Bethany Independence Day parade celebrating 35th year

The Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade is reaching a milestone in 2019. Scheduled for Thursday, July 4, the parade will celebrate its 35-year anniversary with its traditional 2-mile route beginning at noon through downtown Bethany.

Anyone wishing to enter a float can get creative with the theme by noting a 35-year milestone in their life, whether it is a 35th birthday, anniversary or even 35 years they’ve been coming to Bethany. The parade committee is encouraging businesses, community organizations and families to get in on the fun by entering and competing for a variety of prizes.

“Recognizing that this is a busy time for merchants, combining to form a joint float with another business will save time and manpower,” representatives advised.

Guidelines can be found on the Town’s site under Activities, Fourth of July. There is no pre-registration. Floats are entered the day of the parade from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the registration desks located at Route 1 and Central Avenue. Bikers may pick up their decorating kits at the table located on the Christian Church grounds. (Bike decorating kits will be distributed while supplies last. Bikers and walkers will not be judged.)

In addition to the floats, bikes and a procession of VIPs, there will be a combination of marching bands and bands on trucks that have become an annual tradition. The bands include: 287th Army National Guard Band, 1st Delaware Regiment Fife & Drum Band, 1st State Detachment Marine Corp League, Back Bay Strummers, Delmar District Pipe Band, Downtown Dixieland Band, German Oompah Band on horse-drawn wagon, Honeycombs, Nautical Sounds, Oxford Brass and Tidewater Brass.

A new addition to the parade will be the Pirates Plunder Entertainment Group, which organizers said was a huge success at the Bethany Beach Poseidon Festival.

Former Sussex County Councilman and Bethany business owner George Cole will be the grand marshal.

“This parade would not be possible without the support of our community volunteers. The committee especially needs marshals,” organizers noted.

Marshals prevent gaps in the parade and ensure it runs smoothly. Marshals will help with traffic control and keep the crowd off the parade route, so they do not interfere with the participants. They also help to protect children and bystanders by making sure there is no throwing of candy or other objects from the floats or vehicles. (Handing those out is fine.) To volunteer, contact Bruce Frye at (302) 537-5072.

The award ceremony will take place on the bandstand at 7:15 p.m. Judging will take place before the parade begins. Jimi Smooth & the Hit Time Review will provide the evening entertainment. They perform at 7:30 p.m., before the fireworks.

The official Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade T-shirts are on sale now from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the bandstand concerts leading up to July 4. Other selling dates are from 9 a.m. to noon on the day of the parade. The cost is still $10 for youth and $15 for adult short-sleeved shirts.

“The theme is unmistakable on the shirt, with a big ‘35’ on the back, like a team jersey,” organizers noted. “New this year is the striking ‘Bethany Blue’ color. The adult long-sleeved shirt is back, too, which is selling quickly and available in limited supply for $25.”

Since the success of the parade depends heavily on the availability of police, EMTs and bands, there is no rain date, organizers noted. For updates, visit the Town’s website at under Activities, Fourth of July.