A tearful goodbye to summer in Bethany Beach

by Michael Short on September 7, 2010

It was a tearful tribute as the summer of 2010 was laid to rest.

For the 25th year, the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral rang out summer with a mock funeral parade and procession down the boardwalk on Labor Day.

Beginning about 5:30 p.m., the “coffin” containing a mannequin was rolled slowly along the Boardwalk.  It was escorted by a collection of mourners, musicians and tourists in everything from tee-shirts to angel halos and mourning veils.

There was an angel with a giant tombstone laying the summer of 2010 to rest.  There was Sister Marie escorting the coffin.

There was a not-so-fearsome looking grim reaper and a bevy of mourners mixing equal amounts of wails of grief and giggles. In short, it was a typical relaxed, offbeat and fun way of ending the traditional summer season.

The event draws thousands of people every year who line the Boardwalk to watch the parade and listen to some first class Dixieland style jazz music. The “funeral” winds its way to the Bandstand where the music and festivities continue.

An estimated 6,000 people attended one year, but a more typical average crowd is about 2,000.

It’s also a chance to benefit a good cause. A silent auction was held on September 3 with the proceeds helping the Audubon Society. Past beneficiaries of the Jazz Funeral have included Habitat for Humanity and the Red Cross.

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