We have tons of great festivals every year in Southern Delaware, each one unique in its own way. But the tradition that is the Sussex County Return Day celebration stands out for many reasons, both for its uniqueness, as well as the underlying spirit that exemplifies this very special day in the First State!
First, Delaware's southernmost county is the only place in America that celebrates the end of each election cycle in such a unique and special way. As the ox is roasted on the spit, the results are announced, the county unites and the politicians "kiss and make up," the underlying theme of the day is, as it has always been, unity. It matters not who won and who lost - the election is over and its time to move on, working together to make Delaware the great state that it is.
Secondly, Return Day is a chance to show the nation how things can get done if we set aside our differences after the election is over and work with, not against, each other for the betterment of all concerned. It's no accident why Delawareans pay no sales tax, with property taxes based on early 1970s assessments and why the quality of life here is so high. After the people have spoken, and after Return Day has officially declared the election cycle over, it's time to come together as one. In Southern Delaware, the makeup of the Sussex County Council has changed dramatically from Democratic control to Republican control over the last few years. But, we still have a surplus in the budget each and every year, and it's because of the willingness to work together as one, which is a theme broadcast throughout Return Day.
Thirdly, it's tradition. Southern Delawareans are very in tune with tradition, and Return Day epitomizes those feelings. On Nov. 8, 2012, we celebrated the 200th anniversary of this unique gathering. And, when the hatchet was officially buried (literally, for those not familiar with the event), in the sands from Lewes Beach, the 2012 election cycle was officially declared over. It's time to move on - and we will!
Lastly, there is nowhere else in the country, maybe in the world, where political opponents ride together so close after the election as they do at Return Day. Togetherness rules the day, with winners and losers riding, or in some cases walking, together, agreeing as one to settle their differences and work together for the betterment of the state they all know and love. This is what Delaware is, and it's why the political landscape here is much more cordial than in over states.
In closing, Return Day is what is right with the world. It would be nice if we could have something similar to this enduring event on a national level, where everyone promises to work together for a better America. But, for now, you will just have to visit Southern Delaware to see how it COULD be done.
Return Day - only part of what makes Southern Delaware such a special place!