going to return day

So here's the thing: If you grew up in a tiny state called Delaware, like I did, you grew very accustomed to people asking what state you were from. And still they ask: everyone thinks it's somewhere near Vermont, when (in case you didn't know) it's south of DC. As in, my dad's farm is ON the Mason-Dixon line. So anyway, one develops either an inferiority complex, or else a huge amount of state pride due to the fact that you live in a tiny (600,000 people!) state where they throw pumpkins for fun and eat something called scrapple. For me it's the latter. And my favorite tradition of all is Return Day. 
See, Georgetown, DE, is the county seat. And in the 1700s, when Delaware was settled, since there was no radio or newspapers, people came to the county seat two days after the election to hear the returns. Well, Georgetown has kept the tradition going, and turned it into a big production with a ceremonial burying of the hatchet and free ox sandwiches. The highlight is the parade to which all the candidates are invited and they then ride in antique horse carriages together in a show of unity. (The carriages were collected by this gentleman.) 
So anyway, when we owned the restaurant in Georgetown, we would be open that day and it was the single busiest day of the year. I haven't been back in a few years, but I've long wanted to go and just take pictures. 
Well, there's one other tiny detail. You know Joe Biden? Senior senator from Delaware and now vice-president-elect? Well, he has gone to every Return Day since he's been in office (30 or so years) so he wasn't planning on missing this one. 
I almost didn't go just because I knew security would be such a hassle, but we did go, and got cold and wet in the drizzle, and loved it. My pictures aren't phenomenal (I'm hoping to go for the whole day next time, when it will be smaller and less strict) but they're mine, and they make me happy. 


am I the only one who thinks the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce need to rethink their address?
So am I the only one who thinks the Chamber of Commerce needs to rethink their site address? 

the parties started early in the law offices along main street
West Main Street in Georgetown is lined with old homes as well as homes that have been restored and turned into offices. On Return Day, most of those are hosting a party of some sort. This guy got started a little early on the beer. 

this is his country too
As always, I'm obsessed with the faces. 

you know, one day she too can be president
She got me thinking, but I'll save it for another post. 

and his

this is her country
Georgetown has a huge latino population, and we were right behind a hispanic family. I loved the fact that in this formerly veryvery racist area, these people are assimilating and adapting the cultures of dead white men to make them their own. 

I love a band!
Bands are the best part of parades! 

former delaware governor Mike Castle
This is former governor Mike Castle, and, on the right, former Governor Tom Carper. If you think it's weird that governors show up to be honorary grand marshalls in a podunk parade in a town of 5000 people, read this interview with Biden about life in The First State. Seriously, it's only three counties. 

another favorite float
For some reason I loved this car full of people wearing candidate masks. 

my favorite float
AlaskaWHERE? 

one of the amazing vintage carriages
One of the amazing carriages. 

more biden
This is my Biden shot. 

the vice-president elect
This is J's. He's very proud of it, and rightfully so. It's a decent picture. Fact: today I learned that primes are NOT good if you are smushed into a crowd and cannot move or change your angle at all. In such an instance, you need the flexibility of a zoom. Because of the strict security, though, I only brought the one lens. (Turns out I COULD have brought my camera bag. Ah, well.) 



So there you go. If you want to come out and witness this awesome tradition for yourself, there's always a spare couch!

Comments

Lily Pad PR said…
wow- those are great pictures, and what a great story about Return Day. I of course being sheltered in the mid-west and not yet having the glorious opportunity to visit the Beautiful New England countryside, soak up these "small" traditional stories from my NE gal pals :)
seriously... like a sponge :)

Looks like you had fun, and I'm glad you "returned to Return Day" (yeah, I'm a dork LOL)

Thank you SO much for sharing!
Porkchop said…
Btw, DE's population is now up t a smashing 734,000. (woot! WOOT!)

But our population is larger than Alaska, so hah Alaskawhere!

Awesome pictures.
Sheila said…
What a great tradition!
ambika said…
I saw these photos on your flickr but didn't know the story behind it. How quirky & neat. (& love the pic of the little girl in pink.)

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