Rehoboth and its fireworks: What to do?

May 30, 2014

What happens when a place or an event gets too popular? Baseball legend Yogi Berra, in his inimitable fashion, once characterized the situation: “Nobody goes to that restaurant anymore, it’s too crowded.”

It happened in Lewes two decades ago when an informal New Year’s Eve gathering on Second Street inflated in just a few years to a precariously crowded happening that had to come to an end. The combination of happy revelers, a narrow space, heavy champagne bottles all surrounded by plate-glass windows became too dicey.

The World Championship Punkin Chunkin event is also feeling the pressures of its suc­cess. With so many moving parts - many of them flying through the air - and crowds counted in the thousands, liabilities associated with the event have forced organizers to once again seek a new home.

In Rehoboth Beach, Main Street’s popular Fourth of July fireworks show brings tens of thousands of people into the resort. Cars fill every available space and then some. Get­ting people into town is one thing. It happens gradually.

But getting them back out of town happens more all at once. The result? Gridlock for about an hour.

This year a perfect storm is brewing. The holiday falls on a Friday, which promises to bring even larger crowds. Further compli­cating the situation is the lack this year of the open field option near the park-and-ride which in the past provided auxiliary parking for hundreds of vehicles whose passengers then took buses into town. The field is not available because construction on a new mo­tel complex is about to begin. A plan to shift auxiliary parking to the Gordons Pond area of Cape Henlopen State Park near North Shores is being met with resistance from residents of that area.

So what to do? With so many smart people living in our communities, someone must have viable suggestions. Send us your letters and emails, and we will pass them along. The show is just too good to let its popularity spell its demise.

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered and written by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; and Nick Roth, sports editor.