This year's annual Lewes Christmas Parade, presented by the City of Lewes and the Lewes Chamber of Commerce, will honor as grand marshals its longtime parade organizers Tom King of King's Ice Cream Shops and Dennis Forney of the Cape Gazette. Lewes lost one its brightest lights Saturday, Nov. 25, when Tom King lost his bravely fought, two-year battle with cancer.
This year marks King’s and Forney's 35th anniversary of collaborating to bring the magic of the holiday to the streets of Lewes. In recognition of his contributions to one of Lewes' cherished community events, this year's parade is dedicated in King's memory. Both King and Forney served consecutively on the chamber's board as president in the early 1980s and took over responsibility for organizing the parade in 1982 when the number of entries had been dwindling.
Joining Forney in the grand marshal's vehicle on the evening of the parade will be Chris King, Tom's wife, and his brother Ben King. Both have been involved in the planning and implementation of the parade for as long as Tom was chairing it.
The parade will begin at 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2 (rain/snow date: Saturday, Dec. 9 at the same time). For many years, the parade has had a designated theme but has always promoted itself as an old-fashioned parade. Recognizing that as the parade entries have grown considerably since King and Forney took over organizing it, many of those entries also take part in other towns' parades with different themes. The number of entries that actually used the theme was very small. This year and in future years, the parade's theme will be Celebrating an Old-Fashioned Christmas in Lewes.
Prizes will be awarded in the following categories: Marching Group, Band, Clown, Equestrian, Decorated Classic Car (vintage 1967 or older), Decorated Vehicle (after 1967 and more recent), Fire Company, Commercial Float, Community Organization Float and Youth Organization Float. The parade lineup takes place from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. and the parade begins on Savannah Road at Sussex Drive; it will end on Second Street.
After the parade, the tradition has been to officially illuminate the Christmas tree in Zwaanendael Park followed by candlelight caroling in the park, led by Christy Taylor with sound by Bill Larsen. This year, a new tradition is being established by the Lewes Parks and Recreation Committee. They have made arrangements to have a fresh-cut tree moved into Zwaanendael Park between the museum and the Fisher-Martin House. The 30-foot tree is a Norway spruce donated by Liz Hudson of Milton. The tree-lighting ceremony will commence shortly after the last parade entry passes by the judges' reviewing stand in Zwaanendael Park.
The Christmas Parade is the culmination of a number of special events and activities associated with celebration of the Christmas Weekend in Historic Lewes. On Friday, Dec. 1, the Children's Beach House hosts a Winter White Holiday Celebration benefit from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The benefit is open to the public, and tickets can be purchased by calling 302-645-9184 or online at cbhinc.org. On Saturday, CBH will host an Art Exhibit & Sale in the facility at 1800 Bay Ave. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Lewes Historical Society's 44th Annual Christmas Tour of Lewes takes place Saturday, Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Also that day, Lewes in Bloom is hosting its 4th annual Christmas Market at St. Peter's Church courtyard from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., selling live Christmas wreaths, bundled fresh greens, floral arrangements and Lewes in Bloom merchandise. Another event Saturday at St. Peter's Church from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. is the ECW Soup Luncheon in the Parish Hall, in conjunction with the Christmas Tour of Lewes. Tour goers are also invited to visit the Zwaanendael Museum to see the holiday decorations and current exhibits. There are numerous other activities throughout the Lewes area associated with the holiday weekend celebrations.
For a complete listing, go to www.leweschamber.com and click on the calendar tab. The chamber's visitor center is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2.