Living by the ocean sometimes means getting wet

May 13, 2022

What do bird lovers, amusement park operators and avid runners all have in common? When they live near the ocean, they’re all groups of people who are prepared to deal with the elements.

For good reason, most of the events planned for this past Mother’s Day weekend were canceled well in advance of the nor’easter that brought consecutive days of rain and 30 mph winds out of the northeast. However, some events did happen, and I attended three of them Saturday. At all three events – a volunteer training session for the state’s beach-nesting bird monitoring program, the annual opening of Funland and a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society called Boogie Down the Boards – participants and employees were ready to get wet and were happy doing it.

Beginning in the morning, 30 potential volunteers showed up to the training session in the Officer’s Club mess hall at Cape Henlopen State Park. The press release announcing the event said, weather permitting, there might be time to head to The Point to see if there were any shorebirds feeding on the bayside mud flats. At least 25 of the attendees were dressed in some kind of boots-and-raincoat combination. They were obviously ready to head outside in the elements if the opportunity presented itself. However, as we all know, the weather was not permitting.

Early into the session, Matt Young, a Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control employee who has worked with the monitoring program, said we would not be going outside. He was not worried about the humans. Apparently, it takes a lot of energy to stay warm in a nor’easter when you're a bird the size of a baseball and half its weight. Young said the plovers would waste energy reacting to nearby humans when they should be saving all the energy they had to withstand the storm.

About an hour after the training session ended, I was in Rehoboth Beach for the opening of Funland and to see how many people would actually be boogieing down the Boardwalk.

For all but a few years of its 60-year-existence, Funland has opened the Saturday before Mother’s Day. This year was no different. The weather kept away a lot of people, and while the outside rides and the Boardwalk-facing games were closed, there were still families who ventured out for the annual tradition. At 1 p.m. on the dot, Craig Fasnacht, son of Funland co-founders Al and Jean Fasnacht, pulled up the green garage door facing the Delaware Avenue comfort station for the 2022 season’s first time. 

Fasnacht was unfazed by the weather. When asked how things were going, he looked at his watch and said, “Thirty seconds in and things are going great.”

Another family member, Ian Curry, was walking around fixing machines that didn’t realize it was opening day. Curry was looking at the light crowds optimistically. It’s a good dry run for some of the new employees, he said.

At the Boogie Down the Boards after party, dozens of participants were in good spirits while they dried their hair and ate food as they walked around in wet pants. They were there to raise money to help find a cure for blood cancer, and the adrenaline was flowing because they had just walked the length of the Boardwalk face-first into 30 mph winds.

Longtime Grove Park Running and Walking Club member Bob Hughes has multiple myeloma and is one of the many people the participants were there to help. His glasses were slightly foggy from the outside-to-inside transition. I told him I would have been surprised if the event were canceled because I know people who run will run in any weather. He shook his head yes and said, “I’ve run in worse.”

Joke of the week:

This joke submission is one of 40 that reader Eric submitted soon after this column began to publish. As always, joke submissions can be sent to

Q: What did the pirate say when he turned 80?

A: Aye Matey.

  • Chris Flood has lived in or visited family in Delaware his whole life. He grew up in Maine, but a block of scrapple was always in the freezer of his parents’ house during his childhood. Contact him at

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