Sussex County Delaware

In Sussex, Fall the
Best Time of All
 
Sussex Snapshots -- July 25, 2002

By KERIN MAGILL
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

Anyone who has spent time in Sussex County after Labor Day knows a little secret. It is without a doubt the best time to be here. Autumn makes up for sitting in traffic and standing in lines all summer -- in spades.

Beach lovers know that the sand doesn't roll up after August -- in fact, some say it actually flattens out, making more room for sunbathing and less of a dangerous "shore break" for swimming.

The water is still warm enough to swim in, often well into October (maybe later for heartier souls -- and we won't talk about those nuts who dive in each New Year's Day!).

Sandpipers seem to magically appear at the water's edge in September, entertaining beachgoers as they skitter along. Sea grass suddenly looks regal with its feathery plumage. The shrubs along the west side of the dunes in the Delaware Seashore State Park also begin an ever-changing color show that continues throughout the winter.

Sunsets over the bays are somehow deeper-hued in September and October. I hear the fishing's pretty good, too.

Savvy coastal business owners have been staying open well into the fall in recent years, as the "shoulder season" concept begins to be a reality there.

For those with kids too young to be in school, and those whose kids have passed the school years, fall vacations at the beach are a wonderful opportunity to slow down and enjoy the beach without the summer crowds.

And if the beach isn't your thing, there are plenty of other ways to get out and enjoy the best of Sussex County in the golden months of fall.

Here's a sampling of the fun events coming up in the next couple of months:

  • Sept. 22 -- 18th Annual Make-A-Wish Sea Colony Triathlon, in Bethany Beach
  • Sept. 28 -- Milton Riverwalk Festival
  • Sept. 28 -- Coastal Music and Arts Festival, Lord Baltimore Elementary School, Ocean View
  • Oct. 6 -- Coast Day at the University of Delaware College of Marine Studies in Lewes
  • Weekend of Oct. 12-13 -- Bridgeville's Apple-Scrapple Festival and the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce Fall Fishing Tournament
  • Oct. 25-27 -- Rehoboth Beach's fun-filled Sea Witch Festival Oct. 25-27

And then comes my personal favorite week in Sussex County. It only comes once every two years, that's how special it is. It starts Friday, Nov. 1, with one of the quirkiest events in Sussex County, the 17th Annual World Championship Punkin' Chunkin'.

Yep, a three-day event in which grown men and women gather on a farmer's field to see who can fling a pumpkin the farthest. It's one of those things that you just have to experience to really believe it. Trust me.

Then, on Thursday, Nov. 7, we follow "The Chunk" with what might just be the oldest Sussex County tradition -- Return Day.

What started in 1792 as a gathering of county residents to hear election results has become a much anticipated event featuring entertainment, a parade in which candidates ride together, a ceremonial hatchet burial, and lots of Sussex County delicacies.

Punkin' Chunkin, of course, happens every year. But Return Day is held every two years, coinciding with statewide and national elections. There's something about the combination of the two events that's just ... well ... just Sussex County.

Happy Fall, y'all.


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