Plans underway for annual Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral set for Sept. 1

Silent Auction to be held Aug. 29 at Bethany Blues
Carolyn Bacon, left, and Marie Wright are the assistant chairs of the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral events. They invite everyone to dress up in costume for this year’s event held Labor Day Monday, Sept. 1, at 5:30 p.m. on the Bethany Beach Boardwalk. SOURCE SUBMITTED
June 26, 2014

Although summer is just picking up steam, local residents are preparing to celebrate the annual Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral to begin about 5:30 p.m., Labor Day Monday, Sept. 1.

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The Jazz Funeral is a lighthearted celebration that allows all those who attend to participate and become part of the procession. The 2014 Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral is a Labor Day Farewell to Summer parade and celebration held on the Bethany Boardwalk that is free to the public, according to Carolyn Bacon and Marie Wright, assistant chairs of this year's Jazz Funeral events.

Highlights of the event can be viewed at

At the Jazz Funeral, spectators go to the Bethany Beach Boardwalk on Labor Day Monday and are encouraged to join the funeral procession of mourners. Mourners carry a casket with a mannequin representing Summer of 2014 from the north end of the Boardwalk to its final resting place at the Boardwalk Bandstand. Music is provided by the combined efforts of three Dixieland Jazz Bands.

"The Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral is comparable to the jazz funerals that are held in New Orleans that celebrate the lives of those who have passed away," Bacon said. "In Bethany Beach, the Jazz Funeral is celebrated each Labor Day to mark the passing of the summer resort season in Delaware's Quiet Resorts."

There will be a series of brief reflections and recollections by Bethany residents after the procession arrives at the Boardwalk Bandstand. This year’s end-of-summer remarks will highlight the lighter side of resort living in the Quiet Resorts.

“The Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral is now in its 29th year, and from the very beginning our event was designed to be a fun event,” Wright said. “Although we do not want to diminish the hard work of the many dedicated individuals who live, work and raise families in the Quiet Resorts, we hope to explore the humorous side of enjoying the summer in our resort areas.”

One of the distinguishing features of this end of summer season celebration is the music. The Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral will feature three bands - the Dixie Cats, the Jazz Funeral Irregulars and the Downtown Dixieland Band. The combined bands usually have about 20 pieces, which makes this event one of the largest regularly scheduled Dixieland band performances on the Delmarva Peninsula.

The Jazz Funeral has become a quirky tradition in Bethany Beach enjoyed by about 2,000 people each year. After 29 years of celebrating summer’s end, the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral is one of the longest-running celebrations of its kind in the lower Delaware resort areas.

This year’s Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral Silent Auction will begin at 3 p.m., Friday Aug. 29, at Bethany Blues, 6 North Pennsylvania Ave. in Bethany Beach. The beneficiary for funds raised at the silent auction will be named shortly.

Anyone who wishes to volunteer to help out with the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral or the Silent Auction is asked to email, call to leave a message at 302-537-1585 or drop a line to PO Box 505, Bethany Beach, DE 19930. An overview of the event can be viewed at