Lewes Christmas Parade dedicated to late Tom King

Event organizer was one of Lewes’ brightest lights
December 1, 2017

This year's annual Lewes Christmas Parade, presented by the City of Lewes and the Lewes Chamber of Commerce, will honor its longtime parade organizers Tom King of King's Ice Cream Shops and Dennis Forney of the Cape Gazette. This year marks King and Forney's 35th anniversary of collaborating to bring the magic of the holiday to the streets of Lewes.

Tom King lost his bravely fought, two-year battle with cancer Saturday, Nov. 25. In recognition of his contributions to one of Lewes' cherished community events, this year's parade is dedicated in King's memory. Both King and Forney served consecutively on the chamber's board as president in the early 1980s and took over responsibility for organizing the parade in 1982 when the number of entries had been dwindling.

Joining Forney in the grand marshal's vehicle on the evening of the parade will be Chris King, Tom's wife, and his brother Ben King. Both have been involved in the planning and implementation of the parade for as long as Tom was chairing it.

The parade will begin at 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, with an inclement weather date for the same time Dec. 9. For many years, the parade has had a designated theme but has always promoted itself as an old-fashioned parade. Recognizing that the parade entries have grown considerably since King and Forney took over organizing it, many of those entries also enter other towns' parades with different themes. The number of entries that actually used the theme was very small.

This year and in future years, the parade's theme will be Celebrating an Old-Fashioned Christmas in Lewes.

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories: Marching Group, Band, Clown, Equestrian, Decorated Classic Car (vintage 1967 or older), Decorated Vehicle (after 1967 or more recent), Fire Company, Commercial Float, Community Organization Float and Youth Organization Float. All entries need to be decorated. Entrants will be notified in a mailing Nov. 22 with their entry number and their parade lineup time.

The parade lineup takes place from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. The parade begins on Savannah Road at Sussex Drive and will end in front of King's Ice Cream Shop on Second Street. Entrants are asked to commit to the inclement weather date the following Saturday, if it is necessary.

After the parade, the tradition has been to officially illuminate the Christmas tree in Zwaanendael Park followed by candlelight caroling in the park, led by Christy Taylor with sound by Bill Larsen. This year, a new tradition is being established by the city's Parks and Recreation committee, which has made arrangements to have a fresh-cut tree moved into Zwaanendael Park between the museum and the Fisher-Martin House. The 30-foot tree is a Norway spruce donated by Liz Hudson of Milton. The tree-lighting ceremony will commence shortly after the last parade entry passes by the judges' reviewing stand in Zwaanendael Park.

The Christmas Parade is the culmination of a number of special events and activities associated with the celebration of Christmas weekend in Historic Lewes. Festivities kick off with the Lewes Merchants' 31st annual Hospitality Night from 5 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 30, in the historic commercial district surrounding Second Street, including the Zwaanendael Museum with extended hours.

Second Street will be closed to vehicular traffic from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday night. Santa will make a brief visit to his Lewes house in front of Citizens Bank that evening in advance of his arrival at the Lewes Christmas Parade on Saturday night. Each child who visits Santa that night will receive a special gift of "The Night Before Christmas," an original reproduction of the 1896 book, compliments of The Cottage vintage gift boutique located on Second Street across from Citizens Bank.

The Children's Beach House will host a Winter White Holiday Celebration benefit from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1. The benefit is open to the public. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 302-645-9184 or go to

Children's Beach House will host an art exhibit and sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, in the facility at 1800 Bay Ave.

The Lewes Historical Society's 44th Annual Christmas Tour of Lewes will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2. Also that day, Lewes in Bloom will host its 4th annual Christmas Market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at St. Peter's churchyard.

They will be selling live Christmas wreaths, bundled fresh greens, floral arrangements and Lewes in Bloom merchandise. St. Peter's Church will hold its annual soup luncheon from 11 a.m to 2 p.m., Saturday, in the parish hall, in conjunction with the Christmas Tour of Lewes. Tour goers are also invited to visit the Zwaanendael Museum to see the holiday decorations and current exhibits.

For more information, go to and click on the calendar tab.

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