Women’s FEST Breaks Records
- FEST attendance was at an all-time high, with more than 4,000 women participating.
- 3,100+ tickets were sold to more than 25 events.
- The live auction brought in over $13,000.
- 130+ volunteers and 70 sponsors made it possible.
Georgette Krenkel Welcome Dance
More than 700 women kicked off this year’s FEST with the Georgette Krenkel Welcome Dance, thus ticking off the “T” for “Tradition.” Women from down the street and those from as far away as Peru and Taiwan united in Rehoboth. Under colors-of-the-rainbow lighting, first-timers, old-timers, and lots of glad-to-be-here-timers unfurled their sails and launched into Women’s FEST 2023.
It wouldn’t be a Women’s FEST without sports, and one of the most popular was pickleball.
Eyewitness Report: Both local players and visitors had a blast. There were many volunteers keeping the games going. The tournament included three skill levels in a doubles round robin (everyone plays within their group). The top two from each group were then seeded to play for first, second, and third place. All of this made for a lot of play with different people, which is what every pickleball player enjoys. No one wants to travel to a tournament, play two matches, and if you lose you leave. Congrats to the organizers, tournament directors, volunteers, and most of all to the players. Even though it was raining outside, this indoor venue hit the spot.
- Lorraine Stanish
CAMP Rehoboth Outreach Program at Southern Delaware Therapeutic Riding
FEST-goers who wanted a service activity were able to volunteer their time working with an organization that helps improve the physical and emotional wellbeing of children and adults living with disabilities through therapeutic horseback riding.
Eyewitness Report: Despite the rain, all 12 CAMP Rehoboth Outreach Program (CROP) volunteers showed up ready to work at Southern Delaware Therapeutic Riding (SDTR). SDTR was prepared for us with indoor projects. First, we learned about the good work SDTR does and how they have grown. Then we divided into teams. Some helped with accessories, displays, and games of chance for their Kentucky Derby Day Fundraiser. Others prepared and spray-painted PVC pipes. The pipes were later connected to make training aids used in the horse ring. We also had a chance to meet the horses. SDTR Vice President Tom Peet said, “SDTR so appreciates the time you give us each year.” The volunteers said, “Wonderful day!” Several returned to SDTR on May 6 to help with their Kentucky Derby Day.
- Leslie Sinclair and Debbie Woods
FEST ART 2023!
This year boasted the biggest art show for CAMP Rehoboth yet, with 43 works displayed in CAMP Rehoboth’s gallery space.
Eyewitness Report: Wow! What a great variety of pieces to peruse—paintings of all sorts, assemblages, photographs, and some great block-prints (loved those buoys, especially). Some work was just lovely to behold; other pieces were thought-provoking and arresting. Even better: fascinating artists to meet and talk with. I got to talk with a local artist whose work I especially liked and was delighted to learn she participates in the Lewes Open Studio. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her work—and perhaps even bringing a piece home.
– Carla Burton
Mouth of Babes/Jen Kober
It was a sold-out, standing-room-only house for this popular band and the MARVELous comedian Jen Kober. If ever there were a perfect example of the “E” for “Entertainment” in FEST, it was this night! Jen made good on her promise to make the audience “laugh so hard your face hurts.” Aren’t we lucky to be able to attract such high-quality talent?
The Expo this year was bigger and better, with more vendors and greater diversity.
Eyewitness Report: What fun! It started at the registration table, where we scored two of the nifty FEST t-shirts—love that lavender shade! There were tables galore, offering all sorts of wares and info, ranging from decadent chocolate to serious issues. With loads of crafts and décor mixed in. My partner, Carla, and I really enjoyed seeing the artisans’ work and talking with them. We had a great stroll among the vendors, wrapping up with an extended visit to the pop-up bookstore. It was a terrific way to spend an afternoon.
– Marj Shannon
This was the first-ever FEST Premier Dance by CAMP Rehoboth, but it clearly won’t be the last.
Eyewitness Report: Saturday night’s Purple Rain dance was everything we dreamed of. Beautiful purple and white decor, music by DJ Peggy Castle, and The GirlsRoom brought down the house with their opening riff on the popular “The Boys Are Back in Town” changed to “The Girls Are Back in Town!” They rocked the convention center until midnight, and everyone left all their wonderful energy on the dance floor. Absolutely PACKED house.
– Leslie Ledogar
Fay Jacobs: Aging Gracelessly: Still Rock N Roll to Me
She may be “aging gracelessly,” but Fay never fails to entertain and never stops earning new fans. Attendees had two shows to choose from (both sold out).
Eyewitness Report: What can I say? The woman’s got a gift! We went to the Sunday afternoon show, and the stories just spooled out. Each was funnier or more poignant than the last, as they ranged from daring escapades to frightening displays of bigotry and hate. And each carried a message—or two or three—embedded amidst the laughs. It was great to see some “Fay Jacobs show virgins” in the crowd; also great to see lots of us “regulars,” who wouldn’t miss a chance to see and hear her once again. Wonderful way to close out the weekend!
– Marj Shannon
Broadwalk on the Boardwalk
Spring is the “S” in FEST, but despite April showers, the Broadwalk on the Boardwalk yet again was a powerful display of solidarity for survivors of breast cancer and other forms of cancer, as well as a means of raising funds for Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition.
Eyewitness Report: The Elkins-Archibald Atrium was filled with lots of positive energy and support for cancer survivors of all stripes and their families. Treated to bagels from Surf Bagel and coffee by Lori’s Oy Vey! Café, Broadwalkers were greeted by Karen Laitman, this year’s Chair.
Connie Holdridge of the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition honored prior Broadwalk chair Kathy Wiz with a handmade quilt that showcased Broadwalk t-shirts, quilted by the Delmarvalous Quilting Guild with stitching in the shape of cancer ribbons.
Keynote speaker Delaware Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long expressed her support and empathy for cancer survivors and their families, sharing that as a nurse and professor of nursing, she is aware that it is unfortunately not uncommon for members of the LGBTQ+ community to forgo potentially life-saving screenings for fear of being judged negatively because of their sexual identity or orientation.
Moments later, a break in the weather allowed participants to gather in the street in front of CAMP Rehoboth Community Center and with the Lt. Governor as one of the banner bearers, they began the march. A stop at Top of the Dunes allowed Kim Johnson of Kim Johnson Photography to take drone photos of the marchers. Supporters lined up in the trademark Broadwalk heart, and survivors marched to the center of the heart to the tune of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” With not a dry eye to be found, the entire march was as beautiful and heartfelt as ever.
- Leslie Ledogar
The FEST Farewell Party
Now a signature event, the FEST farewell party boasted music by Christine Havrilla, Regina Sayles, and Mama’s Black Sheep at Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats. It was a perfect “F” for “Fun” ending for FEST 2023.
Eyewitness Report: I can’t tell you how many people approached me to say thank you for a great FEST and to express how happy they were that we held a farewell party. Dogfish Head was packed—they had given FEST the entire venue from 11:00-3:00—what an incredible sponsor! Christine Havrilla, Mama’s Black Sheep, and Regina Sayles engaged the audience with their high energy and brought down the house. It warmed my heart to see the interaction among a couple hundred women, the entertainers, and the volunteers. Next year’s farewell party is already booked for Sunday, April 28, 2024.
– Teri Seaton
Thank you to the many Women’s FEST volunteers and sponsors who made this year’s event such an enormous success!
SAVE THE DATES!
The next Women’s FEST will be held April 25-28, 2024.