Looking Ahead to a Vibrant Festival Season at the Delaware and Maryland Beaches

We inch closer every week to the warm weather season at the Delaware and Maryland beaches, as well as a much needed and long awaited return to normalcy upon emerging from the year-long coronavirus pandemic.

But we're not there yet, thus we're still in a bit of a lull as it relates to weekend events and happenings here in the coastal region.

That being said, we're going to again look ahead, this time to what we hope will be a vibrant festival season this year at and near the beaches.

The area has become known over the last decade plus for many things and that certainly includes the fantastic festivals that generally dot the calendar every year.

Most weren't held in 2020 because of the pandemic and a couple more were either cancelled or toned down already for 2021.

But with the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel now in regards to coronavirus and the expectation that restrictions will be lifted sooner rather than later, we're going to look ahead at the coming season today and feature a handful of local festivals you just have to attend at least once.

There are some great ones and this is certainly not a comprehensive list by any means. But they are some of our favorites.

Let's take a look! And then get excited for what's to come over the rest of 2021 in Delaware and Maryland's coastal regions.

Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddler's Festival (Rehoboth Beach)

This family-friendly event takes place on the weekend before Halloween and features, as the name implies, plenty of fiddlers and witches and all things spooky.

Featuring games on the beach, a multitude of local vendors, a pet parade, a hunt for the sea witch and highlighted by a spectacular "anyone can join" parade down Rehoboth Avenue complete with oversized helium-filled balloons, this event is organized by the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce.

It's certainly one that is not to be missed, a great family event each fall in the "Nation's Summer Capital."


Return Day (Georgetown)

This is the only event on our list that's not held every year, but is rather a biennial festival held every even numbered year on the Thursday after Election Day.

Unique to Sussex County, this Colonial-themed event features a traditional ox roast on The Circle, an abundance of entertainment on two separate stages, the county's longest parade where winners and losers of local elections traditionally ride together, the reading of the election results by the Town Crier and a ceremonial "burying of the hatchet" where the leaders of all local political parties symbolize that the election is over and it's now time to work together for the betterment of the state.

This is an event that everyone should attend at least once, and one that exemplifies the uniqueness that is the state of Delaware.


Hispanic Festival (Georgetown)

Growing in size every year and now held on Race Street in Georgetown after several years at the Millsboro Little League complex, this event highlights Sussex County's burgeoning Hispanic community and features an abundance of Latin delicacies to sample, as well as day-long entertainment on stage, plenty of local vendors and lots of other surprises.

For a unique taste of the area's Latin culture, this is a great, family-friendly event to check out.


Great Delaware Kite Festival (Lewes)

Held every year on Good Friday, this event at Cape Henlopen State Park is a fun time for the entire family. Join one of the several age-specific competitions, or just bring your kite for a fun day near the Atlantic Ocean.

A highlight of the festival is the demonstration by professional flyers, who do amazing tricks with their kites set to music.

The event is sponsored and organized by the Lewes Chamber of Commerce and has grown in popularity every year.


Apple-Scrapple (Bridgeville)

Where else in the world can you go to watch mayors from neighboring towns compete in a contest involving hurled projectiles of packaged meat products? Probably nowhere else than good old Sussex County.

The Apple Scrapple Festival in Bridgeville has become a big autumn festival in the western reaches of the county, but in recent years visitors from throughout the county, the state and the region have frequented this unique, Sussex County event.

The festival is built around the two products the town is known for – apples from T.S. Smith and scrapple from RAPA Scrapple.

This event has been named one of the top festivals in the country by national publications and is one you should definitely check out.


Nanticoke Indian Powwow (Oak Orchard)

Held every year on the weekend after Labor Day, the Nanticoke Indian Powwow is one of the more popular and widely-attended events in Sussex County.

Though the gatherings date back many decades, the powwow in its current form has become a major festival in southern Delaware since its rebirth in the late 1970s.

Today, thousands of people come from the First State and several neighboring states to enjoy two days of music, dancing, fellowship and culture.

It's also the major fundraiser for the Nanticoke Indian Association ― money raised at the event goes to support the tribe in many ways, including maintenance of their museum. It's a great event and is guaranteed fun for the entire family.


Polar Bear Plunge (Rehoboth Beach)

Now this is a crazy one that you have to see to believe. Every year on the first Sunday in February (also Super Bowl Sunday most years), several hundred people get dressed up in crazy outfits and head to the beach in Rehoboth, where they decide that it's a good day for a swim in the frigid waters and run en masse into Mother Ocean.

The major fundraiser for Special Olympics Delaware, this event draws thousands of people to the beach in the dead of winter and is a sight to behold.


Mid-Atlantic Sea Glass Festival (Lewes)

Featuring nearly 100 sea glass artists, decoy carvers, waterfowl artists and much more, this event that is just a few years old is now drawing thousands of festival goers each June to the Lewes Historical Society complex on Shipcarpenter Street.

You'll find some of the world's most unique pieces of jewelry here and also have a chance to learn all about the unique art of collecting and transforming sea glass into works of art. A fun event for everyone!


Autumn Jazz Festival (Rehoboth Beach)

The Rehoboth Beach Autumn Jazz Festival continues to grow more diversified each year, encompassing traditional and contemporary sounds as well as the heritage side of Jazz music.

Some big names have played in Rehoboth in past years, including the Neville Brothers, Cintron, Al Green and even Queen Latifah, putting the festival on the map and bringing more jazz lovers to the beach each year.

This four-day event is held every year in October and takes place in several venues around the resort.


Whether you're new to the area or a lifelong resident, any and all of the festivals on our list make for a great time here in the coastal region. Pick your favorites and enjoy!

And stay tuned to theoldfathergroup.com for much more on what makes living at the Delaware and Maryland beaches such a unique and fulfilling experience.

Have a great weekend ahead everyone!


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