Sun Festival 2021 Delights & Delivers
The Sun, Moon, and Stars Come Out for CAMP Rehoboth
In the best tradition of CAMP Rehoboth, the Sun Festival 2021 events ran, swam, sang, and danced through days and nights as August ended and September began. In keeping with this week of joyous festivities, Broadway star Jennifer Holliday received multiple standing ovations inside the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center before she even got to her last song. The concert on Saturday, September 4, by the Grammy and Tony award-winning Dreamgirl, marked the culmination of events that spanned eight days before ending over Labor Day weekend.
Sun Festival 2021 kicked off on Sunday, August 29, with 130+ CAMP Rehoboth supporters who walked, ran, and swam in the Sun Festival 5K, Biathlon, and One-Mile Walk. “The ocean waters were choppy this year,” remarked Board Chair Chris Beagle, who helped oversee the afterparty. “But our swimmers persevered, and the amazing Rehoboth Beach lifeguards were on hand to keep everyone safe! We thank the Seashore Striders who did a great job running this event for us.”
Our top Biathlon (Bike/Swim) winner: T. Doney, a 12- year-old from Silver Spring, Maryland, who energized the crowd and is sure to be a contender again in our future races! Other Biathlon winners: Jon Tower (48, Middletown, Delaware), and Scott Forsythe (54, Toledo, Ohio). Winners in the 5K Run: Enos Benbow (39, Georgetown, Delaware) and Aaron Tikiob (13, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware); and in the One-Mile Walk: Hannah Simone (57, Lewes, Delaware) and Leslie Ledogar (58, Lewes, Delaware).
A fun awards and afterparty followed at CAMP Rehoboth, with support from Lighthouse Catering, Dogfish Head Beer, the City of Rehoboth, and some incredible volunteers like Eric Englehart and Michael Fetchko who prepped the food and served it, with help from Leslie Sinclair and Debbie Woods.
By noon on Sunday, the CAMP Rehoboth Sun Festival Auction had opened on-line with over 135 items donated by generous businesses, restaurants, and community partners. All donations were beautifully presented by CAMP Rehoboth Board Member Natalie Moss.
Opening Day culminated with Aqua Bar & Grill hosting a fabulous Renegade-style throw-back tea dance and give-back event, and our community reveled in the excitement.
Knowing the community’s love of parties and dances, CAMP Rehoboth partnered with four local establishments to provide opportunities throughout the week for all in our community to party together. Proceeds from each of the events benefitted CAMP.
On Monday, August 30, a talented new, all-girl band, Off 24, played to a packed house at Iron Hill Brewery during their Giveback to CAMP event. (Read more about Off 24 on page 28.)
On Tuesday, Sun Festival brought the inaugural Corn Hole Tournament to the week’s festivities, with an impressive 24 teams and 120+ fans cheering them on. The efforts, led by Rina Pelligrini and Beth Petitte, in conjunction with CAMP Rehoboth staff, produced an exciting event under the lights at the Little League fields on Holland Glade Road. The masterful, smooth voice and music of DJ Viki Dee filled the air as bean bags were tossed to and fro. And Dixie’s Downhome Cooking food truck provided the perfect complement to our outdoor tournament. It was a nail-biter of a finish as Noah Cohen and Robert Dominic squared off against Jodi Foster and Carole Pellicano. The women ultimately prevailed during the double-elimination tournament finale.
Despite tumultuous weather on Wednesday, Diego’s Bar & Grill unveiled their version of Studio 54, complete with disco balls and tunes spun by DJ Jeff Harrison. Primed for the evening, some attendees came out in their best disco ball look-alike costumes, leisure suits, platform heels, and groovy dresses.
A spirited crowd gathered on Thursday downtown at the port—Port 251 that is! The Natalie Darkes Band was rocking the tunes and the mood, already celebratory, amped up a notch when lead singers Nick Cearley and Lauren Molina of The Skivvies popped by to say hello and enjoy a beverage.
Friday night opening act Mona Lotts got the crowd revved up and ready for The Skivvies, but not before introducing Lorne Crawford, our returning auctioneer. Crawford live-auctioned some especially fun items such as the axe-throwing party donated by Lefty’s Alley and Eats.
Saturday night commenced with another local favorite: Magnolia Applebottom showcased her expansive range of vocal chops before introducing Crawford, who auctioned off more grand items. Saturday night’s set of live auction bidding included a sought-after Olivia Travel Vacation which resulted in a good-fun bidding war between two couples and ended with solid funds raised for CAMP. Art works from Kim Klabbe and the late Lee Wayne Mills, as well as beautiful jewelry which had been donated by Holland Jewelers, each sparked their own bidding frenzies and fundraising.
CAMP Rehoboth was thrilled that its Sun Festival was the very first event to take place inside the re-opened Convention Center, and that it helped the City of Rehoboth re-open with a full-on exuberant celebration. The Friday night and Saturday night events at the Convention Center, with The Skivvies on September 3 and Jennifer Holliday on September 4, included everything from the live and online auction offerings to the Sponsors’ VIP Lounge and performer meet-and-greets.
“Our goal was to keep the dancing alive this year and keep the community safe at the same time,” said CAMP Rehoboth Board Vice President Wes Combs. “Thanks to the support of amazing local businesses, we offered the community multiple opportunities to hit the dance floor. This year’s Sun Festival events, which featured pure star-power combined with exhilarating performances, was just what the doctor ordered for a world still figuring out how to live during a pandemic. The crowds may have been smaller-than-usual, but the buzz was still palpable.”
In all, over 2,000 people participated in Sun Festival 2021 events, including the online auction, between Sunday, August 29, and Saturday, September 4. That participation raised over $120,000 to help sustain CAMP Rehoboth. All proceeds go toward helping sustain the important free programming and health, wellness, and art programs which CAMP Rehoboth provides to the community throughout the year.
Despite so much still in flux with the pandemic and its re-emergence, CAMP Rehoboth and countless volunteers nonetheless expanded the number of events to span a full week and added a variety of activity options and venues. And they managed to maintain community participation, meanwhile assuring everyone’s safety was first-and-foremost, including proof of vaccination and masks for the events at the Convention Center.
CAMP Rehoboth could not have done this without the generosity of our community and you, our supporters. Personal thanks go to our small-but-mighty staff, our incredible (and seemingly tireless) seasoned—and new—volunteers, and our dedicated Board members. So many people gave so many dozens (hundreds?!) of hours to the effort, as well as their sweat and their tears, to help make the first Sun Festival—Sun Festival 2021—the huge success it was.
True, it was an immense undertaking. But it also was an inspiring reminder of our shared humanity, of the significance of connections, and of CAMP Rehoboth’s commitment to taking care of our community—both those who live here and those who visit.
And yes, planning has already started for 2022—to include the big dance when everything re-opens to normal capacity!
The COVID pandemic showed us just how quickly the world can change with little notice. As we all remain hopeful that a return to a new-and-improved normal is around the corner, we invite you to stay tuned, stay safe, keep dancing, and please, stay involved! We need you. The entire community is better because CAMP Rehoboth exists. And most importantly, remember—YOU are CAMP Rehoboth. ▼
CAMP Rehoboth’s Development Director Anita Broccolino oversees and advances CAMP Rehoboth's development, fundraising, and communications efforts, while helping increase awareness in the community. If you would like to become a member, volunteer for events, or meet with Anita to discuss a donation, legacy, or planned giving gift, please call: 302-227-5620 or email: email@example.com.