SunFestival will kick off with a performance by Judy Gold, Emmy Award-winning writer and comedian, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 3, at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Originally known as Sundance, SunFestival is among the largest and most spectacular events held in Rehoboth Beach. The popular annual Labor Day weekend celebration raises essential funds for CAMP Rehoboth, a local nonprofit organization that provides services and support to the LGBTQ+ community and promotes inclusivity. For over 30 years, this keystone of CAMP Rehoboth’s activities has been more than just an event; it has been a place to embrace old friends, make new friends and celebrate the end of summer.
Considered a trailblazer in the world of comedy, Gold frequently riffs on life and hot issues such as free speech and the LGBTQ+ community, working in her experiences as a lesbian Jewish mother. She is the author of “Yes, I Can Say That: When They Come for the Comedians, We Are All in Trouble,” and hosts a long-running podcast called Kill Me Now with Judy Gold.
SunFestival will also include both silent and live auctions. The online silent auction will feature a curated selection of choices with something for everyone – food enthusiasts, those looking for a distinctive item to enhance their décor, and anyone seeking relaxation and enjoyment. The silent auction will open to the public Sunday, Aug. 28, and end at 11:59 p.m., Sept. 3. Bidding will be exclusively online. Successful bidders can pick up their items at the convention center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 4, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday, Sept. 5.
The live auction will be held at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 3, at the convention center preceding Judy Gold’s performance. Attendees can bid on travel opportunities such as two first-class airline tickets and a week’s stay at the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort in Puerto Rico; two tickets and a one-night hotel stay for the Lizzo concert Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.; a trip for two for the Adventure Bears fall 2022 all-inclusive cruise on the Celebrity Equinox for a 9-day/8-night trip to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and a trip for two on Olivia’s 50th Anniversary Caribbean Cruise II sailing out of Fort Lauderdale from Sunday, Feb. 26, to Sunday, March 5, on Holland America’s MS Nieuw Amsterdam, for an 8-day/7-night journey to Grand Turk/Turks & Caicos, San Juan, Charlotte Amalie/St. Thomas, and Half Moon Cay/Bahamas. Attendees should check dates and restrictions on auction items before bidding.
Dance has always been the heart of Sundance, and SunFestival 2022 offers the Sundance Disco Twilight Tea with DJ Robbie Leslie from 7 to 10 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 4, followed by the Sundance with DJ James Anthony from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
DJ Robbie Leslie is considered a legend, having started his career on Fire Island and worked most of the top venues, but he enjoys Sundance. “The way we conceived the twilight tea was an homage to the classics and any new music that might integrate well to that,” Leslie said. “It’s a nice dovetail to the later portion of the evening. I have a great fondness for dance music of all periods, but because of my years at Studio 54 and the Palladium, I’m more known for that era of music.” But there will be twists. “I’m a strong supporter of surprising the audience with a little bit of this and a little bit of that, remixes or versions of songs they may have not heard before, or just little dramatic effects that I like to interject during the course of the evening,” he said.
Starting at 10 p.m., the reins will be turned over to DJ James Anthony, internationally known DJ, remixer, producer, songwriter and reporter for Billboard magazine’s dance club chart. “Luckily for both Robbie and me, that disco sound is very much back in vogue now, so it does make putting our two sounds together very easy,” he said. Anthony is considered a musical jack-of-all-trades and an innovator who isn’t afraid to think outside the box. He’s produced tracks for some of dance music’s most legendary vocalists and producers, and he’s also looking forward to Sundance. “People can expect high-energy house music with some good vocals thrown in, some songs you don’t know, but just lots of high-energy music from when I start to when I end. And a few classics thrown in for good measure. Because no night is complete without a little Whitney Houston.”
All proceeds from SunFestival 2022 benefit CAMP Rehoboth, a 501c3 nonprofit corporation, and support the health, wellness, and arts activities and programs it provides to the Rehoboth community, and all of Sussex County and beyond.