The Sea Witch festival has been getting a lot of tourism buzz over the last few years. The organizers weren’t expecting a guest named Sandy, but were happy with the Saturday result.
The pre-Halloween festival went off without a hitch this year and served as the backdrop for The Weather Channel’s live broadcasts throughout the day. At one point people strolled by the live camera as the weather people were looking at Rehoboth Beach as ground zero for Sandy at one point during the day.
Sunday is a different story. Organizers say all activities have been cancelled.
Here is Laura Walters reporting from Coastal Point, our content partner.
A looming hurricane didn’t stop Rehoboth Beach, Del., from enjoying half of the 23rd annual Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddler’s Festival on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26 and 27.
Festivities were already much improved, as rain dampened much of last year’s activities. Between brief spots of sunshine, the gray ocean churned appropriately like a cauldron. One block away, Rehoboth Avenue swelled with thousands of people, pets, goblins and more.
Hundreds of people competed in the costume and float parade, produced by the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center and sponsored by dozens of businesses.
Amanda Buster and Kelly Dewberry, both 10 of Virginia, dressed as matching white dice. They hand-painted two cardboard boxes and cut armholes. The homemade costumes doubled as forts, as the girls crawled in and out of the boxes on the boardwalk.
Although he didn’t march this year, a nearby evil clown – Amanda’s 12-year-old brother, Zach – said the parade was his favorite part of the Sea Witch festival. Amanda agreed, noting all of the interesting costumes.
As the monstrous inflatable Sea Witch head floated down Rehoboth Avenue in all her glory, the streets were filled with every type of superhero, princess, monster and animal. Twenty trophies went home with the judges’ favorites, including: a family of unicorns; a three-person 3 Musketeers candy bar; Men In Black and a huge alien spaceship; a full Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots float; the Wicked Witch of the West and the entire house that landed on her sister; and Toy Story aliens accompanied by their mother, the toy claw machine.
Many local businesses threw open their doors and got in the spirit by marching in the parade, holding candy-counting contests and welcoming trick-or-treaters. Nur Shriners also buzzed around the parade, demonstrating their “mini chopper” small trick motorcycles, accompanied by music from several high school marching bands, all in costume to get the crowd dancing.
The already noteworthy Rehoboth shopping district extended into the street with food and gift vendors. Kids flocked to pumpkin-carving stations, magic shows, art contests and more. At the blacksmith booth, Mark Williams taught children to solve iron puzzles. Fifth-grader Lillian Porter worked to untangle two pieces of metal, gasping with surprise when she successfully separated the chains.
This year, Sea Witch spread her magic to Dewey Beach, which hosted Dragonville, with bonfires, business trick-or-treating and a dragon sculpture contest.
Sunday activities were canceled after Delaware ordered evacuation of coastal areas. Revelers must wait for next year’s “Monsters on Parade” pet costume contest, the costumed 5k run, Kids’ Dinosaur Safari, surf and skim board competition and the new Cackle Contest, for the best witch or warlock’s laugh.
Instead, residents swapped the street fair for sandbags as the City began hunkering down for the incoming Hurricane Sandy, expected to hit Delaware early Monday morning.