The 23rd Annual Sea Witch Halloween and Fiddler's Festival will return to the streets and shores of Rehoboth Beach this weekend with creative costumes and the sounds of cackling witches and melodic fiddles.
And, the three-day festival has more than just two decades of costumed fun to celebrate this year, as it was just included in the American Bus Association's list of the "Top 100 Events in North America." The ABA annually evaluates hundreds of nominations for fairs, festivals, parades, exhibits, theater performances and other shows, selecting those that are best to experience on a group tour. The resulting list is coveted by travel professionals, motorcoach operators and the general public as a fun travel guide.
The three-day event is jam-packed, though, with events, contests, activities, parades and live entertainment. Here are a few you shouldn't miss:
1 The costume parade (11 a.m., Saturday)
Join thousands of other costumed enthusiasts for one of the biggest events of the weekend: the annual costume parade. Registration will begin at 10 a.m. at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center (229 Rehoboth Avenue) and no one who wants to walk will be turned away. The walkers will also be joined by at least seven marching bands and fifty motorized vehicles and floats. Expect to see some giant car-sized balloons as well as a colorful and creative array of costumes.
And, if you join the walk, why not sign up for the costume contest as well? Judges will award trophies to their favorites at the bandstand at approximately 12:30 p.m.
2 The string strummers (1 to 6 p.m., Saturday)
The Fiddler's Festival is the only official one in the state. As such, fiddlers and banjo players spend the afternoon competing to be the master of toe-tapping tunes in three categories: best banjo player, best fiddle player and best blue grass group. For adult contestants, there's $1,500 on the line. The kids are competing for $300. The whole musical spectacle is free but donations are appreciated.
3 The sea witch skim and surf contest (9:15 a.m., Saturday)
When the clock crows at a quarter past nine, head eastward towards the sea to catch a glimpse of surfs and skimboarders of all skill levels, competing in a contest that pair creative wave management skills with creative costuming abilities. Normally, surf contests are all about the skills and while that's still important here, the best costume will win a free week of camp. Awards and trophies will also be awarded for the top four finishers in each age and skill division. For more information, as a competitor or a spectator, call (302) 227-7087.
4 The Sea Witch 5K Classic and 1-Mile Fright Walk (9 a.m., Sunday)
Page 2 of 2 - Sunday morning, join the Seashore Striders for the annual 5K and 1-Mile Walk. More than 500 runners and spectators show up in costume. That's right, see cartoon characters, cheerleaders and various farm animals and monsters running for the finish line.
Don't like running but do like carbohydrates? The group traditionally hosts a bake sale at the same time.
5 The Sea Witch Hunt (1 p.m., Saturday)
Put your sleuthing skills to the test with the annual Sea Witch Hunt. The chase will begin at 1 p.m., Saturday afternoon and participants have to check in with the official clue keeper for the 100-plus location list. The location list is a set of clues that should lead you to a specific location where the sea witch is "hiding." Hunters have until 5 p.m. to turn in their best guesses. However, whoever turns in the earliest correct guess will win a cash prize. The winner will be announced at the bandstand on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
6 The Cackle Contest (2:15 p.m., Sunday)
New this year is the cackle contest. Bemused witches and warlocks of all ages and sizes are invited to demonstrate their most haunting hoots and snide snickers. The winner will be determined by applause.