Lewes chamber thanks parade participants

December 21, 2017

This year's Lewes Christmas Parade, annually presented by the City of Lewes and the Lewes Chamber of Commerce & Visitor's Bureau, had perfect weather and large crowds lined the parade route to watch the creativity on display from local residents.

It was bittersweet because our longtime parade Chairman Tom King lost his battle with cancer one week before the parade. He and Dennis Forney have been organizing the parade for 35 years and were honored for this by being named this year's parade grand marshals. It was very special that Tom's wife Chris and brother Ben represented Tom and rode with Dennis in the parade.

Special thanks to everyone who participated in this year's parade - another really large one that included numerous dogs, several goats and two horses! The logistics are complicated and there are many to be thanked including Chief Tom Spell, Sgt. Sherry Harmon and the other members of the Lewes Police Department who assisted with traffic control, the Lewes Fire Department and the Delaware Fire Police members for their work at the intersections along the parade route, and Cape Henlopen High School JROTC and Sgt. First Class Richard Hurt for coordinating the parade's Color Guard and marching unit. In addition to all the community members who invested money and many hours of their time to get their entries ready for the parade, we would like to thank those volunteers who helped us line up the parade - Jim Barr, Terry Stuchlik, Ben King, G. W. Thompson, Rob Gibbs and Harry Sheing in the front, and in the back, Craig Beebe, ErinAnn Beebe, Justin Sinnott, Vincent McDowell and Charlie Joseph. We'd also like to acknowledge our longtime parade announcer Dennis Forney for his help with setting up the parade along with G. W. Thompson, Jay Reamer and Craig Beebe. Thanks to Mayor Ted Becker for assuming the announcing duties so that Dennis could enjoy the parade as our grand marshal. This year's talented parade judges were all former Lewes Chamber Board of Directors presidents as were Tom and Dennis - Jen Joseph, Virginia Zrake and Barbara Warnell, and they had assistance from Jay Reamer, who also participated in the post-parade stake removal in Highland Acres with help from Craig Beebe. We appreciate Dick Bryan for providing his car to transport the grand marshals.

This year marked the first year that the City of Lewes had a fresh-cut live Christmas tree in Zwaanendael Park. Our thanks to Parks & Recreation Commissioner Lou Papp for overseeing that tree project, Alison Kirk with the City of Lewes and chair of the commission and generous help from Bear with the City of Lewes Streets Department and Bob Barnes with the Lewes Board of Public Works; Reds Dolson of John L. Briggs and Company and George Plummer and Sons for their work on getting the tree cut and transported to Zwaanendael Park. Our thanks to Liz Hudson who donated the tree. She and her family joined Mayor Ted Becker in lighting the tree in a ceremony after the parade.

Helping to distribute the candles and song sheets in advance of the caroling were chamber members Tom Thunstrom and Judy Stevenson and our visitor center manager Anita Vollmer's children; Christy Taylor for leading the caroling with her volunteer chorus; Bill Larsen's sound system; Best Equipment with Eddie's expert assistance for supplying the judges' reviewing stand and the hay wagon for the candlelight caroling that followed the parade on the other side of the park; the Russ family for decorating and lighting the judges' reviewing stand; The City of Lewes Streets Department for moving Santa's House onto Second Street and Denise Poslusny for her assistance with hanging the house's curtains that she fabricated last year.

We also want to thank the Cape Henlopen High School Jazz Band with their Director Chris Burkhart, along with the Cape Choir for musical entertainment on Hospitality Night, and Blooming Boutique for providing additional musical entertainment; Coastal Camera Club members Brook Hedge, John Hoyt and Susan McFarlin for photographing the parade; Citizens Bank for locating Santa's House in their front yard and powering the Cape Jazz Band on Hospitality Night; the Lewes Police Department for assistance closing Second Street for both Hospitality Night and the Christmas Parade and Clean Delaware for supplying the portable toilets at the parade lineup area.

Finally, our deep appreciation is extended to the good-natured residents of Highland Acres who annually let us pound stakes and park huge vehicles in their front lawns for a couple of hours on the occasion of our annual Old Fashioned Christmas Parade.

Betsy Reamer
executive director
Lewes Chamber

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