Thirteen was a lucky number for CAMP Rehoboth as the organization’s 13th annual Women’s Fest drew possibly the largest crowd ever.
The four-day event offered educational initiatives, shows and workshops, culminating in the Broadwalk on the Boardwalk, raising funds for breast cancer research.
Organizing committee co-chair Patti Burke said, “Phenomenal. The outpouring of support from the community. Everyone has had a great time. There are a lot of ladies that put a lot of hard work into this.”
The festival drew both locals and out-of-towners.
“We’re real excited because we’re drawing people from all over the Mid-Atlantic, some of them for the first time coming to Rehoboth. We’re happy to introduce the town to them,” CAMP Rehoboth co-founder Steve Elkins said.
Donna Byers and Becky Wolfe came from Hershey, Pa., mainly for the comraderie and fun the festival offers. Byers, attending for the second time, and Wolfe singled out the opening night party and the Broadwalk as their favorite events.
CAMP Rehoboth co-founder Murray Archibald said the Friday show was a sell-out, selling over 800 tickets. Elkins said an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 participated in the festival.
Kicking off April 11 with a welcome party and dance, the festival’s first major attraction was an April 12 performance by comedian Kate Clinton.
Originally the Friday night concert was to feature country singer and activist Chely Wright, but she cancelled at the last moment after finding out she was pregnant with twins.
When Wright’s management informed the festival’s 13-member volunteer organizing committee their client would not be coming, panic set in as promotional material had already been printed.
After some initial scrambling, committee co-chair Sharon Miken said Clinton agreed to appear the same day Wright cancelled.
Prior to Clinton’s show, a preshow auction, which featured, among other prizes, a name-your-own-drink giveaway at Mixx and a cruise from primary sponsor Olivia Travel, raised a combined $9,300 for CAMP Rehoboth.
Archibald said over the years, the organizing committee has tried to make the workshops more fun. This year’s event featured games of pickleball at the Rehoboth fire hall and Texas Hold ‘Em, as well as a wine and chocolate tasting. Other workshops included writers workshops conducted by Fay Jacobs and a dancing class.
Saturday also featured alternating shows at CAMP Rehoboth’s community center by musician Christine Havrilla and comedian Vicki Shaw.
The final event, Broadwalk on the Boardwalk, raised money for Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition.
The walk, which started at CAMP Rehoboth on Baltimore Ave. and went to the Boardwalk, featured breast cancer survivors and people walking to honor someone who has or has passed away from breast cancer.
Jen Foskey and her daughter, Kai, walked on behalf of Foskey’s best friend, Trish McCoy, who died in 2006. A native of Milton, Foskey had wanted to do the walk for years but had never been able to make it until this year.
“I’m happy to be here and walk for her,” Foskey said.
While breast cancer is serious, the walk itself was full of fun for those involved, many of whom decked themselves, and their pets, out in pink boas. Male walkers Eric Englehart, Max Dick, Bob Hoffer and Chris Beagle went so far as to dub themselves “Boys 4 Broads,” with Dick and Hoffer donning bikini T-shirts.
“We always laugh, this weekend we’re all honorary lesbians,” Elkins joked.
Archibald said the idea of the Women’s Fest started when CAMP Rehoboth was looking for a way to get more women involved in the organization.
“Some of the other big events we did were, not necessarily for men but were perceived as being for men. So we were looking to do something for just for women,” he said.
The Women’s Fest began modestly, Elkins said, as a half-day workshop in the upstairs room of the Rehoboth library.
Jacobs, who also serves on the organizing committee, said, “This weekend has been spectacular. Mother Nature helped us out. This festival has been much bigger than last year. It’s like a big city convention.”
Vicki Martina, the logistical coordinator for the workshops, said, “This whole turnout has been amazing.
Miken said, “I think it’s becoming one of the premier women’s events on the East Coast.