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November 14, 2006     Cape Gazette
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November 14, 2006

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26 - CAPE GAZETTE - Tuesday, November 14 - Thursday, November 16, 2006 Return Day: time to 00:ilthe . . 'i i By Ron MacArthur together In carnages, burying of the hatchet Cape Gazette staff Steve Hammond, emcee for the Return Day ceremony i n Georgetown, said it b when he started off the Sussex County - dition with the words: "It doesn't get better than this."  With spring-like temperatures un regal blue skies, amid the Orange and go en trees on The Circle, Return Day 2006 has been placed in the history books It was time for another Biden (Beau) to make his debut on the political scene and a new sheriff, Eric Swanson, to arrive in town Return Day dates back to at least 1792, but historians are not positive of the exact year the event started. Before modern times, residents heard returns two days after the election on Return Day in the county seat, which was moved from Lewes to Georgetown. The state's first county seat is remembered when sand from Lewes is used to bury the hatchet Although no official estimates of the Thursday, Nov. 9, crowd were available, Rosalee Walls, the chairman of the event in beach sand, reading of the Sussex elec- tion results by the town crier, and daydong parties all make up the Return Day tridi- tion. As tradition dictates, the chairs of the leading political parties bury the hatchet. This Return Day, Shirley Price, Democratic Committee; Bill Lee, Republican Committee; Jack Dalton, Libertarian Party; and Wolfgang Von Bamgard, Independent Party, joined hands to bury the hatchet and sit together to watch the parade. Frank Caiio, the state's election commis- sioner who lives in Laurel and has been coming to the event since he was young boy, said Return Day is all about tradition. He said everyone used to ride in carriages and then attend lavish parties in private homes in Georgetown. The lavish parties have been replaced by open houses at attor- ney and other professional offices and only the politicians ride in Nutter Marvel car- riages, but for the most part, the Return Day tradition has remained unaltered for more than 200 years. "You feel like you are stepping back in since 1990, said it was the best weather an6 history by taking part in Return Day," Calio biggest crowd she has seen since she tookll said, ,'Youget to see people you haven't over as president of the Return Day .tt!slikeafiomoming. It's really not Committee. " -: polities usual to see Democrats and::' The oxen roast, th6 long parade filled Republicans together. It's really great." with political winners and losers riding And of course, Calio said, each Return on '08 ' Ron MacArthur photo On a picture-perfect day, people share a Sussex County tradition as they enjoy the unseasonable weather on The Circle. Day is a time for politicians to start postur- ing for the next election. "You start to get a little clue for what is next," he said "Rumors start to fly. It's a good time for potential candidates tQput up a trial bal- At the top of the list is the potential race of Lt. Gov. John Carney against Jack Markell, the state treasurer, for the gover- nor's seat in 2008. And U.S. Rep. Mike Castle supporters were already sporting "Mike Castle '08" buttons putting to rest any rumors that the v&eran Republican would retire from his Congressional seat after his eighth term. Mayors toss the hatchet Before the parade, several mayors took part in the Hatchet Throwing Contest. Defending champion and former Seaford Mayor Danny Short walked up to the throwing line and landed a bull's eye on the stump near the old courthouse just off The Circle. Other mayors taking part had a hard time hitting the target. Dagsboro Mayor Wayne Baker finally hit the wood on his second shot to win the traveling trophy and brag- ging rights for the year. Georgetown Mayor Mike Wyatt, who ini- tiated the event during the rainy 2004 Returrl Day, said he wasn't out to win the inaugural event. "But this year, I'm out for blood - all bets are off," he said, as the Ron MacArthur photo Dagsboro Mayor Wayne Baker lines up a throw in the mayor's hatchet toss competition during Return Day. He ended up the winner of the con- test. crowd moved back from the throwing line. Jim Fuqua, an onlooker and the town's attomey, thought that was a good thing. "There is a liability issue here," he said with a laugh. In any case, the crowd did move back whe n Wyatt took the hatchet in Continued on page 27 [] Ron MacArthur photo U.S. Sen. Tom Carper is one of the first to leave the stage and work the crowd to thank supporters sitting along the parade route on The Circle in downtown Georgetown. Wine Ron MacArthur photo Rep. Tina Fallon, R-Seaford, waves to the crowd as grand marshal of the 2006 Return Day Parade. Fallon is retiring from her seat after serving 28 years in the State House.