The All Saints' Antiques Show has been canceled, joining other long-gone but not forgotten Rehoboth traditions such as the Easter Promenade and Piping Out.
For 64 years, the annual summer show has anchored the church budget and drawn the community together. This year, the usual 25 to 30 vendors dwindled to just 10, prompting the church to end its decades-long tradition.
Father Max Wolf of The Episcopal Parish of All Saints' Church in Rehoboth Beach and St. George's Chapel near Harbeson said he is sad to see the end of the event, slated for Thursday, Aug. 1, but, he said, “It would have been unfair to our guests to hold the show."
Wolf said many longtime buyers at the show have stopped attending as the interest in antiques has dwindled.
“I hate for anything to be canceled, but we didn't want to hold a lesser show,” Wolf said. At one point, the show was providing 20 percent of the church's annual budget, but Wolf said other projects have taken off that he anticipates will fill the gap.
“We have been told that antiques are not as popular because younger people prefer modern furniture,” Wolf said. “Also, many of our year-round residents are renting out their beach homes and don't want to furnish them with antiques.”
Most of the money raised by the church goes to outreach programs such as The Way Home, which aids people recently released from prison; Community Resource Center in Rehoboth Beach; and the Cape Henlopen Food Basket, which helps provide food for low-income families.
“We will continue to give to the community, but we will miss the funding from the antique show,” Wolf said. “We will also miss the fellowship of the preview party, which is where we raised most of the money during the antique show. We would see people and old friends from across the community, and it was just a really great opportunity to interact.”
Wolf said the church committee is discussing whether to bring the antique show back next year, but he said it is likely the show will be replaced by another event.
Traditions change in Cape Region
The antique show will now join the likes of Piping Out and the Easter Promenade, relegated to the history books.
Piping Out, a Rehoboth Beach Labor Day tradition from the 1950s through 1999, was led by Mr. Rehoboth, Sammy Ferro, who passed away in 2001.
"It began when a bunch of us playing instruments and anything else we could find started marching up the Boardwalk," said Ferro, a trombone player and band leader at the Henlopen Hotel, in a 1984 interview published in the Cape Gazettte in 2001. "It blossomed into a big to-do."
Revelers would play kazoos and other instruments on the Bandstand. Ferro bowed out of the annual event in 2000, saying, "I had fun, fun, fun, but I'm pooped; it had to happen sometime."
Another longtime Rehoboth tradition, the annual Easter Promenade celebrated its 51st year in 2003.
The event featured families decked out in their Easter Sunday best at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. Children and senior citizens alike vied for prizes in dozens of categories such as best hat and best outfit.
In a March 2004 article published in the Cape Gazette, the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce announced its decision to retire the Easter Promenade.
"Those who dress up in traditional Easter finery continues to decrease steadily," said event coordinator Elizabeth Beck in the article.
Church focuses on future events
The church plans to continue its popular Rehoboth Christmas Shop, which will celebrate 51 years in October. The annual event opens Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center and features holiday gifts, as well as antiques, jewelry and more.
“The Christmas shop was started at a time when many of the downtown businesses were not open year-round,” Wolf said. “It grows in popularity every year.”
The church also continues to grow, adding at least 25 new members each year, Wolf said. This year, the congregation will welcome its first full-time assistant pastor in the church's 300-year history.
The Rev. Lara Shine, a 30-year-old musician and priest will join the church this year, Wolf said.
Programs for youth and volunteer opportunities continue to abound at the church, he said. All Saints' youth are currently serving on a mission trip in a barrio outside Mexico City where they are hosting Vacation Bible School for 60 Mexican children, Wolf said.
On Sunday, Sept. 8, the All Saints' music program will host Baritones by the Sea, a group of singers from the U.S. Army Corps.
The ever-popular Jazz Mass will also return this year, Oct. 19-20 with the Hood College Choir and Adelante, which will also perform a special smooth jazz concert Oct. 18 at the church.
“We are a loving, inclusive parish and we strive to represent a cross-section of our community,” Wolf said. “New members and visitors are always welcome.”
All Saints' is at 18 Olive Ave., Rehoboth Beach and its sister church, St. George's Chapel, is at 20274 Beaver Dam Road, Harbeson. For more information, call 302-227-7202 or go to www.allsaintsparish-rehoboth.org.