Fenwick Island News
Town of Fenwick Island, Delaware
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Every year, thousands of people agree: the Selbyville Halloween Parade is the place to be. The classic tradition will return Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m., once again sponsored by the Fenwick Island Lions Club and Town of Selbyville.
“I’m surprised at how many people say, ‘I was in that parade when I was a kid,’” organizer Fran Pretty has said in the past. “So I think that’s a testimony to how people look forward to it.”
People may line the streets from Town Hall to PNC Bank, where the judging and main performances occur.
Besides rocking out to several local high school bands, people can take in appearances by floats, gymnasts, candidates for public office, fire trucks, scout troops, pageant winners, farm equipment, classic cars and much more.
It was in May when Dawn McGee, owner of West Fenwick Island’s Smitty McGee’s, got an unsolicited email about PaintNite Delaware and its slogan, “Grab a Drink, Grab a Brush and Let the Fun Begin.”
“‘What do you think?’ I asked two older men, regular customers, who happened to be sitting at the bar,” recalled McGee. “And when they both agreed, ‘That’s a hit,’ I decided to follow up.”
McGee’s office is located on the side of the building adjacent to the Lucky Dining Room. Previously at this time of the year, after the crowds have left, the room was always quiet. “But now every Wednesday evening and Thursday afternoon, I hear happy sounds of lots of people having a good time and laughing,” she said.
“I was surprised how many visitors came in the summer for the Thursday afternoon classes, as a break from the beach. Now the afternoon sessions provide a perfect activity for stay-at-home moms before the kids get home. And they all get to take home their own signed masterpiece,” she added.
PaintNite involves a social atmosphere in which an instructor and an assistant teach groups of people, seated at long tables, how to paint specifically designed paintings. Each participant starts with a blank 16-by-20-inch canvas on an easel, three different-sized brushes, a paper plate with squirts of the different colors of acrylic paint needed, a cup of water to clean the brushes… and a glass of one’s beverage of choice.
After another summer of the trek to the ocean being a little too tall of an order for some beachgoers, Tony Pratt of DNREC’s Shoreline & Waterway Management division stopped by Fenwick Island town hall on Sept. 26 to discuss dune maintenance with the town council. The core problem with maintaining beach accessibility, he said, is too much to do with too few resources.
The seventh annual Arts & Jazz Festival will hit the Freeman Stage at Bayside in West Fenwick this weekend, showcasing live jazz performances and local artists.
While the dog days of summer may be dwindling, the hot dog days are just getting under way in Fenwick Island, as Twilley’s Hot Dog Hut opened its doors last week, just in time for Labor Day. Owned by Fenwick local Mark Twilley, who brings extensive restaurant-industry experience, the venture has been a long time in the making.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. To actually be in the town I grew up in — it’s awesome, it makes it even better,” he said of being able to launch a business in his home town. “A lot of friends and family have come in to help support me, and I’m greatly appreciative of that and, hopefully, the word of mouth spreads and [we] just keep picking up the business.”
Twilley said he got the idea for the business when he and his girlfriend, Tara Sansone, were brainstorming ideas for things that the area was missing.
If ever I am lost and find myself in Heaven,
Let it spell Bethany
In an unusually busy primary election day for Delawareans, voters on Sept. 9 will decide which candidates will represent their parties in more than a half-dozen races in November, including candidates for U.S. senator, State Treasurer, Delaware Auditor of Accounts, Sussex County Register of Wills, Sussex County Council District 5 and Sussex County Sheriff.
Traffic can get pretty backed up on a two-lane road. Imagine getting stuck behind the person who can’t turn left because oncoming traffic blocked his way. That’s why center turn lanes are such a timesaver. Drivers can wait there to turn off the roadway, or use it as a merge lane to slip into traffic.
It’s legal to use a center turn lane in either way, but state Rep. Ron Gray is among those concerned that multiple cars may travel in opposite directions in a single lane at the same time.
“I’m afraid for safety reasons,” Gray said. “People need to be aware that the center turn lane is very useful and it needs to be used with caution.”
He first heard eyewitness accounts of near-collisions from his tenants at Hit the Deck outdoor furnishings on Route 54.
“We witness it,” said owner Kebbie Crout. “We see a lot of people pulling out from their neighborhoods,” planning to merge into traffic. “Of course,” Crout added, “when you’re looking to merge, you’re looking behind you” at openings in your desired lane, not at the cars potentially sitting ahead.
“Or seeing people use it as a passing lane… pass my trucks, pass each other. It is becoming a major safety hazard.”
The Fenwick Island Lions Club, Millsboro American Legion and the Ocean View VFW — in the spirit of the newly formed Delaware Joining Forces initiative designed to encourage veterans and community service organizations to work more closely together — will offer a free vision screening opportunity, starting this month, to veterans and their families.
Pontoon boats were made for balmy days on the bay. But for one Fenwick Islander, they were made for adventure.
Alex Daly dreamed of a 10-day Delmarva cruise. He said sailors typically circumnavigate Delmarva Peninsula by sea, cutting down the Atlantic, around to the Chesapeake. But he wanted to use an old “intricate” system — the Virginia inland waterways, winding from Assateague, Md., to Cape Charles, Va.
“It’s been there quite a while. Unfortunately, the Coast Guard’s going to stop maintaining it this year,” Daly said. “That’s one of my incentives to do it this year, before they pull the markers.”
Daly needed a shallower vessel to float over the inland maze: his pontoon boat.
“The pontoon is the only thing that goes through the Assawoman Canal, pretty much. There’s spots that are less than 2 feet.”
After 65 years of marriage, John and Betty Alexander were still a team, ever in love with each other and with Fenwick Island. Passing away in July, within six days of each other, the Alexanders were even memorialized with a rare double obituary, published in the Coastal Point on July 18.
Summering for decades on Oyster Bay Drive, Elizabeth “Betty” Alexander, 86, and John “Jerry” Alexander, 87, seemed to attract life.
“The love of their lives was Fenwick Island,” said their daughter, Carolyn Wheale of North Carolina. “I would say most of their friends are down in Fenwick. The whole family’s been meeting there and going there for 50 years, just about.”
The Alexanders were always the first to greet new neighbors.
“Every afternoon, they had their own little happy hour on the back porch,” said neighbor Sally Craig.
“They were in their 70s when we first met them, but they were two of the most widely wholly alive individuals that I’ve ever met,” said neighbor Cheryl Himmelfarb. “A highlight of our beach weekend would be happy hour with John and Betty.”
Claddagh Pub owner Mike Clarke is not Irish. He doesn’t serve Irish food. He doesn’t really even like Irish food. However, when he went to open up his first bar/restaurant in 1995, he could think of no better concept than an Irish pub.
The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Section and the Division of Parks & Recreation are seeking volunteers and boats for the 10th annual Inland Bays Cleanup. The Cleanup will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 12, and end about 1 p.m.
Bethany native, Indian River High School alumnus and new owner of One Coastal restaurant Carlie Roberts knows food — and food service. Not only has she worked in the industry both locally and beyond for 18 years, but she’s also studied the cuisine of other cultures in her various travels.
Last Friday, July 4, however, Roberts got the chance to bring some of those concepts back home with the grand re-opening of One Coastal — a dine-in or carry-out restaurant located just as the name suggests: at 1 Coastal Highway, just north of the Maryland and Delaware border in Fenwick Island.
Not only does the restaurant and bar serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with a full menu of fresh coastal cuisine, but it also offers homemade ice cream and fresh, made-to-order smoothies and juices.
“We see what’s fresh and see how we can use it,” Roberts said of the concept. “You can pick and choose what you want. We want everybody to see what we’re doing and to feel like they’re a part of it, they’re not just a spectator.”
Serving all three meals daily, Roberts has ensured that, no matter what the time of day, there is always a healthy option catered to those with certain dietary restrictions — whether it be gluten-free, lactose-free or vegetarian.
“A lot of people are dairy-free now. A lot of people are gluten-free. A lot of people have allergies. So we feel like we have something for everybody,” she explained. “If you don’t see it on the menu and we’re capable of making it, we absolutely will, and we’re able to do that because we’re keeping things simple.”
Fenwick Island has gotten a little French with the new Crêpes & Crazes, located on Coastal Highway.
Crêpes are large, thin pancakes that originated in France (also available gluten-free), but which are making the transition to tasty beach food. Like a blank canvas, they can be covered in any kind of topping.
But first, they’re made right before customers’ eyes, on wide, round griddles.
“If you’re not hungry before you walk in, you’re hungry after you walk in, because you can smell it,” said owner Sherry Perzinski.
Strawberry Fields is the top-seller at Crêpes & Crazes, featuring berries, cream cheese, crushed pretzels and drizzles of vanilla sauce. Apple Perfection is a homey treat, with gooey apples caramel and cinnamon, topped with honey and powdered sugar.
Savory crêpes make a meal out of the popular pizza crêpe, teriyaki chicken, Lasagna Supreme, Cheesesteak Lovers and Veggie Volcano. BBQ Chicken has Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce, cheese and bacon. Breakfast Bonanza features egg, bacon or sausage, onions, peppers and tomatoes.
People can get almost any filling, from fruit, Nutella or peanut butter to chicken, tuna and ham salads. Spinach salad is coming soon, with walnuts and strawberries.
Get a scoop of ice cream, or milkshakes, malteds, floats and more. Or add piping hot waffle sticks to create a new version of an ice cream sundae.
“We have regular customers, and that’s also a good sign,” said manager Filip Siladjev.
With the summer season in full swing, it is important to take the time to be extra cautious when traveling on area roads, for the safety of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists alike.
After a number of crashes in the area last year involving cyclists and pedestrians, at least one such accident has already been added to the tally for 2014.
The Department of Transportation (DelDOT) announced this week that nighttime lane closures could be expected on Route 1 from North Bethany to Fenwick Island beginning Monday, July 7, as part of a $4.4 million pavement and rehabilitation project.
It’s a common sight along area roads: business vehicles with prominent logos and other advertising, placed in just the perfect spot to turn them into mobile billboards, intentionally or not. And it’s something that has some local officials concerned — to the point of considering banning the practice.
As Fenwick Island prepares to start its new fiscal year on Aug. 1, some things are changing, while others will remain the same.
If the parades and fireworks haven’t provided enough Independence Day fun for 2014, Fenwick Island will offer the chance for people to spend some time with family and friends during the holiday weekend, at the town’s annual Bonfire.
Fenwick Island’s 10th annual Bonfire will take place on Saturday, July 5, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. on the beach at Dagsboro Street, with a rain date of Sunday, July 6.
“It’s something where all the neighbors can come to see each other, and all the visitors, as well,” said Liz Lear, a member of the Fenwick Island Beach Committee, which organizes the event.
The bonfire is free to all visitors and locals who would like to attend. Throughout the night, there will be games for the kids, as well as dancing to music provided by D.J. Batman.
“While it’s light, there are lots and lots of games for the children, and the lifeguards are the ones that organize the games for the kids. That’s really, really fun,” said Lear, noting that there are a half-dozen games planned, ranging from relay races to three-legged races.
Some Fenwick Island visitors may be surprised to learn that Fenwick Island has had its own little Fourth of July parade for nearly 20 years, wrapping up each year just in time for the fireworks.
In 1996, Marge and Jack Hayman started a little street parade for their family to celebrate Independence Day.
“[Marge] said, when they were kids her mother always insisted, on the Fourth of July, that the kids put red, white and blue on and go down the street,” recalled Barbara Beam, whose family has been participating in the parade for all but two of those years. “Marge said to me, ‘My parents said, “It’s the Fourth of July. We’re going to celebrate.”’ It was just a tradition that started with her parents.’
“The first year it was very small — just she and her husband. We ourselves didn’t participate the two years because we always had a big family picnic out in the country. After that, I said to my kids, ‘We’re going to participate. We’re here. It’s our neighbors. We can have our picnic another time.’ We have been part of it ever since.”
On July 4, residents from Oyster Bay Drive will have a small potluck block party in the early afternoon, and then all get together and begin the small parade from intersection of Coastal Highway and Oyster Bay Drive, down Oyster Bay, make a loop, go back to the highway and then down South Carolina Street.
Let’s be honest — Twinkies and Oreos are already pretty delicious. But when deep-fried, warm and gooey, they’re a guilty pleasure perfect for nights at the beach. Charlie’s Bay Side restaurant has brought that quick-serve decadence to Fenwick Island. With an outdoor counter attached to the restaurant, Charlie’s Fenwick Fries now serves deep-fried treats, made to order.
“My wife, Laura, and I like to get to the boardwalk and walk. Every place had deep-fried Oreos, funnel cake and french fries,” said owner Charlie Getz. “But there’s nothing up here, nowhere you can get it.”
In a world increasingly obsessed with health food, Getz said there’s still room for sweets.
“Everybody’s doing healthy, and there’s no calorie-counting on vacation. We just wanted to do something different.”
The Village of Fenwick shopping center already has plenty of walking traffic, where the most popular dish is funnel fries (like funnel cake, but smaller, Getz said).
“What people are surprised about — we do a deep-fried Twinkie. It doesn’t taste like Twinkies,” he noted.
Dipped in pancake batter, then cooked in canola oil, the Twinkies are topped with powdered sugar and chocolate sauce.
Churros come with a spicy-sweet raspberry sauce, and Oreos transform into a huge, soft cookie.
Other deep-fried sweets include brownies and candy bars, served each day by business partner Melvin Shifflett.
Those looking for a way to celebrate Independence Day on the Delaware shore with a real bang may have trouble picking where to go to celebrate.
Bruce McGuigan has fished local waters, both commercially and recreationally, for almost his entire life. He owned Captain Mac’s Bait & Tackle Shop in West Fenwick for 32 years, and the Lone Mullet Seafood Market next door for six years. He operated one of the first scallop boats in Ocean City, Md., has fished in the White Marlin Open and spends about three hours every morning breaking down fish.
To put it simply, Bruce McGuigan knows local seafood.
But when Hurricane Sandy flooded his property along Route 54 nearly two years ago, McGuigan decided to put that knowledge into a relatively new business venture — leading him to open the doors to Captain Mac’s Fish House last month.
“Every time somebody came into the seafood market, we got requests for fresh cooked food — sandwiches, things like that — so we decided to try it,” explained former Lone Mullet-turned-Fish House-employee Rick Eakle. “Hurricane Sandy ended up wiping out the underside of the building — in fact, we had a 3,000-pound walk-in refrigerator out on the side of the building. It was up on Route 54.”
Digital may be the wave of the future for newspapers, but providing useful information through smartphones and tablets is something the Coastal Point is doing today. We launched our first-ever app this week — Explore Coastal Delaware — with an eye toward informing both visitors and longtime residents about the best the Delaware shore has to offer.