added that the public works department has always helped her execute and carry out events.
“Another thing that’s been great about the job is all the relationships I got to build. It’s just fun working with different aspects of our community and, hopefully, make it better for everybody,” she said. “Everybody helped make it a great fit for me,” she said.
With Farrar’s retirement, the Town of Bethany Beach is expanding the role of the entertainment director to include promotional activities and some Internet-related duties. The new position is full-time.