Written by Vanessa Junkin Staff Writer
Each Halloween, children collect candy as they go trick-or-treating. But at Selbyville’s annual Halloween parade, residents can take part in a different type of collection by donating used eyeglasses or prescription sunglasses to those who need them.
For the second year, the theme is “Sight Night,” said Bruce Schoonover, who handles publicity for the Fenwick Island Lions Club, a co-sponsor of the event with the town of Selbyville.
Schoonover and Fran Pretty, parade chair, said members of the Indian River High School Leo Club will gather eyeglass donations to benefit those in third-world countries.
The first Halloween parade in Selbyville was more than 60 years ago, Pretty said.
“It’s just a long-lasting tradition here in Selbyville,” said Selbyville Town Administrator Robert Dickerson, who has been attending the event since roughly 1980.
Schoonover said he’s spoken with someone who remembered purchasing war bonds at the event back in the 1940s.
Pretty said the Fenwick Island Lions Club became involved four years ago, after the Selbyville Lions Club — which had served as co-sponsor for many years — disbanded.
The parade has a friendly, hometown atmosphere, Dickerson said.
“(My favorite part is) just seeing the excitement of the kids that are participating in the parade,” Dickerson said. “They really look forward to it.”
Roughly 25 floats, which can be antique cars or something else other than traditional floats, are normally part of the event, including local merchants, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, majorettes and gymnasts, Pretty said.
Performing in the parade will be marching bands from IRHS, Sussex Technical High School, Sussex Central High School and Stephen Decatur High School along with Steel the Show, a steel drum band from Southern Delaware School of the Arts.
John Syphard, a seventh and eighth grade social studies teacher at SDSA who is director and manager of Steel the Show, said the band won for “best float” for their performance last year.
Syphard said hearing the band’s name called at the judges’ booth and being with an enthusiastic crowd are highlights of performing in the parade with Steel the Show. The band includes about a dozen students, many of which are new this year.
“I like (this parade) ’cause it’s local and the crowd’s fairly appreciative of it,” Syphard said.
The parade starts off with a kid costume contest. Participants should be at Salem United Methodist Church by 6 p.m.
The Lions Club has been selling 50-50 raffle tickets for the past few months and raffle tickets will be for sale at the parade as well.
Ticket sales, at $1 per ticket or $5 for six, reimburse the school bands’ bus transportation to the parade, she said.
The Lions Club and the Selbyville Volunteer Fire Department each have food for sale.
Pretty said she enjoys working with the community and helping put on this family-oriented event.
“I think it brings the community together and it highlights what a small hometown is like,” she said.