Sussex County Return Day marks end to 2022 election cycle in Georgetown

GEORGETOWN, Del. – It’s a tradition dating back over a hundred years — that brings both sides of the aisle together following an election. Sussex County Return Day returned this year bigger and better than ever with a parade and host of festivities.

Thursday’s event marked the first parade for Return Day since 2018 after it was put on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elected officials from all three counties were in attendance, many participating in the parade that see’s them ride through downtown Georgetown in horse-drawn carriages.

“Today is about tradition, it’s about everybody coming together,” explained Debbie Jones, president of Sussex County Return Day. “Meeting old friends and family, new acquaintances and taking in all that, not only Georgetown, but the county has to offer.”

Return Day represents a time where elected officials are able to put their differences aside and celebrate.

“Earlier today, one of my colleagues up north texted me, and she’s the other side of aisle, she says where am I supposed to be and what time and I said I’ll always tell you where to go,” explained State Rep. Ruth Briggs-King. “It’s just that kind of relationship that many of us because we’re already talking about what we are gonna do when we get back in January for the people.”

Thousands gathered at the Circle in Georgetown to take part in the festivities Thursday marking an end to this year’s election cycle.

“We fight, fight, fight and then after the election we get 62 representatives, our county council, our local people and we work together for two years and then we start fighting all over again,” explained Steve Grossman, Sussex County resident. “Return Day is a great tradition and we should be doing it in more places than Georgetown, Delaware.”

Other residents even dressed up in colonial garb to celebrate, greeting attendees and taking part in the tradition.

“I just love the camaraderie of it all,” explained one resident who was dressed in a colonial dress to represent a time when Return Day was young. “I love the people, this beautiful day, I just like to parade around and greet everybody and tell ’em have a good day!”

Following the parade, that saw not only elected officials but businesses, schools, and a host of other organizations participate, the election results were read out loud and certified before the crowd by the Sheriff of Sussex County and the Town Crier. This was followed by a ceremony on the main stage where officials from each of the major parties gather and literally bury a hatchet in sand from Lewes Beach.

This year’s celebration marked the 105th Return Day.


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