Weekends in December are full of celebrating and shopping and eating and creating. All of those things, and more, are part of this year’s Weekend Wonderland events in Bethany Beach.
This year, there are four Saturdays in December before Christmas, and each one will be packed with activities at Bethany Beach businesses, around town and on the boardwalk.
“We’re very excited,” said Lauren Weaver, executive director of the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, which is facilitating the weekend events.
Weaver said Bethany Beach Ocean Suites stepping up as “presenting sponsor” allows for consistency in the activities throughout the four weekends, which she said she thinks will make the events even more accessible than they have been in the previous three years.
Weekend Wonderland rings in this holiday season on Saturday, Dec. 1, combining with the Town of Bethany Beach’s Holiday Happenings for a day of fun for everyone in the family.
The day’s activities start with Winter Story Time at Bethany Beach Books, featuring a story and a craft. To order tickets, go to https://www.bethanybeachbooks.com/story-times/. Tickets cost $5 for each child participating, and upon arrival at the store, tickets can be turned in for a $5 coupon toward the purchase of a book.
The Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt, which the Chamber debuted last year, is back this year with even more businesses participating. Shoppers can grab a bingo card from any of the 18 participating Bethany businesses (signified by posters in the store windows) and then get scavenging.
Participating businesses will have an elf displayed somewhere in their establishment, and visitors who locate the elf will receive a sticker for their bingo card. When they get bingo, they can turn in their card for a chance to win a prize.
Cards can be turned in after 4 p.m. each Saturday at Bethany Fine Arts Gallery, 100 Garfield Parkway, #4. Winners will be chosen in a drawing each week for prizes donated by local businesses.
Also on Saturday, Bethany Blues will host an Ugly Sweater Cookie Decorating Party from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; there is a $5 charge for each participant. Then, from 3 to 5 p.m., visitors can join Elsa and friends from “Frozen” at Tidepool Toys & Games on the boardwalk, as well as participating in a book-signing with author Michelle Meadows, who will be visiting the store.
At 5 p.m. on Dec. 1, the lighting ceremony for the Town’s holiday tree will be held, with caroling around the tree from 5 to 6 p.m. Additional caroling events will also be held at the tree, located on the boardwalk near the bandstand, on Dec. 8, 15 and 23, at 5 p.m. During the caroling, there will be an opportunity to drop off donations of canned goods and coats at a donation vehicle near the bandstand.
Santa will be busy during Weekend Wonderland. To find out exactly where he will be on a given Saturday, sign up for the Santa Tracker at www.thequietresorts.com. Signing up will generate emails with Santa’s schedule each week.
Also, for the first time this year, carriage rides will be offered each Saturday in December, from 1 to 4 p.m. Carriage rides will begin at the Loop Canal/Centennial Park at Pennsylvania Avenue and First Street.
Another new offering for Weekend Wonderland participants is “Shop, Dine & Save,” in which shoppers at businesses including 99 Sea Level, All about the Beach, Bethany Blues, Bethany Fine Arts Gallery, Fish Tales, Odysea and Japanesque can save by showing their shopping receipts at a participating restaurant or their dining receipts at a participating store.
Weaver said she and the Chamber staff are excited to kick off this year’s Weekend Wonderland activities. She said the planning process has been a collaboration between the Chamber and the businesses, with the Chamber acting as “facilitator” for discussions about logistics and bringing all the activities together for each of the four Saturdays.
For a complete list of Weekend Wonderland events, go to www.thequietresorts.com.
By Kerin Magill