For the first time since World War II, the post-election festivities surrounding Return Day in Georgetown will not be bringing the candidates and thousands of others to the Sussex County seat on Thursday, November 5th.
In a letter to Return Day committee members, support agencies and members of the community, Sussex County Return Day President Debbie Jones wrote that work was underway to plan for this year’s event in hopes that coronavirus would be a “thing of the past” by the fall.
However, keeping in mind the current regulations and the extension of the State of Emergency, Jones wrote “we have had to make some tough decisions.”
Thought was also given to a scaled back event, but organizers believe safety concerns would be just as serious.
“Thereore, it is with extreme sadness, but out of concern for the health and safety of all, that we have decided to POSTPONE this year’s Return Day event that was scheduled for November 05, 2020,” Jones wrote.
The date of the first Return Day in Georgetown is uncertain, according to the event’s website. It could have been as early as 1792. Voters would “return” to the county seat two days after election day to hear the results read by a town crier.
That tradition continued every election year, along with the parade of winning and losing candidates sitting side-by-side in horse-drawn carriages. A hatchet is ceremonially buried in sand, and the victors, the vanquished and the spectators enjoy roast beef sandwiches and other delicacies.
Historically, the last time Return Day was not held was during World War II between 1942 and 1946.