Festivals, Markets, and Fun for the Season in Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Dewey
Who doesn’t like holiday parades, fairs, historic home tours or tree lightings? Tis the season to be jolly afterall! The “nice list” of options in our coastal communities is so long you’ll need Santa’s sleigh to get to them all. Some start as early as Black Friday weekend or before (but more on that later). So come one, come all for a season full of fa-la-la-la-laughter and mountains of festive fun!
Lewes’ festivities stretch over three days starting December 1 with the annual Lewes Merchants Hospitality Night (5 – 8 pm.) The town’s commercial hub, Second Street, is closed to traffic and becomes a pedestrian mall filled with music, bustling shops with holiday sales and samples of free food and beverages from local restaurants.
It’s also Hospitality Night at the nearby Zwaanendael Museum. The museum will host activities that include historical interpretations, demonstrations, music, and seasonal refreshments during the same hours.
Since December 2 is the month’s First Friday, when the Sussex Tavern is typically open, the Lewes Historical Society is hosting an outdoor event at the Tavern with music from 4-6 p.m. The next day, on December 3, the Society hosts, on its campus, the Holiday Village and Market featuring arts and crafts from local venders, music, refreshments at the tavern and horse and buggy rides around the Lewes Historic District. There is a $5 fee for adults and children 12 and under are free. The event runs from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. There is a separate charge for the buggy rides.
The Annual Tour of Lewes also takes place on December 3. The event was interrupted by Covid, but, this year, homeowners will be welcoming visitors for house tours throughout the community. There is a $25 charge for the event.
The Lewes Chamber of Commerce website lists these and other community events happening that day including the Rehoboth Art League’s annual Open House (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and the Cape Artists Gallery Open House (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Save some energy for the Lewes Christmas Parade (5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.) This year’s theme is “Celebrating an Old Fashion Christmas in Lewes”. It slinks down Savannah Ave and along 2nd Street. After the parade, the mayor of Lewes lights up the town’s Christmas tree in Zwaanendael Park, followed by candlelight caroling. All are invited.
If that schedule is too much for one day, but you need a parade or tree lighting fix, there are a couple of options. The Rehoboth Beach Parade is Monday, December 5 (6 – 8 p.m.) Rehoboth’s tree lighting is a big deal but it happens the day after Thanksgiving on November 25 starting at 6:30. Clear Space Theater performers, dressed in period outfits, lead attendees in a carol medley before the official tree lighting. This year’s tree It’s 20-year-old green giant arborvitae. It is being donated by Dean and Debbie Smith who live off Plantation Road in Lewes.
Santa’s House opens on November 25 with hours from 4 – 6:30 p.m. Located on the boardwalk at the end of Rehoboth Ave, Santa’s House continues after that with regular hours on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 – 3p.m.
Dewey doesn’t host a parade, but its tree lighting is the next day, on November 26, at Fifer’s deli/store on Coastal Highway. Dewey restaurants team up to provide free refreshments, Santa arrives on a fire truck and bon fires in Fifer’s parking lot help keep revelers warm while they listed to live music.
A completely different holiday event brings us full circle. The Rehoboth Concert Band presents its annual Holiday Peace Concert December 18 at Epworth Church on Holland Glade Road. The concert starts at 3 p.m. and tickets are $20. There is no cost for those 18 and under.
Click HERE for previously published options including Milton’s Holly Festival and Historic Home Tour
By Mary Jo Tarallo, Guest Journalist
Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry as a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Oprah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland and Towson University, lived in Washington, DC for 21 years and has been a full time resident of Rehoboth Beach and Milton since May 2019.