Holidays a time for patience, common sense
The July Fourth holiday arrived in the Cape Region bringing with it the hottest temperatures of the summer. The heat brought visitors by the tens of thousands - an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 in Rehoboth Beach alone.
But it also brought the season’s first jellyfish and plenty of hot tempers as people rushed to pack as much as possible into the weekend.
Braving temperatures that had reached 83 degrees by 7:30 a.m., hundreds of people arrived in Rehoboth earlier than usual on July Fourth for a rally to honor veterans and celebrate independence.
City officials had at first denied a related request to hold a series of church services at the Bandstand, but they relented for an assembly billed as a Freedom Rally and sensibly issued a permit.
That was enough to avert political fireworks, just in time for a spectacular pyrotechnic display that lit up the night sky, this year mirrored by a similar extravaganza in Dewey Beach.
No one will deny that, during the four days of the holiday weekend, traffic was, quite simply, a nightmare, punctuated by a fatal crash south of Dewey Beach.
An older couple walking home from the fireworks was struck by a 25-year-old driver charged with DUI, a tragic and life-changing night for all three people.
Even a single accident is too many; still, with tens of thousands of visitors flooding the area, state and local police and beach patrols kept the highways and beaches near-perfectly safe, maintaining order as people tempted fate by crossing highways in the wrong places, setting off illegal fireworks and swimming with the just-arrived jellyfish.
For visitors as well as residents, if there’s one survival tip for July Fourth and any other summer weekend, it’s wherever you go, pack your patience and bring along some common sense.
Summer heat brings people to the beach and jellyfish to our waters. Both are relatively easy to avoid and neither stay very long.