There is a song called “I Love a Parade” written for a 1932 short movie by the same name. Central Sussex County is chock full of parades during the Holidays. Three of the bigger ones take place back-to-back in Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Milton All are organized by each town’s local fire department.
Lewes kicks off the rotation on Saturday, December 2 from 5 pm to 7 pm. The theme for the 91st Annual Lewes Christmas Parade is “Celebrating an old fashion Christmas in Lewes. Prizes will be awarded in various categories including one that was introduced four years ago recognizing entrants that add an exceptional sound component to their entry. The other prize categories are: Marching Group, Band, Clown, Equestrian, Decorated Classic Car (vintage 1967 or older), Decorated Vehicle (after 1967 or more recent), Fire Company, Commercial Float, Community Organization Float and Youth Organization Float.
The Honorary Grand Marshall is Wally Evans who soon start his 50th year with the Lewes Volunteer Fire Department. During his tenure fire calls have gone from 125 to more than 900 annually, and ambulance calls have gone from 300 to more than 5,000. Evans has served in many capacities with the department as fire chief, chief engineer, deputy fire chief and assistant chief. Evans has dedicated his life to fire service because, as he says, “I enjoy helping people.”
The Rehoboth Beach “Hometown Christmas Parade” takes place on Monday, December 4 starting at 6 pm. It is organized by the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company. The radio station The Bridge is actively involved adding a plethora of music to the event.
State Representative Pete Schwartzkopf serves as Grand Marshall. Unlike Lewes the Rehoboth parade organizers do not judge entries or give prizes
Parade participants and attendees are invited to the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Station Museum after the Parade for “Santa’s Christmas Party” for refreshments, and where children can visit Santa and Mrs. Claus and receive a small gift. Additionally, the RB Fire Company will serve hot chocolate and cookies throughout the parade and during Santa’s visit to the station, post parade.
Milton’s parade marches right through the heart of town on Union Street, then turns right on Federal before ending up in front of the Milton Elementary School. The Milton Theater is inviting revelers to “bring a chair” and gather at the Quayside space next to the theater to watch the festivities. Milton is a charming tightly packed town where it is easy to go for an early dinner and then watch the parade.
Floats, marching bands, and community groups make up the bulk of the parade that starts at 6 pm on December 9. The Quayside opens at 5 pm.
And if all that isn’t enough Holiday merriment, then put 5 pm to 8 pm, November 30 on your docket for the Lewes Merchants Hospitality Night smack in the middle of the Historic Commercial District. Second Street is closed to vehicular traffic so partyers can stroll down the street sampling refreshments provided by some restaurants, carolers and musicians from Cape Henlopen High School or browse through the various shops all of which will be open for business. And the evening wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Santa’s house located in the middle of the “block party”.
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 Ophrah 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.