Bevy of holiday events set for this weekend

The stuffing has been devoured, the pies consumed and the trees, decorations and lights are beginning to emerge, so it must be time for a celebration of the winter holiday season. And celebrate the area will this weekend with events ranging from parties and parades to open houses and musical offerings.

The events will kick off this Friday, Dec. 4, with the 49th Annual Selbyville Christmas Parade, at 7 p.m. in downtown Selbyville. The annual celebration, planned by the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce (BFACC), features marching bands and fire trucks, beauty queens and floats. A special appearance by Santa Claus himself will also add to the night’s festivities.

For those who prefer a quieter time, Fenwick Island will host a Memorial Christmas Tree Lighting at the same time, on Friday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. in the town park, co-sponsored by the Town of Fenwick Island and the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company. The public can honor a loved one with a memorial decorative bulb for the tree. (Contact Town Manager Win Abbott for more information.) Music for the tree-lighting will be provided by the First State Harmonettes Chorus.

The Town of Bethany Beach’s annual Holiday Happening is set for Saturday, Dec. 5, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the town hall, with entertainment for the whole family. Visitors can get in the holiday mood with a musical presentation featuring Lord Baltimore Elementary School’s Holiday Ensemble. More fun can be had with a visit from Sunshine the Clown and her popular balloon art.

Those attending the Holiday Happening can also take a holiday ride on the town trolley, or go for a horse-drawn carriage ride or a tractor-drawn hayride.

The main attraction, Santa, will arrive by 4 p.m. Families can bring their own camera to capture that special visit with Santa. Cookies and hot chocolate will be served. The event is free and the public is welcome.

Then, on Sunday, Dec. 6, the Town of Bethany Beach Annual Adult Get-Together will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall. Those attending can enjoy the 15-foot decorated tree in Town Hall and meet and greet their neighbors. Musician Earl Beardsley will play holiday music for everyone’s enjoyment. Holiday punch and light refreshments will be served. This event is also free, and all adults are welcome.

For those who didn’t get enough parade on Friday, the 27th Annual Ocean City Christmas Parade will march along Coastal Highway on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 11 a.m. The holiday parade starts at 100th Street and marches northbound in the southbound lanes of Coastal Highway to the Gold Coast Mall at 115th Street. More than 80 units will participate, including high school bands, horses, llamas, antique cars and colorful holiday floats.

Seating will be located in the parking lot of the Gold Coast Mall. (Spectators will not be permitted to watch the parade from the median area of Coastal Highway.) The parade is expected to last approximately two hours. Motorists traveling in the area are being reminded that traffic pattern changes will occur starting about 9 a.m.

The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Music Director Julien Benichou, will celebrate the season with classical favorites at the Mid-Atlantic Symphony’s “Holiday Joy” concert on Saturday, Dec. 5, at Mariner’s Bethel Church, Route 26 and Central Avenue, Ocean View, at 7:30 p.m.

Guest Artist Amy Lynn Call, soprano, and Brian Ming Chu, baritone, along with the musicians of the MSO symphony, will perform seasonal favorites from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride,” seasonal carols, such as “Gesu Bambino,” “White Christmas” and “Cantique de Noel,” and more. The concert will end with the symphony and soloists leading the patrons in the traditional holiday sing-along.

Tickets for the concert cost $35 for adults or $10 for students. For tickets and information, call 1-888-846-8600. For more information about the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, visit the Web site at

The Ocean City (Md.) Life-Saving Station Museum will hold a Holiday Open House on Sunday, Dec. 6, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the museum, which is located on the Boardwalk at the Ocean City Inlet.

There will be free admission for everyone and 10 percent off all items in the gift shop. Volunteers and staff members will be available to answer questions about the history of the U.S. Life-Saving Service and the past of Ocean City. As a special gift this year, the first 100 visitors to the museum will receive a small selection of vintage postcards.

Sussex County Council will host the 26th annual Caroling on The Circle, to be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7, in downtown Georgetown.

Each year, the community singing event doubles as a food drive for the hungry and needy of Sussex County, drawing hundreds of residents – along with the support of area schools, businesses and civic organizations – who join to sing Christmas carols and collect canned goods for area pantries, churches and food banks. In 2008, Caroling collected more than 26,000 items for nearly a dozen organizations.

County Administrator David B. Baker said so many people look forward to Caroling on The Circle each year because it literally represents an entire community coming together for one cause.

“We are very thankful for the kind of community support this event brings,” Baker said. “It’s an amazing feeling for all of us to see that outpouring every single year, especially during these tough economic times. The thousands of canned goods we collect each year are a clear sign of how important our citizens believe it is to help their less fortunate neighbors.”

As always, the historic Sussex County Courthouse and picturesque Circle will serve as the stage for an evening of traditional and Spanish carols, as well as a visit from Santa Claus. Local singing artists Ed Shockley and Kevin Short, joined by guitarist Keith Mack, the Sussex Central Middle School choir and the El Centro Cultural group, will perform.

Following the festivities, free cookies and hot chocolate will be available for all to enjoy at the Georgetown Fire Company, one block south of The Circle.

The event is free to attend. Participants are asked simply to bring canned goods and other non-perishable food items for donation. Anyone who cannot attend this year’s Caroling event but who still wishes to contribute can drop off food items from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the County Administrative Offices building, next to the courthouse, in Georgetown.

Caroling on The Circle will be held regardless of weather. In the event of rain or snow, it will be moved inside the fire hall on South Bedford Street. For more information, call (302) 855-7700.

Finally, capping off a full week of holiday cheer, next Friday, Dec. 11, Ocean View’s Carols in the Park will be held at 7 p.m. in John West Park, located at 32 West Avenue. Light refreshments will be served in the town hall after the Caroling, and Santa will visit.