Fenwick preparing for annual bonfire event

Only weeks after Selbyville hosted its 51st annual Old Timer’s Day, another traditional local event is nearing. Compared to Old Timer’s Day, though, the Fenwick Island bonfire is still in its blooming stages it but has hit a milestone with the fifth annual event, scheduled for 7 p.m. next Saturday.

Coastal Point • FILE PHOTO: The annual Fenwick Island bonfire has become a popular event in just a few years.Coastal Point • FILE PHOTO
The annual Fenwick Island bonfire has become a popular event in just a few years.

From 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on July 7, officials expect hundreds to flock to the beach between Dagsboro and Bayard Streets to take part in games, listen to a DJ, sit on the beach and gaze into the fire. Organizers Rebecca McWilliams, chairwoman of the town’s beach committee, and Tim Ferry, Fenwick beach patrol captain, said that between 400 and 500 people attended last year’s fourth annual bonfire.

“Every year, it gets bigger and bigger,” said McWilliams, the first-year chairwoman of the committee that has organized the bonfire in each of its five years of existence. “Basically, it’s just a fun, free night on the Town of Fenwick Island.”

The night will be filled with line dances, games that will include relay races in the sand, a fire that will light up the otherwise dark night and music courtesy of DJ Chuck.

McWilliams said those in attendance will help build an American flag by holding up the various pieces of the flag: strips of red, white and blue paper, and laminated stars committee members made before the first annual event in 2003. DJ Chuck will lead partiers in line dances that will include the “Electric Slide” and other games will include water games and sack races. Glow-sticks will also be available for free.

Prospective bonfire-goers are encouraged to bring their own food and beverages, as well as chairs and blankets. Those planning to roast marshmallows or hotdogs over the bonfire should plan on bringing lengthy cooking implements to avoid singed fingers and eyebrows from the massive fire pit.

“We encourage everyone to come out,” Ferry said Tuesday. “We had great crowds the last two years. People roast marshmallows. It’s a very family-oriented type of gathering.”

T-shirts will also be on sale for $15 next Saturday, and the proceeds from their sale will benefit Ferry’s competition lifeguard team. They will use the money to help offset travel costs to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to participate in the national championships and defend a crown won at last year’s, Huntington Beach, Calif., championships.

Fenwick Island lifeguards participating in the 4-by-100 soft-sand sprint competition brought the championship back to Fenwick last year and hope to do so again in 2007. Ferry, himself a sprinter who still competes, is a seven-time national champion who also placed twice in the world championships.

“I love it,” said Ferry, who served as Bethany’s beach patrol captain for 13 years before taking the top position in Fenwick five years ago. “It’s the fun aspect of lifeguarding. This is our first fundraiser of the year to help offset some of the costs for our team to travel.”