Wells Fargo stagecoach to ride in Return Day Parade Nov. 8

November 2, 2018

The Sussex County Return Day Committee members are pleased to announce that the famous Wells Fargo stagecoach will appear in the 2018 Return Day Parade set for 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 8, in Georgetown.

Return Day is a one-of-a-kind biennial event that symbolizes unity among community residents after Election Day, and signals the end of the year’s political campaign. The event, held only in Sussex County, celebrates its 206th anniversary this year.

“We are excited to feature the Wells Fargo stagecoach in this year’s Sussex County Return Day Parade,” said President Debby Jones

“Given its rich history, it will be the perfect addition to the antique carriages featured in the parade.”

An ageless symbol of reliability and connectivity, the Wells Fargo stagecoach has a deep history in Delaware, since Wells Fargo first operated in this state in 1914. At that time, Delawareans came to their Wells Fargo agent to get travelers checks, send money by telegraph and order express package delivery service. These deliveries often were carried out by stagecoach. Renowned for connecting people in distant places, the Wells Fargo stagecoach also played the critical role of carefully carrying voters’ ballots to be counted at the state capital. Community members are invited to witness the stagecoach and all of the antique carriages featured in the Sussex County Return Day Parade.

About Return Day

In 1791, the Delaware Legislature required all votes to be cast on Election Day at the new county seat in Georgetown. All Sussex County residents had to travel to Georgetown to vote on Election Day, and return two days later to hear the results, hence the name Return Day.

The winners of that year's political races would parade around the town circle in horse-drawn carriages. To signify the end of the political campaign for that year, the chairs of the county's political parties would perform a ceremonial burying of the hatchet in a box of sand from Lewes Beach.

In 1811, voting districts were created across the state, but the Board of Canvassers would still meet two days later in Georgetown to announce the final election results. Although television and the internet have eliminated the need for Return Day, the tradition is a time for all Delaware residents to join together for a day of fun and a touch of nostalgia. The Board of Canvassers still meets every Return Day to certify the votes, and the results are then announced by the town crier from the courthouse balcony to the gathered public. Return Day is recognized as the only event of its kind in the nation.