Jazz funeral to bid farewell to summer in Bethany Sept. 5

August 29, 2022

As the Quiet Resorts enjoy high summer, a small group of local folks is in the process of planning and organizing for a lighthearted, end-of-summer celebration known as the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral, back after a one-year absence because of pandemic restrictions.

To help make the advent of fall a little more palatable, locals and visitors can celebrate the end of the summer resort season with the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral set to begin at 5:30 p.m., Labor Day Monday, Sept. 5, on the Bethany Beach boardwalk. 

Mourners will carry a casket with a mannequin representing Summer of 2022 from the north end of the Boardwalk to its final resting place at the 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," said festival Co-Chair Carolyn Bacon. "While visitors and locals are participating in all the activities that make summer so special, very few are thinking about the fact that the summer season we enjoy so much will inevitably come to an end.”

“The Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral is now in its 35th year, and from the very beginning our event was designed to be a fun event,” said festival Co-Chair Marie Wright. “We want to celebrate the dedication and the hard work performed by our visiting summer locals and our true local family members who live, work and raise their families in the Quiet Resorts. We want to take the opportunity to say thank you to all who make summer in Bethany possible.”

Moss Wagner, a former town council member and Bethany businessman who owned and operated the Bethany Beach Ice Cream Parlor and Moss Boss' Ice Cream Shop, founded this end-of-summer celebration. Wagner's original idea was to have a small party for local business owners to celebrate the closing of the traditional summer resort season on Labor Day. It grew into a town-wide celebration featuring a Dixieland band and a funky funeral procession.

After a two-year absence due to COVID-19 concerns, the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral Silent Auction will be held again beginning at 3 p.m., Friday, Sept. 2, at Bethany Blues restaurant, 6 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Bethany Beach. This year’s beneficiary will be the American Red Cross, which prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

Anyone wishing to volunteer with the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral or its silent auction may email, leave a message at 302-537-1585 or drop a line to PO Box 505, Bethany Beach, DE 19930. 

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