This weekend, as the nation celebrates its independence, local towns aren’t holding back. There are a multitude of events and activities to attend and in which the public can participate, in honor of the July 4 holiday.
Bethany Beach will be putting on the 25th celebration of its annual Fourth of July parade, incorporating local businesses, families and community groups from inside the town and its surrounding areas. With the holiday falling on a Saturday this year, the parade will kick off in downtown Bethany Beach at noon on Friday, July 3.
The Bethany Beach July 4th Parade Committee is a volunteer group that receives support and logistical help from organizations and individuals within the community to organize the parade each year. The Town of Bethany Beach does not provide financial assistance to the committee, but the Bethany Beach volunteer fire company, the town’s public works staff and its police department donate time to help with the event.
This year, the parade will honor the history of the event, paying homage to the first Bethany Beach July 4th Parade. The committee is again selling T-shirts sporting this year’s theme. T-shirt sales, which benefit the committee and the parade, are available during business hours at Bethany Trading Co., Pitter-Patter and DiFebo’s restaurant, and at the Bethany Beach Bandstand during performance evenings, for $13 for adults and $10 for kids.
This year, five busloads of bands will roll into Bethany Beach for the parade. The marching band lineup includes the 287th Nation Guard Army Band, The Trilby String Band (a Mummers band from Philadelphia), The Tidewater Brass Band, the Caesar Rodney Brass Band, the Smyrna Volunteer Fireman’s Band and a bagpipe band.
Entertainers will also be riding along on floats and flatbeds, bringing their musical entertainment. Those acts include Al Santoro & the Hi-Liters, Back Bay Strummers, the Delaware State Police Academy, Southern Delaware School of the Arts’ Steel the Show band, the Milford Community Band, the Nautical Sounds, the Philadelphia German Brass Band, German Ump-Pa-Pa Band and the Paddlewheel Strutters.
Though the weather in the area may have finally warmed up, those planning on taking the edge off the heat by firing up the squirt guns or stocking up on water balloons to hurl during the parade are being reminded that neither is allowed, due to safety concerns. Early arrival to get prime parking – and viewing – locations is being advised, along with plenty of sunscreen and cool drinks. The forecast for Friday calls for highs in the mid-80s and mostly sunny skies, with only a 10 percent chance of precipitation.
The 21st Annual Horseshoe Contest, held each year in conjunction with the parade, will be held on the Christian Church grounds in downtown Bethany at the conclusion of the parade, at roughly 2 p.m. Awards will be presented for parade winners at the bandstand on Friday at 7:15 p.m., prior to a 7:30 p.m. performance by the Philadelphia Brass Band.
Though the parade will be held on July 3 this year, the town’s annual fireworks display will be held at dusk on Saturday, July 4. With the town’s once-again-expanded beach in solid shape, the pyrotechnic display will be shot from the beach. In case of inclement weather, it may be rescheduled. The forecast for Saturday, though, calls for no precipitation, partly sunny skies and highs in the low to mid-80s.
Bear Trap, Fenwick, Rehoboth and O.C. plan their own celebrations
The public is also being invited to celebrate Independence Day at the Bear Trap Dunes 4th of July Parade on Saturday morning, July 4. Those wishing to participate can sign up at the Bear Trap Pavilion by Thursday, July 2, if they would like to represent their street on bike or on foot as a walker.
The parade will start at 9 a.m. on the morning of July 4 and will be held entirely on the streets inside the Village of Bear Trap Dunes. It will start at the Village Pavilion, continue down October Glory, turn left onto Sycamore, make a left onto Willow Oak and then go back to the Pavilion.
The entrance to Bear Trap Dunes at the Pavilion, as well as the streets involved in the parade route, will be closed off to vehicular traffic and parking between 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Fenwick Island will hold its regularly scheduled monthly “Reading in the Park” on Saturday, July 4, at 10 a.m. at the gazebo at the town park. The public is invited each month to bring young ones and friends to the free event.
Then, on Sunday, July 5, Fenwick Island will put on its annual bonfire on the beach, at Dagsboro Street, from 6:30 until 10:30 p.m. The public is again being invited to bring their own refreshments and chairs to enjoy an evening on the beach, with music, games and the big bonfire. (Those hoping to roast their own marshmallows and hotdogs should also come prepared with some really long roasting utensils for facing the intense heat of the bonfire.)
Rehoboth Beach will aim to bring down the house with musical entertainment before and after their fireworks display on Saturday, July 4. The United States Navy band Country Current will start the night off at 8 p.m. at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand, offering country-bluegrass favorites in a seven-member group that was first formed back in 1973.
The Rehoboth Fireworks Show, which will begin about 9:15 p.m., will be visible from up and down the boardwalk. Classic rockers The Funsters will wrap up the evening with a show on the bandstand starting at 9:30 p.m.
Those heading into Ocean City, Md., on Saturday evening can celebrate America’s birthday at two locations. Rick K and the All-Nighters will put will be putting on a concert on the beach at North Division Street, while Dr. K’s Motown Review will be belting out tunes at Northside Park, at 127th Street and the bay. Both shows start at 8 p.m. and will be followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m. The Ocean City events are free to the public.
Check with the town halls of each local town for additional information concerning their Fourth of July schedules and celebrations, and pick up the July 10 issue of the Coastal Point for photos from many of these events.