Fall is festival season in Sussex County with plenty of merriment from which to choose. And, speaking of “which”, there is no bigger celebration than the annual Sea Witch Festival taking place this year October 27 – 29.
Sea Witch is the Rehoboth-Dewey Chamber’s signature event. According to President/CEO Carol Everhart, it takes about 100 volunteers to pull off the weekend with Saturday being the busiest day. “On Parade Day we typically have over 100,000 visitors,” she said. “Last year, there were 40,000 for the Friday events, 100,000 on Saturday, and 60,000 on Sunday for the Dog Parade and Sunday events–a total of 200,000 attending the festival over the three days.”
About 400 costumed people participate in Saturday’s parade with clever renditions of candy corn, jellyfish, the characters from Hocus Pocus and a plethora of pirates. Prizes are awarded in various categories. Everhart says the more complex the costume, the more fun merrymakers have at the event.
Judges are typically our Mayors from both Rehoboth and Dewey, as well as the Director of Southern Delaware Tourism. They have a tough job.
Floats and bands dot the parade as well. This year, performing bands include the Cape Henlopen High School Marching Band, the North Caroline Marching Band of Blue, the Woodland String Band (Mummers), Washington High School Marching Band, Kutztown Area High School Marching Band, and the Sussex Central Golden Knight Marching Band.
Everhart says another big hit is having the Sea Witch balloon blown up in convention hall on Sunday for people to take selfies. This year, the Md. Rough Riders horseshow on the beach is back to perform both Saturday and Sunday. The doggie parade on Sunday is always a treat especially for animal lovers.
The best thing about Rehoboth is the People . Coming from Maryland, its really hard to find closeness there. I know Halloween is not a Holiday, however it should be here. Working with Carol and her team is wonderful. They appreciate everything you do for them as a volunteer and I knew that was where I would spent my retired time as a volunteer. Its the excitement and seeing people(Lots of locals) gathering together. Seawitch is like one big Family. I have volunteered at others places in the area and the Chamber group makes its the BEST event ever for a 3 day pack event and I am proud to be a part of it .Katie Handy, volunteer for the Sea Witch Festival
Already about a dozen fairs, festivals and special events have taken place in Delaware’s coastal towns during September. Aside from Sea Witch many more are planned in October including the True Blue Jazz Festival October 11-15 and the Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival October 12 – 15. (FYI: These are totally separate The Funsters’ Eddie Sherman and Nassau Vineyard’s Peggy Raley organize True Blue.)
Aside from jazz, that’s a busy weekend for Sussex County. Also on the docket is the Milton Art League’s Art Walk on October 14 and Camp Rehoboth’s Block Party on October 15. Both feature artists, music, food and beverages. The week before, on October 7, the Mispillion Art League in Milford is organizing an event called The Big Draw. Art lovers will have an opportunity to appreciate visual arts that are presented and create their own.
Animal lovers have several choices in October. Besides the Sea Witch doggie parade at the end of the month, the Greyhound Reach the Beach event is set for October 5-8 and Bark on the Boards is on October 14.
The Lewes and Rehoboth Merchants’ Sidewalk Sales are both scheduled for October 6 – 8. AND this is only a partial list of activities taking place in October. Keep a look out for more listings to come and enjoy the festivities of fall!
Photos from the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce site
By Mary Jo Tarallo, Resident 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 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.