Smiths providing Rehoboth’s sing-along tree for second time

First time in event’s four-decade history the evergreen has come from same property
November 8, 2023

Story Location:
Rehoboth Beach Bandstand
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

For the second year in a row, Dean and Debbie Smith are donating a 20-year-old, 30-foot-tall green giant arborvitae to Rehoboth Beach for the city’s annual Tree Lighting and Sing-Along.

Interim City Manager Evan Miller announced Nov. 6 that the Smiths, who live off Plantation Road outside Rehoboth, were again donating a tree. The city is grateful for the Smiths’ donation, said Miller.

During a brief interview Nov. 7, the Smiths said the reason they’re donating the tree is the same as last year – it’s simply getting too big. Debbie said it’s a big, beautiful tree, but the circumference is getting to be too much and it’s growing toward her house.

“We’ll miss the wildlife that call the tree home and some of the privacy it provides, but we’re good friends with our neighbor,” said Debbie.

The Smiths had said something to the city when the crew removed the tree last year, said Debbie. Near the end of the summer, she got a call from the city asking if they were still interested, she said.

Last year marked the first time in the history of the four-decade-old event that Georgetown-based John L. Briggs & Co. did not oversee the tree removal and installation process.

Kari Long, daughter of John L. Briggs & Co. owner Charles “Reds” Dolson III, has attended almost all the tree moves. She said she couldn’t remember another instance when the city used a tree from the same property owners, let alone a tree from the same property owners in consecutive years.

The Smiths were surprised to hear they are probably the first to donate two trees to the city for the event.

“That’s exciting,” said Debbie.

Typically, the property owner who donates the tree to the city is a featured guest during the sing-along portion of the tree lighting, but the Smiths were sick last year and couldn’t make it. They both said they’re hoping that doesn’t happen again this year.

However, Dean said, they did get a chance to see the tree after it was installed.

“It really was a beautiful tree. It fit the space just right and looked quite lovely,” he said.

The city is expected to move and install the tree Wednesday, Nov. 15, with a bad weather date of Thursday, Nov. 16. The city gets help with the process from Harry Caswell, a plumbing and utility company from Long Neck; George Plummer & Son, a Lewes-area crane business; and Delmarva Power.

The annual tree lighting and sing-along at the Bandstand is traditionally held on Black Friday, which is Friday, Nov. 24 this year. The show is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. For event information, go to or contact the communications department at 302-227-6181, Ext. 522 or


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