200th Return Day scheduled for November 7

The 200th traditional festival, Return Day, is planned for November 7th in Georgetown.  Planning is moving forward with one special VIP not expected to attend.


The day-after election event dates back to the late 1700s when voters would “return” to the place where they cast their ballots to hear the election results.

It’s now held as a light-hearted way for state political candidates to “bury the hatchet” and celebrate the end of election season.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Over the years, the festival has grown into a day-long event featuring a parade, live music, food vendors, car show and tournaments.

The past two Return Days held in 2008 and 2010, received some criticism from supporters because of the extreme security measures, including several road closures.

This year, festival committee members revamped their security plan to be similar to the way it was in the 1990s and 2000s.

“We’re encouraging everyone to come back because so many people said they were never going to come again. We don’t want them to feel that way, we want everyone to come,” said Rosalie Walls, president of Return Day. “A lot of them didn’t want to put up with the fact that they could’t find the bathroom facilities and they couldn’t find the vendors because we had to put them so far away from the circle. This time we’re bringing them all back.”

A big factor in the security change up is the likelihood that Vice President Joe Biden will not be taking part in the festivities.  Walls says the last she heard from Washington was that Biden would not be able to attend.

Vendors will begin setting up at 8:30 a.m. the day of the event and roads will be closed until the end of the event.

Festivities kick off at 1:30 p.m. with a parade leading to the Circle in front of the historic Sussex County Courthouse where state leaders will ceremoniously bury a tomahawk, ending the political season.


WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal