Sussex County Delaware
2002 Return Day
Celebration Planned
Sussex Snapshots -- August 22, 2002

SC Online Editor

NOTE: Kerin Magill is Content Editor of Sussex County Online. Her column, "Sussex Snapshots", appears each Thursday on this site.

Eric Magill, Sussex County Online

It's a tradition that's unique to Sussex County, and it's been carried out every two years for more than 200 years.

Return Day began in the early days of the nation's history as a way to disseminate election results. It was always held two days after an election, to allow those in the hinterlands time to travel to Georgetown.

Over the years, it has grown into a celebration of democracy, with opponents literally "burying the hatchet" in a box of sand from Delaware's coast.

This year's festivities, like past Return Days, will be held the Thursday after election day. This year, the parade steps off at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2002, and will feature school bands, political opponents, dignitaries, floats and marching groups.

As always, political opponents and dignitaries will parade past the thousands who gather along the parade route in horse-drawn carriages and antique automobiles.

For years, U.S. Sen. Bill Roth's St. Bernard was a fixture in the parade. There's also the occasional surprise, like octogenarian state Rep. Tina Fallon on a Harley -- complete with red-white and blue leather jacket.

This year's parade will start at Sussex Central High School and proceed east on Market Street around The Circle in Georgetown and end up at Grace United Methodist Church.

After the parade, traditional political speeches, the reading of the election returns, and the Burial of the Tomahawk will be held on the Circle.

Food and vendor's booths will be posted throughout downtown Georgetown. Like the earliest Return Days, the food will include free roast-ox sandwiches for the weary travelers. There's always a fine selection of Delaware fare, from oyster sandwiches and crab cakes to scrumptious pies and cakes.

For more information, you can call 855-0722 or visit the official Return Day web site.

For a look at past Return Days, you can visit or look at Sussex County Online's coverage of the 2000 Return Day, complete with video clips.

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