Three busy weekends comprise Decorating Delmarva’s fourth season

28 HEART paige Hales decorating delmarva

Volunteer Paige Hales monitors Frosty’s Snow Ball Contest as a youngster tries his luck in this game at the 2014 Decorating Delmarva HolidayFest. (Sussex County Post/Glenn Rolfe).

DELMAR, DE – With some revision, the fourth edition of Decorating Delmarva HolidayFest takes center-stage for nine nights spanning three weekends in December.

This year’s festival runs Dec. 4-6, Dec. 11-13 and Dec. 18-20.

Again, there will be a non-profit outdoor display area, open to fire companies, schools, non-profit organizations, churches and charitable groups.

Prizes will be awarded for the top five places determined by patron votes, with $2,000 for first place, $1,200 for second, $850 for third, $750 for fourth and $500 for fifth.

Santa’s Village/House, a heated 5,000-square-foot building on the grounds of Delaware International Speedway and U.S. 13 Dragway, will be the beehive for entertainment, games and activities.

Various dance and singing groups, choirs and school groups will provide seasonal entertainment.

This year, the number games – for kids and adults – will increase from four to eight.

There is also an activity center provided by the Wicomico County Tourism Department.

Santa Claus will be there all nine nights and patrons are encouraged to bring their cameras for free photos of children with Santa.

Frosty the Snowman will return with his snowball hunt for prizes.

Just outside Santa’s Village, the fire pits will be stoked, providing warmth and opportunities for roasting marshmallows.

Each weekend will showcase a separate theme or event.

The second week, Dec. 11-13, has a patriotic salute in support of Operation We Care – an all-volunteer, non-profit organization formed in 2003 whose mission is to support America’s troops.

“We are asking businesses to donate decorated Christmas trees, which will be auctioned off. All of the proceeds will go to Operation We Care,” said Mark Cathell, co-founder of Create 1 Dream Foundation with wife Denise.

Create 1 Dream Foundation presents the festival along with sponsors and support from the Cathell family, which owns the Delaware International Speedway/U.S. 13 Dragway complex.

The final weekend, Dec. 18-20 features Santa’s Sendoff Party for his trip back to the North Pole. Festivities include games, activities and contests geared around children. On Decorating Delmarva’s final night, Sunday, Dec. 20, Santa Claus will bring two of his reindeer.

“Last year it was Dasher and Dancer; this year he’s going to bring Comet and Cupid,” said Mr. Cathell.

The opening weekend will feature a holiday arts and crafts fair. A variety of vendors will have for sale unusual holiday gifts, such as candles, home accents and home décor.

“It’s things that folks don’t find in your retail stores of the big shopping malls,” said Mr. Cathell.

Festival hours are 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Each night prizes will be given away.

Admission this year is $7 per car load.

“This makes Decorating Delmarva HolidayFest affordable fun for the entire family,” said Mr. Cathell.

And still in the works is the Ultimate Prize Give-A-Way, a grand finale event in previous years.

Decorating Delmarva opened in November 2012, geared toward supporting local schools, non-profits and charitable organizations. Through contests and give-a-ways, the festival has donated over $80,000 back to the community in the first three years.

This year, festival organizers are inviting businesses to put up a holiday display at no charge.

“Our concept has always been community built and bringing unity back to our communities,” Mr. Cathell said. “This year we are offering to any business on the Eastern Shore – Delaware, Maryland and Virginia – the opportunity to come out and put up some type of a holiday display or holiday theme. They can have their company name on it, and we will provide the electric. We will also have a contest – People’s Choice, voted on by the people that come through.”

The contest will determined who has the “most spirit businesswise on Delmarva.”

Trophies for this contest will be awarded on the final night, Dec. 20.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at

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