One last hurrah this weekend as the Summer of 2016 officially comes to a close here at the Delaware beaches. Year-round residents, however, are preparing for what’s become known in recent years as “Locals Summer.”

This is a time when the weather is still warm, but the crowds have diminished and left more open space in parking lots, on the Boardwalk and on the beach itself.

It’s a wonderful time of the year, for many reasons. In addition to the continued fun in the sun, it’s also time for three months of fun and fabulous local festivals here in southern Delaware.

That starts on Labor Day with the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral and continues with several annual festivals next weekend and throughout the fall. It’s a great time to live in coastal Delaware, and we highly recommend getting out there and enjoying some of these popular local events.

As mentioned above, it all starts this coming Monday in Bethany Beach, when we officially bid our fond farewells to what's been a fantastic summer here at the Delaware beaches. In a tradition that began in the mid 1980s, the always fun-loving folks in Bethany will dress in black and proceed down the Boardwalk with a makeshift coffin and spouting crocodile tears, officially bidding adieu to the summer.


The day before, check out what is surely one of the wildest and wackiest events you’ll ever see, as Poodle Beach hosts the annual Drag Volleyball Tournament. This has provided some incredible laughs over the years, so be sure to check it out if you can.

A season-ending fireworks display, a couple of exhibit openings and a fun day for seniors at Trap Pond State Park round out our Labor Day menu. We hope you have a great holiday weekend and enjoy these last few days of summer, whatever it is you decide to do.

And get ready for some great festivals and events over the next few weeks.

But for now, here are our selections for Labor Day Weekend 2016 at or near the Delaware beaches: 

Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral (September 5). It’s that time of year again when we say goodbye to the Summer of 2016 and begin looking forward to the Summer of 2017, and the next traditional summer season in coastal Delaware. This year marks the 31st year that this family-friendly satirical event has taken place in Bethany Beach. The event begins with a “private wake” at 5 p.m., followed by a solemn procession down the Boardwalk at 5:30. A silent auction to benefit Sussex County Habitat for Humanity will be held on Friday, Sept. 2, from 3:15 to 4:45. Attendees are encouraged to get into the spirit by wearing black and preparing to say their goodbyes to the Summer of 2016. Visit www.jazz-funeral.com for more information.

Cape Gazette Photo

Rehoboth Beach Drag Volleyball Tournament (September 4). Now here’s a Labor Day Weekend tradition that everyone should witness at least once in his or her lifetime. Held on the south end of the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, widely known in the gay community as “Poodle Beach,” this fun and wacky annual event pits teams of male volleyball players competing for prizes and bragging rights, while dressed in drag. Each team portrays a particular theme, which contributes to the brevity of the day. This fun coastal Delaware event is a long-standing Labor Day tradition. The fun starts at 12:30 p.m. on Poodle Beach.

Season Fireworks Finale at the Freeman Stage (September 4). Wrap up the Summer of 2016 this Sunday at 7 p.m., as the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra and the U.S. Army Blues Band highlight the season fireworks finale at the Freeman Stage near Fenwick Island. This promises to be one of the grandest fireworks displays of the year and is a fantastic way to highlight your 2016 Labor Day Weekend. Visit www.freemanstage.org for more information on this event.

Trap Pond BBQ Picnic (September 2). This Friday, Sept. 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the CHEER program will hold their annual barbecue picnic at Trap Pond State Park, located between Millsboro and Laurel. Events and activities include live music, D.J. Sky Brady, a horseshoe tournament, a Wii bowling tournament, a Bocce Ball tournament and much more. This event is open to everyone, but is traditionally geared toward the senior citizen set. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Homebound and Congregate Nutrition program at CHEER. Call 302-856-5451 for more information.

Fort Miles Display Dedicated (September 2). Delaware Gov. Jack Markell will be on hand this Friday, Sept. 2, at Cape Henlopen State Park as state and Fort Miles Historical Association members officially dedicate the new artillery park at the historic fort. The display includes a 16-inch gun, an 8-inch gun, 6-inch guns, as well as several other weapons. This 11 a.m. event is open to the public and Delaware State Parks has waived the Cape Henlopen State Park entrance fee for all visitors who mention the event at the gatehouse. When complete, Fort Miles will be one of the largest World War II historical sites in the United States. For more information on this event, please call 302-645-6852.

Sea Witch Exhibit Opening (Begins September 3). An exhibit showcasing the many years of the popular Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddler’s Festival will be on display beginning Saturday, Sept. 3, at the Rehoboth Beach Museum on Rehoboth Avenue. This has become the beach resort's signature annual event and is organized by the Rehoboth Beach Chamber of Commerce. For more information on this exhibit, which will be open until the end of November, visit www.rehobothbeachmuseum.org.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, we hope you have a fun and exciting few days here at the Delaware beaches.

And be sure to check back here next week in our “Weekender Blog” for more great happenings in and near coastal Delaware.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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