Longstanding Delaware election tradition of Return Day canceled; first time since WWII
GEORGETOWN, Del. — Sussex County Return Day President Debbie Jones has announced the cancellation of this year’s parade and festivities.
“We of the Sussex County Return Day committee had been working to plan for this year’s event. All along, we had hoped that by this time the COVID-19 virus would be a thing of the past,” she wrote in a letter posted on Facebook. “However, with the current regulations and restrictions along with the most recent extension of the State of Emergency, we have had to make some tough decisions.”
Jones said the safety of attendees from in and out of state would be a concern, even with a scaled-back event.
The last time the unique Sussex County tradition was canceled was in 1942 and 1946 due to World War II, according to the letter.
Return Day is held two days after Election Day and is an opportunity for political opponents to “bury the hatchet” and participate in a parade. While exactly when Return Day began is unknown, it's been celebrated in Georgetown since at least the 1800s.
Delaware's own former vice president and now presidential candidate Joe Biden has ridden in the Return Day parade many times. He last made an appearance in 2012.
This year’s Return Day was scheduled for Nov. 5.