Crivella to Retire from Beach Sweeping


Beach-sweeping legend Tony Crivella says this will be his final season cleaning the sands with his tractor and sweeper. Crivella got his start working for Catts in 1981 running one of the beach shacks in Dewey. In 1997, he became Dewey’s first beach cleaning service. Prior to that, Dewey contracted once with Rehoboth Beach, but it was too much for Rehoboth to handle.

“When I arrived in the morning to work the shack,” Crivella recalls, “I was impressed by how nice the beach looked. It stuck in my mind and I propositioned the town to retain my services in ’97.”

“It’s been a wild ride in my time,” he says, noting that he cleaned the beaches of not only Dewey but also Bethany, South Bethany, Sea Colony, Fenwick Island, the Cape Henlopen State Park’s Gordon’s Pond area when the tractor from Lewes couldn’t cross because of piping plover nests and he worked on numerous outside contracts with the Army Corps of Engineers.

“I still very much enjoy, and have much passion in getting up at early hours in the mornings [1:30 to 2 a.m.] and making the beach as pristine as possible,” he says. “As such, I never really had a real sabbatical or long vacation in the summer. My plan or goal is to travel.” His family’s ancestral home is Cefalù, a small seaside town in Sicily, Italy where the White Lotus Season 2 was filmed. “My dream for many years was to visit and perhaps I would like to spend four or five weeks visiting,” he said.

“I want to give thanks to the Town of Dewey Beach for the love and support over the years,” Crivella adds, “especially thanks to [town manager] Bill Zolper. I would like to offer to the town the opportunity to purchase my equipment; both the tractor and Barber Surf Rake are in the best of condition of my career.”

“Tony did more than sweep the beach,” says Zolper, who knew Crivella long before he became town manager. “He cared about the beach. Many early mornings he would contact me and provide beach/surf conditions, people sleeping overnight on the beach, and large dangerous objects… I knew Tony when he was working for Catts in the early ’80s when I was guarding in Rehoboth, he will truly be missed,” Zolper said.

He added that the Town of Dewey Beach will be looking to continue sweeping the beach during the summers.

Photos courtesy Tony Crivella, Dewey Beach Preservation & Raking 94