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Hello, dahlings! Gabby paddles her own canoe at a cookout at Frolic Weymouth’s, then heads to the beach for some serious fundraising.

AT WORLD’S END

Ashley Biden (daughter of you-know-who) looked pretty as a speckled hen’s egg in a bikini top with cut-off denim shorts (even though she’d lost a flip-flop) at Frolic Weymouth’s party, which formed the second half of Tip-A-Canoe and Barbecue, Too, the annual outdoor fun-raiser for Young Friends of the Brandywine. A hundred canoes—double last year’s number—shoved off from Lenape, Pennsylvania, reaching the mouth of Big Bend, Frolic’s rolling spread, 3½ hours later. Many navigators admitted that their odyssey on Brandywine Creek had been strenuous. “I managed to canoe, and Clay pushed from behind,” Ashley said of her date, Clay Hill, of Trolley Square, Wilmington.

The real question was, how did some gals manage to complete the water-splashed ride, then look drop-dead gorgeous at the cookout held immediately after? “I changed in the truck,” ’fessed Holly Clinger of Thornton, Pennsylvania, ever the glamour-puss in a Lilly Pulitzer shift and gold gladiator sandals, her shoulder-length, butterscotch locks perfectly in place. Holly’s brother, Michael Clinger of

Kennett Square

, stood by her side. (Clinger Corporation of Concordville was a corporate sponsor.)

“We Can’t All Be Morning People,” announced the T-shirt on Bevyn Mannke, a sixth-grader at Wilmington Friends. “If it’s not swim team or school, it’s 10 a.m.,” explained her mom, Karen Mannke of Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, grilled portobello mushrooms turned out to be the menu fave, with six cases disappearing fast. Christian Lackford, sous chef at Greenville Country Club and cook for the Big Bend bash, kept busy over the flames. His job description: “I grill hamburgers and hot dogs and drink beer.”

Vases of sunflowers from S.I.W. Vegetables (a.k.a. Haskell’s Farm) added upscale ambience. Chris Bruni—son of Steve Bruni, the Delaware Art Museum’s former executive director—was rock guitarist during the family friendly festivities, while Kristen & The Noise kept the grown-ups jumpin’ later. Significantly, it wasn’t too soon for advance buzz about the 40th Anniversary Ruby Gala for the Brandywine Conservancy that Young Friends will host at Brandywine River Museum on October 6. According to Tessa Fontaine, Young Friends coordinator, the black-tie, masked ball will replace the All Hallows’ Eve bacchanalia this year. “We’re expecting everybody, from Young Friends to Frolic’s crowd,” Tessa enthused.

LANDING ON BOARDWALK

When The Old Rehoboth Boardwalk is your theme, expect pliable plastic glow worms at the door, paper buckets from Thrasher’s French fries brimming with sea grass for centerpieces and—what else?—Dolle’s salt water taffy scattered across the tabletops. The second annual Bring History to Life Gala catered to nostalgic shore residents while raising funds for the Rehoboth Beach Museum, scheduled to open this month. Jay Stein, owner of Stuart Kingston Galleries—a boardwalk tradition—was intrigued by the Rehoboth Beach Patrol video shown in a dining room of Kings’ Creek Country Club, the party’s site. Jay, a lifeguard in the 1950s, recalled the zinc-nosed “camaraderie. It was a small group of guys back in those days, maybe 14. Now it’s 60.”

Yep, the shoreline has changed. So has the cast of fashion mavens. Fred Chase, who designed the night’s limited-edition beach towel and poster, flashed a fast-blinking flamingo pin from a lapel, then admitted he sometimes wore the flamingo as an earring. “People want it. I could have bought a box of 50 and sold them for $10 apiece,” Fred bragged. Chic blonde Mollie Vardell, a gala co-chair and longtime summer resident, reported that the Museum Guild has collected 23 vintage men’s and women’s swimsuits for its premiere Bathing Beauties show, but needs more styles from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. (Rudi Gernreich’s notorious thong could enjoy a renaissance.) Elaine Faye of E-Lane Studio, wearing trendy “street earrings” from Washington, D.C., showed guests sketches of the museum’s design plan. And why not? Elaine is designer of the exhibit.

Bubbly Mary Page Evans, who donated a print of her work “The Wave” to the silent auction, praised the buffet. “I don’t really go to that many parties here,” she said. “I’m sort of underground.” (Gabby remains suspicious). Attorney Michael Carr ponied up big time, with a silent auction package of lunch for 12 aboard his fully crewed 60-foot Hatteras cruiser, docked off Worth Avenue in Palm Beach (value: $6,000).

FYI: Rehoboth Beach Museum is the brainchild of the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society, which secured a 50-year lease on the town’s Old Ice House for its museum space. Society president Bill Bahan pronounced himself pleased there were “more year-round people among this year’s partygoers.” Rehoboth Mayor Sam Cooper, Realtors Peggy and Jack Lingo, event co-chair Linda Darr and the decorating committee’s Elise Moore were among the 330 attendees. “It’s a fun group. Everybody wants to be here,” said interior designer Patrick Shehan, the third co-chair—or should we say tri-chair?

A CLEAR PURPOSE

Make no mistake: Clear Space Productions is determined to create a cultural home for the performing arts in Southern Delaware. Board member Mary Kay Ryan explained why at a cocktail bash for boosters at the Lewes home of Larry France and Tom Buckley. “This is a very professional group,” Kay said, calling its MO “a service to encourage residential and economic growth. Money spent is returned two- and three-fold to the community. Clear Space increases the skills of the youths, as well. There’s a lot of documentation on that level.” Board president Frank Vitrano described executive director Ken Skrzesz and artistic director Doug Yelter as “so special and so committed.”

Cast members from “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” Clear Space’s summer production, included Carly Economoz, a stunning Anne Hathaway look-alike in a white eyelet patio dress, her waist-length black hair pulled back to reveal pewter loop earrings. Board member Cheryl Graves went upbeat in a tropical-print frock from Deanna’s boutique in Lewes. Nancy Hillegas of Bethel, who is Cheryl’s sister-in-law, paired print fabric slingbacks and pearls with a lime-green suit—a welcome departure from sportswear casual.

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