For nearly two decades, the Beach & Bay Cottage Tour has been benefitting the Friends of the South Coastal Library (FOSCL), which has, in turn, served as a crucial element of the library’s tremendous expansion and recent reopening. The South Coastal Library and Joshua M. Freeman Cultural Center celebrated its grand reopening this past May, thanks to community funded events and a capital campaign headed by FOSCL.
And this week, from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, July 22 and 23, tourgoers will be able to experience some of the area’s most exquisite homes in the 18th Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour. A total of 10 homes in the South Coastal region, encompassing Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island and Ocean View, will be featured, some brand new and some long-time staples in the area. Tourgoers will have the option of visiting all 10 homes in one day or viewing them over the two-day tour.
“People are going to be pleased with the tour this year,” said FOSCL board member Joan Gordon. “We really have an interesting variety and some spectacular homes. One is 100 years old, and others are brand new. We even have one of Delaware’s first certified ‘green’ houses in the tour.”
Since 2000, the tour has sold out, and tickets are once again limited, so would-be tourgoers are being encouraged to make their ticket reservations early. Tickets are available for $30 at the South Coastal Library during regular hours this week. They can also be picked up, starting July 16, at Perfect Furnishings, Japanesque, Rose Garden and Sea Needles.
The Cottage Tour will once again host raffles to enhance the fundraising. The winners of the popular Dinner for Two Raffle will dine in style at local establishments, including The Bistro at Kool Bean Cafe, DiFebo’s Bistro at Bear Trap Dunes, DiFebo’s Restaurant in Bethany, Isbella’s Pizza Bistro & Vino, Magnolia’s Seafood Bar & Grill, Oak Arbor Inn, The Parkway Restaurant or Sedona.
The Art Raffle will once again feature well-known local talent from artists including Tara Funk Grimm, Aubre Duncan, Laura Hickman, Cheryl Wisbrook and Tinsel Hughes. Tickets for both raffles cost $1 each or $5 for six, and will be available at the library and at selected homes on the days of the tour. The drawings will be held at the library at 5:30 p.m. on July 23. Winners do not need to be present.
Recently, FOSCL reached its three-year goal of raising $2.25 million for the new library’s capital campaign, $500,000 of which was jump-started by past tours and other events hosted by the Friends. The Carl M. Freeman Foundation also contributed a large portion of the campaign’s final total, giving $250,000 toward the new library. In recognition of the contribution, the library’s multi-purpose room was named in Joshua M. Freeman’s honor.
The Cottage Tour continues as the primary fundraiser for FOSCL. The Harvest Ball event drew to a close last year with the end of the capital campaign.
“We will continue to have book sales in August and send out appeals in the mail,” said Gordon, “but this is our big money-maker.” Funds are still needed to cover additional expenses, including an AP system for the library, a stage and landscaping. “The new library and cultural center are beautiful and wonderful,” Gordon noted, “but there’s a lot we still need to take care of.”
State and county governments have both cut back on funding for libraries, requiring events such as the Beach & Bay Cottage Tour to cover further finances.
“It’s our major source of revenue,” Gordon said of the tour, “and it’s always a big hit.”
For more information about the Beach & Bay Cottage Tour, visit www.foscl.com online.