Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral set for Labor Day Monday

Date Published: 
August 29, 2014

Coastal Point • File Photo : Jazz Funeral participants mourn the death of summer in an end-of-summer celebration, held each year on the boardwalk, featuring jazz music and a mock funeral procession. This year will be the 29th year that the boardwalk has hosted this event.Coastal Point • File Photo : Jazz Funeral participants mourn the death of summer in an end-of-summer celebration, held each year on the boardwalk, featuring jazz music and a mock funeral procession. This year will be the 29th year that the boardwalk has hosted this event.For the 29th year, Bethany Beach will mark the unofficial end of the summer season with the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral, this Labor Day Monday, and a silent auction Friday, Aug. 29, to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“For the past 29 summer seasons, the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral has been held to celebrate the season’s end and to help the local residents ease back to the slower pace of off-season living,” said assistant chairperson Carolyn Bacon. “It is one last chance to celebrate the final moments of the summer season with an event that is marked by music, humor and good fellowship.”

Beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Monday at the north end of the Bethany Beach boardwalk, spectators can join in a funeral procession and enjoy the music of three jazz bands as they make their way down the boardwalk to the Bethany Beach bandstand.

“The Jazz Funeral has become a quirky Bethany Beach tradition, and all are welcomed to join in,” Bacon said. “Our goal is for every one of the 2,000 or more people who attend to enjoy themselves and to feel free to celebrate the end of the summer season in their own personal way.”

The silent auction is set to begin at 3 p.m. on Friday, at Bethany Blues restaurant in Bethany Beach, which will begin the charity fundraising for the weekend. At the auction, donated items including home furnishings, jewelry and unique gifts will be up for bids. After the auction, participants are being encouraged to check out local shops.

“Not only will you have an enjoyable weekend, there are shopping opportunities, as many Bethany Beach merchants offer end-of-season and back-to-school discounts,” Bacon said. “You can have a great time and save money, too.”

All the money raised by the silent auction will go to Sussex County Big Brothers Big Sisters. Past proceeds have gone to charities including Sussex County Habitat for Humanity and the American Cancer Society, as well as the American Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina.

Even if the event were to incur some less-than-favorable weather, according to Jazz Funeral Chairman Paul Jankovic, it won’t be canceled.

“We are not able to cancel the Jazz Funeral, so we must go, be it rain or shine,” he said.

Despite the name, which might indicate a somber affair, Bacon highlighted what is sure to be a lively event.

“Some may weep and cry for dearly departed summer. Other dress to the hilt in costumes, like they would if they were attending a New Orleans jazz funeral,” she said. “Everyone smiles and laughs at the tongue-in-cheek humor that pervades the Jazz Funeral, and all are encouraged to sing-along with the bands.”

Anyone who is interested in helping out with the Jazz Funeral or silent auction can call (302) 537-1585 or send an email to jazzfuneral@comcast.net. Visit www.jazzfuneral.net for more general information.