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10 of our favorite places to go

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After the worst winter in recent memory, who isn’t ready for some beach time? The new summer season is already underway in Rehoboth Beach, Del. Here are 10 of our favorite places to go and things to do in D.C.’s very own gay beach getaway.

1. Visit CAMP Rehoboth, 37 Baltimore Ave. From poker tournaments and film festivals to AA meetings and mental illness support groups, Rehoboth’s LGBT community center, which turns 20 this year, has something for everyone.

2. Have dinner at Blue Moon, 35 Baltimore Ave. You’ve been there a million times for happy hour and karaoke, but did you know the Moon is also one of the best restaurants in town?

3. Enjoy live music or a DJ at the Frogg Pond, First & Rehoboth Avenue. The Pond isn’t just a popular lesbian bar. It’s a welcoming place for everyone and home to regular live music performances and DJs.

4. Hit the beach. Poodle Beach, at the south end of the boardwalk, is popular with gay men, but don’t forget North Shores and the state park a short drive away (destateparks.com). It’s quieter and, if you know a local with a four-wheel drive, you can ride right onto the sand (with the proper permit) with your cooler, grill and fishing pole.

5. Margaritas at Mariachi, 14 Wilmington Ave. After a hot day on the sand, there’s no better way to cool off than with a margarita on the second-floor outdoor deck at Mariachi. Owner Yolanda and her attentive staff will take good care of you. Be sure to request the corner table with unobstructed ocean views.

6. Rent a bike and get out of town. Most visitors never leave the town of Rehoboth, but there’s more to see. Rent a bike, cross Route 1 and explore the bay and marshes. Or ride one of the several trails, like the Junction & Breakwater or nature trail at Gordon’s Pond. Dewey Beach is just a mile or so down Route 1 and Lewes is a short ride with its own restaurants and quaint shops.

7. Happy hour at Aqua, 57 Baltimore Ave. The outdoor deck and shirtless servers attract crowds throughout the season. Get there on the early side, because a long line forms most weekends.

8. Shop, shop, shop. Rehoboth’s many and varied shops are the other main attraction besides the beach. This year saw the closing of Lambda Rising, but another LGBT store has opened across the street, Proud Bookstore, owned by former Lambda employee Jocques LeClair (on Baltimore Avenue in Village by the Sea). There are home decorating, clothing, art and other shops (many of them gay-owned), so spend time perusing the locally owned stores before hitting the outlets on Route 1.

9. People watching and Bloodys at Purple Parrot, 134 Rehoboth Ave. The gay-owned Parrot is popular all week, but our favorite time to go is Sundays. Grab one of the six-top tables in front along with a Bloody Mary and watch the beachgoers on Rehoboth Avenue. The good food, friendly service and always-upbeat music make for a memorable way to end the weekend.

10. Have your photo taken by Tony Burns. If your photo hasn’t appeared in Letters from CAMP Rehoboth, then you’re not going out enough. Tony has been documenting Rehoboth’s social scene for 30 years and will be honored this weekend for his dedication — and for the donation of his incomparable photo collection to CAMP Rehoboth.

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Disco Funk Brunch at Crazy Aunt Helen’s

Tara Hoot and DJ Phil Reese perform

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Tara Hoot and DJ Phil Reese (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Drag queen Tara Hoot and DJ Phil Reese perform at the biweekly Disco Funk Brunch at the LGBT-owned Crazy Aunt Helen’s on Sunday. For future showtimes, go to crazyaunthelens.com. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

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Blade’s summer closing party set for Sept. 17 in Rehoboth

Benefits journalism scholarship

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Rehoboth Beach Museum, Joe Maggio Realty, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade file photo by Daniel Truitt)

The Washington Blade’s 15-year tradition of hosting a summer kickoff party in Rehoboth Beach was disrupted due to COVID restrictions. In lieu of that May event, the Blade is hosting a summer closing party on Friday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. at The Pines (56 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, Del.). 

Tickets are $20, which includes two drinks and appetizers. The event benefits the Blade Foundation’s Steve Elkins Memorial Journalism Fellowship, a 12-week program in which an LGBTQ student journalist covers stories of interest to Delaware’s queer community each summer. 

All COVID safety protocols will be followed, including a requirement that attendees furnish proof of vaccination to gain entry. 

If you are unable to attend you can make a donation to the Blade Foundation at BladeFoundation.org. Sponsors of the event include Delmarva Power and The Pines.

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Rehoboth to close out summer with SunFest

Series of events to replace long-running Sundance due to pandemic

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This year’s Sundance in Rehoboth is renamed SunFest and will look different from this scene in 2019 due to the pandemic. (Blade file photo by Daniel Truitt)

SunFest will feature a week of live performances, dances, and a live auction, sponsored by non-profit LGBTQ+ center CAMP Rehoboth.

The weeklong festival runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 5 and is a change from the annual SunDance that CAMP Rehoboth has sponsored since 1988. This transformation began last year when the event was forced to go digital due to the coronavirus and the in-person events scheduled this year are important, according to development director and co-coordinator of SunFest Anita Broccolino.

“We love that community feel and the in-person makes all the difference in the world for us. Not being able to do it last year just reminded everyone how important we all are to one another,” Broccolino said. “I think that bringing back these events this year is just huge for us and it will be extra celebratory as a result.”

The festival begins with a 5k race and online auction opening on Sunday. Monday night features a give-back event at Iron Hill Brewery while Tuesday’s agenda is still to be determined, said Broccolino. Diego’s will host a Studio 54 give-back dance party on Wednesday and Thursday is the Port 251 women’s give-back. 

Live performances featuring the Skivvies, Randy Harrison and Diane Huey are scheduled for Friday night and Jennifer Holiday will follow with a performance on Saturday night, both at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. The festival closes out Sunday with auction pick-ups and Fun in the Sand and Sun, according to the CAMP Rehoboth website.

This event is also important to the organization’s contributions to the community, said Broccolino.

“The essential services we provide for free to the community, which is a huge amount of health and wellness activities, as well as arts programming, a lot of youth programming and the community counts on us for those things. We never stopped during COVID, we made as much as we could virtual, but we took quite a hit not being able to raise those funds and awareness of the programs,” Broccolino said. “We invite the entire community to come celebrate with us and make it to Rehoboth Beach, and let’s make it joyful, and wonderful and make sure we’re living up to the standards of all the people who helped found CAMP Rehoboth and live up to their legacy and beyond.”

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