Organizers Plan Changes for Sussex Return Day Event - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Organizers Plan Changes for Sussex Return Day Event

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(Photo: returnday.com) (Photo: returnday.com)

GEORGETOWN, Del. - Organizers of Sussex County's Return Day plan to scale back security measures that drew heavy criticism of the post-election festival two years ago.

Plans for this year's event call for fewer metal barricades along the parade route and minimal road closings, said organizer Rosalie Walls.

Return Day, which is held every two years, is a traditional gathering in Delaware politics where rival candidates literally bury the hatchet. But frustrations over heightened security in 2010 left organizers threatening to move the event out of Georgetown, the longtime host.

"I certainly would have hated to move it to another town but when you had all the things against you that we did last time," said Walls. "Hopefully, we've got all those worked out."

While the organizing committee does not have an official count, Walls said attendance two years ago was among the worst in the event's history.

Walls said the barricades restricted access to vendors and events, at least for the people who could make it into town. Organizers said closing most of the major roads leading to Georgetown led some visitors to give up and head home. The rainy weather did not help, either.

"It was very frustrating, especially some of the answers I got from people that were at the exits and entrances," said Barbara of Georgetown, who plans to give the event another chance this year.

The town heightened security in 2010 anticipating the arrival of Vice President Joe Biden; in the end, Biden did not attend. Town leaders insisted they still had to be prepared.

"[It] was an interesting year with the weather and the unknown about the vice president," said Georgetown Town Manager Gene Dvornick. "Hopefully, all those types of things have been put away, we'll have a nice sunny day and have a lot of people come out to Georgetown."

Biden's office said the vice president is not expected to attend this year's event, Walls said.

Organizers plan to move the ox roast back to the circle and allow vendors to return to North Bedford Street. In total, the goal is allow Return Day to return to its old ways.

Return Day is scheduled for Nov. 8 in Georgetown.

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