The annual Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral is a time-honored Labor Day tradition, but its significance depends on your point of view.
A tongue-in-cheek “celebration” of the end of summer, it was started by local business owner Moss Wagner as a way for businesspeople to blow off steam at the end of the hectic summer season.
For many spectators, it’s a bittersweet goodbye to summer fun — and the traffic that goes with it. Parents standing along the boardwalk with their kids are most likely thinking about last-minute back-to-school preparations while straining to hear the first somber notes of “Amazing Grace.”
By the time the band swings into “When the Saints Go Marching In,” the party mood has set in and spectators have often joined the throng of mourners making its way to the Bethany Beach bandstand.
This Labor Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, marks the 10th anniversary of the annual yART sale at 33258 Kent Avenue in Bethany Beach. (yART = art in the yard!) There is no “rain date,” so fingers are crossed for fine weather.
The yART sale has become a win-win-win event. Artists win because they are able to display and sell their creations in an intimate and lovely setting, with the only requirement being a donation of one piece of their work.
The community wins by seeing and keeping up with the work of some of the area’s best artists of all media, and potters, jewelers and other artisans. And, most importantly, local non-profit organizations win from being beneficiaries of a “Chinese auction” of the artists’ donations, to the tune of more than $20,000 thus far.
The yART sale takes place in the circular driveway of the home of Julie and Nick Kypreos. The amount of time, effort, planning and generosity they devote to having successful events each year is somehow obscured by the seamless ease, fun and conviviality on the actual days of yART sale. And that includes when a sudden cloudburst erupts and everyone rushes around, focused on protecting theirs and others’ artwork from wind and rain.
“For me, the atmosphere of the event is the best part,’ said Julie Kypreos. “We always have a really great group of artists — some the same and a few different each year — who have forged a unique dynamic amongst themselves and with the public that faithfully returns. Everyone is always excited to see each other’s new pieces and perhaps new directions their art has taken them, and to check out the auction table to see the amazing donations.”
“The second best part is knowing that 100 percent of the money raised is going right back into worthy causes in our local community. I’m really happy that Suzanne Thurman and the MERR Institute is our charity this year.”
The MERR Institute is dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals and sea turtles and their habitat. MERR stands for Marine Education, Research & Rehabilitation. This year marks the 15th anniversary of its inception.
This Saturday kicks off a weeklong grand-opening celebration of the Ellen Rice Gallery’s move to Bethany Beach after “celebrating American creativity every day for 16 years” in Ocean View.
How often do you get to see a state senator jam with his family and friends? Well, this weekend, locals and visitors will be able to enjoy music by the Jamboree Boys, featuring state Sen. Gerald Hocker on bass guitar.
The Bethany Beach area is already at risk of losing the free recycling drop-off at Fresh Pond State Park, due to the tremendous amounts of non-recyclable garbage that is being dumped there.
“We might have to close the facility if we cannot curtail the illegal dumping that has been going on there,” said Mike Parkowski of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA).
But that would suit nearby residents just fine.
Ocean Village is a private neighborhood located across Coastal Highway from Fresh Pond. For them, the “terrible eyesore” of televisions, furniture, construction debris and once, a toilet, is just the beginning.
Ocean Village opposed the recycling center being there even before people started treating the recycling cans as garbage dumpsters, before the lingering food attracted wildlife, which residents said crosses the highway into their neighborhood.
The Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office this week was investigating a fire that occurred in a three-story, wood-framed residence in North Bethany on Aug. 12 and caused heavy damage to that structure and exposure damage to two other residences.
Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Harry R. Miller said the fire was noticed about 11:15 p.m. in the 29000 block of Cove Way in Cotton Patch Hills, by neighbors who made contact with the occupants, and both occupants escaped without any injuries.
Firefighters from the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company arrived on scene to find heavy fire in the garage, extending into the main residence. The BBVFC, assisted by the Millville, Roxanna, Frankford, and Rehoboth Beach fire companies responded on the initial dispatch.
Deputy fire marshals spent most of the day processing the scene, looking for the fire’s origin and cause. The fire’s origin, Miller said, was determined to be located in the area of the garage, while the cause was still under early this week investigation, with no indication of a suspicious fire at this time.
Fire damages were estimated at $750,000. Victims of the fire were being housed by neighbors early this week.
Gov. Jack Markell on Wednesday joined DNREC Secretary David Small, federal highway officials and community leaders and groups, to cut the ribbon officially opening the new Assawoman Canal Trail. The one-mile trail is part of a regional network of trails, sidewalks and pathways for pedestrians and bicyclists, physically linking communities that share a boundary with the trail.
“This trail is only possible because of the hard work and commitment of engaged community members who recognize that this is an opportunity to enhance the quality of life in Sussex County,” said Markell.
“It was residents in Ocean View, Bethany and South Bethany neighborhoods who saw the value of creating a trail along the Assawoman Canal and worked together with the State to turn their vision into a reality. They share our belief that investments in our trails and pathways support our overall health and wellbeing, while helping to grow our economy.”
In the works for seven years, the trail will directly connect the municipalities of Ocean View, Bethany Beach and South Bethany, and the communities of Sea Colony and Bahamas Beach Cottages.
A concept plan, developed with a team of local residents, was released in 2011, after public outreach. Project partners included Ocean View, Bethany Beach and South Bethany, residents in Bahamas Beach Cottages, Sea Colony, Salt Pond and Waterside, and DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation.
Elliot Rhoads is 17, a summer resident of the Bethany Beach area and a singer/songwriter.
Bethany Beach will not hold town council elections in 2015. With three seats up for election this year, only three candidates filed to run: incumbents Joseph Healy and Chuck Peterson, and resident Jerry Morris, who will fill the seat held by Jerry Dorfman. The seats have two-year terms.
Morris has served on the Town’s Non-Residential Design Review Committee since October of 2014, as the liaison from the Planning Commission.
The Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce and presenting sponsor ResortQuest Sales/Rentals announced this week that the 37th Annual Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival will be held on Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Held in downtown Bethany Beach, the annual event brings in more than 100 artists to showcase and sell their work with the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and Bethany Beach. The artists featured bring creations representing a variety of different media, including paintings, photography, woodwork, metalwork, clay, baskets, jewelry and porcelain.
On Monday, July 27, the Town of Bethany Beach will celebrate Périers Day, marking the twinning of the towns of Bethany Beach, Del., and Periers, France.
You never know what you’re going to stumble upon at Dana’s Pantry. But to Dana Banks, who also owns The Parkway restaurant right down the block, that’s kind of the point.
Annual tour featuring 10 local homes July 22-23
A number of sightings near ocean beaches over the holiday weekend and the subsequent washing ashore of several Portuguese man o’ war this week prompted DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation Natural Resources Police to issue a caution statement urging people to avoid the stinging jellyfish relatives that are rare tropical visitors to the Delaware coast.
To commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Americans gather together each year to celebrate the country’s independence from Great Britain with family and friends.
In the local community, there is no shortage of celebration — from family barbecues and picnics on the beach, to parades and fireworks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
South Bethany to hold holiday weekend fun
South Bethany is heating up for the holiday weekend, from a boat parade to movie night.
Pedestrian Safety Day comes to South Bethany on Friday, July 3, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The Delaware Office of Highway Safety will distribute safety information and demonstrate best practices, to encourage bicycles, motorists and pedestrians to share the street, on the corner of Henlopen Drive and Route 1.
A few careless people could ruin things for everyone, as the recycling drop-off at Fresh Pond could close entirely if people continue dumping garbage there.
The Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) maintains 61 recycling drop-off centers in Delaware, but staff have had their fill of picking up mattresses, bicycles, patio furniture and other junk from the Bethany Beach site.
You’ve picked up your fresh popcorn. You’ve ordered your boardwalk french fries and you’ve even washed them down with a few of your favorite local cocktails. But, according the owners of the new Jetty Deli & Coffee Shop, you’ve still got one more thing to mark off on your culinary checklist before leaving the Bethany Beach boardwalk.
“We want to be the sandwich experience here in town — it’s for the professional sandwich-eater,” said Jetty head chef and co-owner Robbie Bedell. “We want the people from out of town to get the local experience.”
A Sussex County native and chef in the area for 22 years, Bedell teamed up with Ba Roos Ice Cream business partner Matt Merrick, Bethany Beach Books’ owner Jackie Inman Burns and lifelong friend Matt Burns to do just that — opening the doors to the team’s new venture earlier this month.
The Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral has chosen the American Red Cross of Delmarva as the beneficiary of funds to be raised at its Sept. 4 Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral Silent Auction.
Ocean View resident Kathy Vengazo recently spoke before the Sussex County Council on behalf of the Allied Communities to Improve our Neighborhoods (ACTION) to voice their upset at the council regarding the council’s decision to not appeal the Superior Court ruling in the case of AT&T v. Sussex County Board of Adjustment.
The sun was out, the live music was playing, and all hands were on deck when one of the area’s most unique venues held its official grand opening near Bethany Beach last Thursday.
“We wanted to build something that we thought would fit into the community, something that really matches the nature of this area,” said Brent Poffenberger, co-owner of Bethany’s newest watering hole, Bethany Boathouse.
The latest venture from Poffenberger and Tom Neville — who also own the Cottage Café, located across from Boathouse on the west side of Route 1 — the family-friendly restaurant and bar was designed to resemble a historic lifesaving station, and features both an indoor bar and the outdoor Gazebo Bar, in addition to both outdoor and indoor seating.
“People have been looking for something like this in the area, waiting for it,” said Boathouse General Manger Rich Beaney. “This is gonna be a destination.”
The Firecracker 5K has enjoyed steady success since it launched seven years ago, and this Sunday the 5K run and 3K walk looks to be just as popular as ever.
“It was started to celebrate the great Fourth of July traditions in Bethany Beach,” explained race director Greg Mavraganis. “Now in year seven, I think it’s one of Bethany’s signature events.”
Starting out with 200 participants, the race grew to encompass 425 registered runners last summer, and Mavraganis said that they’re hoping to see an even larger turnout this Sunday, with the possibility of upwards of 500 racers.
“We’ve enjoyed steady growth in participation during our first six years,” he said. “Our goal is to host an event that’s enjoyable for people of all ages.”
Former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader Molly Shattuck, 48, pled guilty to one count of Rape in the Fourth Degree earlier this week.
The plea took place in Sussex County Superior Court on Tuesday, June 16, before Judge E. Scott Bradley. During the “plea by appointment,” Bradley asked Shattuck a number of questions.
Shattuck acknowledged that by pleading guilty she understood she was waiving her rights to a trial, which had been scheduled to begin June 22.
“Did you commit the offense you are pleading guilty to?” asked Bradley of Shattuck.
“Yes,” she replied.
Rape in the Fourth Degree is a Class C felony, and Shattuck faces a maximum of 15 years in prison. One of Shattuck’s attorneys, Eugene Maurer, stated in court that she has no prior convictions. She will be registered as a Tier II “moderate-risk” sex offender. She is to not have contact with any minors, with the exception of her three children.
In November 2014, a Grand Jury charged Shattuck with two counts of Rape in the Third Degree for performing oral sex on a minor who was 15 years old at the time. She was also charged with four counts of Unlawful Sexual Contact in the Second Degree, and three counts of Providing Alcoholic Liquor to a Minor. At that time, she pled not guilty and was released on $84,000 bond.
The Friends of the South Coastal Library (FOSCL) will be hosting their semi-annual book sale in August to support programming at the South Coastal Library. The sale features all types of books — from children to teens, non-fiction, fiction, cooking, gardening and more.
The DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police mid-week were investigating the apparent drowning Tuesday afternoon of an 86-year-old Rehoboth Beach man who reportedly fell overboard while working on his docked boat at the South Shore Marina on the Indian River.
The South Coastal Library is inviting community members to “Escape the Ordinary” this summer, with a wide array of summer programming that offers everyone in the family something fun to do at their local library.
It was a day more than a decade in the making, as Bethany Beach town council members were joined by state and federal officials last Friday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony that officially opened the Town’s long-planned and, now, completed Streetscape project.
The redesign of a little more than two blocks that make up the town’s primary commercial district included the removal of overhead utility lines and the related poles; new lighting; reorganization of streetside parking, swapping angled parking to the exteriors of the street and parallel parking to the median; redefined bicycle lanes; wider sidewalks, free of the obstruction of utility poles; Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant curbs and crosswalks featuring inlaid brick; and changes aimed at calming traffic in an area with some of the heaviest pedestrian traffic in the state.
The idea behind Streetscape arose in 2001, with the Town’s beautification subcommittee. Numerous design ideas were floated over the years, with a mixed response from the council and the public. After considering public input on a series of initial designs, the committee did come up with a set of goals for the project:
A new project along Bethany Beach Loop Canal could see the marsh there slowly restoring itself.
The Delaware Center for Inland Bays has brought the Living Shorelines program to a small chunk of wetlands near the canal, just north of Route 26. By installing pine logs in the shallow water, the CIB hopes to preserve and even rebuild the marsh, naturally.
The goal is to avoid “hardening” shorelines with bulkheads, riprap and seawalls, all of which diminish wildlife, said Sally Boswell, CIB education and outreach coordinator.
In the shallow water, 10- to 20-foot logs were staked in the Salt Pond shallows in a herringbone pattern. It creates a breakwater, so the water is calmer behind the logs on a tiny strip of land that delineates the canal and protects the mainland.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7234 will host a Memorial Day service at the Bethany Beach bandstand on Monday, May 25. The free service begins at 11 a.m., and the entire community is being invited to attend.
Plenty has happened around the community over the off-season. In case you’ve been out of town, or have just been too busy to stay on top of things, here are some of the items that could most affect your summer season.
Bethany’s two homegrown farmers’ markets are set to reopen in June, sharing many of the same growers in a producers-only showcase of local fruits, vegetables and flowers.