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Return Day Parade in Georgetown

2 Days of Fun and Delaware Tradition

The History of Return Day

Although the date of the first RETURN DAY in Georgetown is uncertain, it could have been as early as 1792. The State Law in 1791 removing the County seat from Lewes along the Coast to the a more geographically centered site, later named Georgetown, required all votes to be cast in the new County Seat on election day. The same voters would “return” two days later to hear the results – hence the name RETURN DAY. In 1811, voting districts in the individual hundreds were established, but the Board of Canvassers presided over by the Sheriff would still meet two days later in Georgetown to announce the final tally.

History of the Ox Roast

According to the HISTORY OF DELAWARE by J. Thomas Sharff written in 1888, RETURN DAY was “one of the customs peculiar to the people of Sussex, from time immemorial,..holding a high carnival on the day when the results of the election are announced” “Booths, stalls and stands are erected near the courthouse, where all kinds of edibles, such as opossum and rabbit meat, fish and oysters, can be procured. The women, who constitute a considerable portion of the crowd, are generously treated to cakes, candies and the best the booths afford.” In the tradition of the 19th century booths, OX ROAST SANDWICHES fresh from an all night open pit barbecue are distributed to the throngs attending RETURN DAY at no charge.

Wednesday evening-music at the Circle and roasting of an ox for sandwiches during the parade!

Thursday, the Return Day Parade will start around 1:30pm.

For complete schedule of Return Day activities, etc., http://www.returnday.com.

Return Day is recognized as the only event of its kind in the nation!!!  Vendors, music, candidates ‘burying the hatchet’, and much more.


Nov 09 - 10 2022


All Day

More Info



Georgetown, DE

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