Fall Festivals at the Beach

From the Bethany Beach Jazz Festival to the Bargains on the Broadkill and everything in between.


Sept. 1
Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral

Dress however you’d like and bid farewell to summer during this quirky tradition held on the boardwalk each Labor Day. This year, the Dixie Cats, the Downtown Dixieland Band and the Jazz Funeral Irregulars will join the procession that will carry summer to its final resting place. A related silent auction fundraiser will be held at 3 p.m. Aug. 29 at Bethany Blues BBQ. www.jazzfuneral.net

Sept. 6
Nanticoke Indian Powwow

Held in Millsboro, the powwow offers a glimpse of our bygone native culture, as well as traditions from tribes across the country. This annual event features singing and dancing by men, women and children of the local Nanticoke tribe, as well as by tribes from other states. Native American artisans display and sell their goods, including pottery, jewelry, moccasins, dream catchers, shawls and paintings. www.nanticokeindians.org

36th annual Bethany Boardwalk Arts Festival
More than 100 fine artists display and sell their works on the edge of the Atlantic. A silent auction will also be held. The festival has been expanded throughout town and will feature a farmers’ market, a wine tasting and a children’s corner. www.thequietresorts.com

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Sept. 18-20
Dewey Beach Music Conference and Festival

The festival features three nights of 150 bands playing at various venues throughout this hoppin’ little town. For musicians, the conference offers the opportunity to further their music careers. For the rest of us, it offers a chance to party on in Dewey. www.deweybeachfest.com

Sept. 26-27
Elvis Festival

More than 20 Elvis tribute artists enter the building and share two stages at the Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach. Thank you, thank … you know the rest. www.deweybeachlife.com



Oct. 4
19th annual Boast the Coast Maritime Festival

Lewes comes alive with the spirit of the coast, featuring maritime-themed activities held at 1812 Park and the city dock starting at 11 a.m. Also, the Lewes in Bloom Fall Plant Sale starts at 9 a.m., the Lewes Historical Society will hold its craft show and Historic District Merchants roll out a fall sidewalk sale, starting at 10 a.m. The Lighted Boat Parade on the canal at dusk provides a nice segue into Sunday’s Coast Day. www.leweschamber.com

Oct. 5
38th annual Coast Day

UD opens its Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes for a day where visitors can learn about—and consume—sea creatures of all kinds. The event features tours of the labs and research vessels so folks can see how the work of scientists, students and staff help coastal communities. There are cooking contests and plenty of family friendly activities. The sea life petting zoo is a kid favorite. www.decoastday.org

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Oct. 8-13
Greyhound Reach the Beach

Retired racers and their owners gather for an extended weekend of good times in dog-friendly Dewey Beach. Find plenty of shopping opportunities for all things greyhound and talks on topics from thunderstorm phobia to acupuncture for your pet. www.facebook.com/pages/Greyhounds-Reach-The-Beach/260652163972032

Oct. 16-19
Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival

The four-day festival features national acts and local performers at three locations: Cape Henlopen High School, Epworth United Methodist Church and the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. Highlights this year include Grammy winner Patti Austin and saxophonist Gerald Albright. Restaurants and bars throughout Lewes and Rehoboth will also offer entertainment. www.rehobothjazz.com

Oct. 24-26
25th annual Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddler’s Festival

This event in Rehoboth Beach includes costume parades for humans and dogs, trick or treating, an enhanced bandstand schedule, broom tossing and more. New this year is the Lucy and Ricky musical comedy tribute and a Bag of Tricks Trail for young magicians. www.beach-fun.com


Nov. 5-9
Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival

This five-day festival showcases 100 of the best American and international films. Features, shorts and documentaries are shown at the Movies at Midway. Film buffs can also enjoy seminars, chats with celebrities and special events. www.rehobothfilm.com


Dec. 13
Milton Holly Festival

Milton was once known as the “Holly Capital of the World” because the quaint town produced more holiday wreaths and decorations than anywhere else and shipped them all over the country. So it’s only fitting that Milton celebrates the state tree with dozens of craft vendors at the fire hall, wreath-making demonstrations and a holiday house tour. www.historicmilton.com

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Jan. 1, 2015
19th annual Leo Brady Exercise Like the Eskimos

Take a dip in the icy Atlantic during this New Year’s Day tradition. Or you can stay warm and watch from the safety of the beach. www.bethany-fenwick.org


Feb. 1, 2015
Lewes Polar Bear Plunge

In 2014, 3,252 folks raised $725,000 for Special Olympics Delaware by plunging into the 34-degree ocean off Rehoboth Beach. In addition to the plunge, the entire weekend is filled with family-friendly events. www.plungede.org

Feb. 27, 2015
Oyster Eat and Shrimp Feast

On the last Friday in February, slurp oysters and devour egg-salad sandwiches at the male-only Georgetown Fire Company’s annual Oyster Eat—now in its 78th year. Women have their own fun during the same night at the Lewes Fire Department’s Shrimp Feast. It is said a beer or two have been consumed at both events. georgetown77.com/oystereat.cfm; www.facebook.com/LewesFireDepartment


Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival

This annual affair features baking contests, delicious desserts and family fun at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. www.downtownrehoboth.com


6th annual Lewes Tulip Festival

More than 10,000 tulips bloom in downtown Lewes, tulip planting locations and local historic landmarks can be enjoyed either with a Tiptoe to the Tulips map or by Tiptoe to the Tulips Trolley Tours. www.leweschamber.com

April 3, 2015
Great Delaware Kite Festival

Good Friday is the time to hit the parade grounds at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, as it becomes the launching site for kites of all shapes, sizes and colors. Competitions are held in three age categories and special class awards are made in such categories as individual ballet, precision and largest kite. It costs nothing to watch, but park entry fees are required. www.leweschamber.com


Dewey Beach Popfest

The Rusty Rudder hosts a celebration of music featuring Pop Punk, Power Pop and BritPop bands. And there’s no cover charge. www.deweybeachfest.com/popfest

20th annual British Motorcar Show

The Lewes Historical Society Complex hosts this annual gathering of beautiful and stylish British cars among historic houses and museums, surrounded by lush gardens. Last year’s featured car was the Spridget. The event ends with a parade of cars through town. www.leweschamber.com

May 13-17, 2015
MidAtlantic Wine and Food Festival

Last year’s five-day statewide extravaganza featured the world’s top chefs, food and wine at locations ranging from private homes and historic estates to fine hotels and restaurants. mawff.org

12th annual Horseshoe Crab & Shorebird Festival
Celebrate two natural wonders of Delaware Bay, take a boat ride or a canoe trip and listen to music at Milton Memorial Park and Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. There will also be games, exhibits, food, a scavenger hunt and trail walks. www.historicmilton.com


Rehoboth Beach VegFest

This free three-day festival held at Epworth United Methodist Church in Rehoboth highlights the benefits of eating plant-based foods and the diverse range of animal-friendly cuisine found locally. Highlights include speakers, cooking demos, free food samples and more. www.rehobothvegfest.org

17th Chautauqua Tent Performances

As host The Lewes Historical Society puts it, “History comes alive!” Last year’s free event, held over five days, featured the Civil War and included musical entertainment and first-person theatrical performances for the family. www.historiclewes.org

6th annual Mid-Atlantic Sea Glass and Coastal Arts Festival

Last year’s fest, held at the Historic Complex in Lewes, featured more than 60 sea-glass artists, who were joined by other coastal artists such as waterfowl artists and decoy carvers. www.historiclewes.org


July 4, 2015
Rehoboth Beach Fireworks

Join 100,000 on the boardwalk and beach as fireworks light up the night sky. The concerts at the bandstand are always a highlight. www.downtownrehoboth.com

Rehoboth Art League Members’ Fine Art Exhibition

This annual exhibition showcases the work of more than 120 RAL members. It’s held in the Corkran galleries on the grounds of the Rehoboth Art League. www.rehobothartleague.org


Outdoor Fine Art and Craft Show

More than 100 artists and artisans exhibit work for sale on the grounds of the Rehoboth Art League in Rehoboth Beach. www.rehobothartleague.org

Aug. 1, 2015
37th annual Rehoboth Beach Sandcastle Contest

More than 100 teams and 800 participants compete in several categories at Fisherman’s Beach in Rehoboth. Competitors are given six hours to pile up sand and carve it into creations from traditional castles to mermaids, whales and other creatures. www.beach-fun.com

Aug. 22, 2015
Bargains on the Broadkill

This annual event on the Broadkill River in Milton Memorial Park features more than 40 vendors of arts and crafts, jewelry, food and more. Participants in the Great Duck Race vie for cash prizes, including a $500 top prize. www.historicmilton.com


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