The flames at the 3rd Annual Fenwick Island Town Bonfire were hot enough to scorch the hair off the arms of those toasting marshmallows.
And the event itself proved to be the hot ticket in the town Saturday, July 2, with several hundred people heading to the beach at James and King streets for fun on the Fourth of July weekend.
Under the guidance of Beach Patrol Committee Member JoEllen Cain and members of the Fenwick Island Beach Patrol, games targeted at the youngest among the bonfire attendees kicked off around 7:30 p.m.
They featured not only games with patriotic themes but others culled from classic relays and the town’s new junior-lifeguard program. Teams of children worked together to build giant American flags on the sand, while others competed to see which team could fill a bucket with water the fastest — using only a large sponge.
Each child attending was offered a holiday-themed toy, from tiny bucket-and-shovel sets in patriotic designs to small pinwheels featuring stars and stripes. That was, until the capacity crowd of all ages exhausted the supply.
Similar was the fate of some 300 glowing necklaces, which were quickly snatched up for accessorizing, games and giggles, though a strict limit of one per customer was kept by Town Council Member Vicki Carmean.
The glow-stick count was the closest organizers got to an on-site headcount for attendance at the event — the first of its kind to be offered free of charge and without a ticket. (Previous events were designed as fundraisers for the beach patrol.)
Judging by that number, attendance easily topped 300 and likely reached nearer to 500 bonfire-goers.
Mayor Peter Frederick noted that the fire itself had been fine-tuned for higher visibility for all those on the beach Saturday, and sparks reached into the night even as the smallest of those at the bonfire headed for their beds.
Sticks long enough to toast a marshmallow — and not the toaster — were in short supply, with smaller sticks Gerryrigged in some cases to yield a satisfactory result. Fenwick Island Town Council Member Theo Brans pitched in to help with marshmallow scorching duties for those reluctant to brave the heat.
But spirits were as high as the temperature near the bonfire, with chairs ringing the flames for cozy conversation and both children and adults taking the opportunity of perfect, clear summer weather to extend their beachside fun well into the deep dark of night.