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Every year for nearly 25 years now, residents and visitors of Bethany Beach have "mourned" the passing of Summer in a very unique way---they hold a "Jazz Funeral Parade" in New Orleans fashion on Labor Day weekend! The brainchild of a local resident, the "fun" funeral marked the fact that most shops, restaurants and facilities would be closing up after Labor Day.
Originally a small number of people would parade around the Boardwalk and then open a bottle of champagne. These days the event has gotten so popular that it draws a crowd of thousands. Accompanied by Dixieland jazz music bands, people wear costumes pretend to mourn, pass out flowers & tissues, carry signs and even carry a "faux" casket with the "corpse" of Summer.
Typically starting at the North end of the boardwalk and rounding many blocks, the procession comes to an end at the Bandstand on the Boardwalk and a eulogy for Summer is read while mourners look on. Now that the event has become so popular, there are a good many events surrounding this last hurrah and businesses and restaurants remain open especially for the event.
There are no requirements to join in the parade except a sense of humor and willingness to have a good time. The event is free and open to the public. We visited Bethany Beach a day too early to join in all the fun.
Updated Mar 13, 2012
Eat a nice breakfast, pack a lunch if you want to and sit on the beach all day. You will need sun screan, chairs & or blanket, drinks, SUN BLOCK , look, you need a lot of stuff to do this right! I love the beach. I could listen to the waves, the gulls, and the people laughing and talking all day. It is a life long tradition for me and mine!
Written Mar 3, 2005