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No trick, no treat: Sea Witch canceled

The iconic Sea Witch balloon makes her way down Rehoboth Avenue Oct. 26, 2019.

The Sea Witch® Festival in Rehoboth Beach has been canceled for the first time in over 30 years.

Organizer Rehoboth Beach - Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce announced the decision on Facebook today, Aug. 17.

"It's the last thing that we would want to do," said Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carol Everhart. "To have to cancel this any time would be devastating but this particular year is very devastating."

Everhart said they simply cannot meet state mandates related to COVID-19. "How would you socially distance with tens of thousands of people?" 

Calculations by the Chamber of Commerce indicate the Sea Witch® Festival has an economic impact of $67.5 million annually.

"Everybody realizes this is a very serious virus and that safety is paramount, but I'm not sure the gravity of what could happen to the business community is currently realized," Everhart said.

Nicola Pizza plans to leave downtown

Nicola Pizza announced via Facebook on Sunday, Aug. 16, that they will leave downtown Rehoboth Beach.

After 50 years in their locations on Rehoboth Avenue and First Street, the restaurant will move to Ocean One Plaza, on Route 1 in Lewes. The Rehoboth locations will remain open until the Lewes location opens, which is planned for fall 2021.

"I think the coronavirus is a part of it," Everhart said. "Whether you're Nicola's or another business, you've been greatly impacted economically by the virus and the regulations. You have whatever regulations, plus the ones within your municipality versus outside of the municipality."

The Chamber of Commerce is working on hosting smaller Halloween-themed events at multiple Rehoboth Beach businesses.