Lewes Winter Fest “Barkfest” highlights Valentine’s Week Activities in Southern Delaware

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Popular family festival one of many reasons to visit the First State's Atlantic coastline this February

The Sixth Annual Lewes Winter Fest “Barkfest” is planned this year for the beautiful Lewes, Delaware, historic district on Feb. 10-11, the weekend before Valentine’s Day. A festival that organizers say has become much more “dog-centric” in recent years, it serves as the highlight event for the most romantic week of the year in southern Delaware.

The historic commercial district in the “First Town in the First State,” within view of the picturesque Lewes Harbor, will play host to the yearly event that gives Valentine’s Day visitors a chance to indulge in a truly unique southern Delaware festival.

Many businesses, restaurants and hotels will also be offering Valentine’s Day specials during the two-day festival, with many extending the special offers through the next week.

“We’re excited to once again showcase our area this year during a time that is considered to be our off-season, but it’s also a time to enjoy all that southern Delaware has to offer when the area is generally less crowded and more casual,” says Scott Thomas, executive director of Southern Delaware Tourism, the convention and visitor’s bureau for Sussex County, Delaware. “The Lewes Winter Fest has become a popular event in the area since 2006 and we’re excited to welcome visitors to this family festival again this year.”

Featuring a “yappy hour” the evening of Feb. 10 and the ever-popular pet pageant – with contests ranging from formal wear and leisure wear, to companion look alike and kids freestyle – on the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 11, the annual Lewes Winter Fest “Barkfest” is sure to once again be a family favorite festival in southern Delaware in 2012.

Other happenings in Delaware’s southernmost county during early to mid-February include the “Sailor’s Valentines” program on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at the nearby Indian River Lifesaving Station, a historic part of the United States Lifesaving Service nestled on the beach just south of Dewey Beach.

Dating back to the 1800s when sailors often spent months away from home, participants can create valentines by making a mosaic of tropical seashells mounted in a wooden frame or box. The program will last between 90 and 120 minutes, and the cost is $15 per person, for ages 10 and up.

In Dewey Beach, the annual Winter Gala will be held on Saturday, Feb. 18, beginning at 8 p.m. An annual formal event to benefit the resort town’s police officers and lifeguards, the theme for this year’s event is “Mardi Gras.”

Billed by organizers as “Delaware’s biggest beach party of the winter,” the annual gala will feature two floors of entertainment, an open bar, themed bars, a food station, an auction and raffle, and live music.

The Rehoboth Beach Convention Center will also host the popular Merchant’s Attic and Public Garage Sale from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11.

In conjunction with the area’s festivals, and to help celebrate the Valentine’s Day holiday, many of southern Delaware’s hotels and restaurants will also be offering special rates and packages during the month of February.

Take advantage of the area’s many overnight Valentine’s packages. From Rehoboth Beach’s romantic Boardwalk Plaza hotel and the nearby Bellmoor Inn and Spa, to Lewes’s Hotel Blue and specials at many of the area’s fine restaurants, mid-February is becoming an increasingly popular time to visit southern Delaware’s resort areas.

For more information on happenings in southern Delaware this February, visit http://www.visitsoutherndelaware.com/Valentine_Getaways.htm.

Southern Delaware Tourism supports and encourages the identification, development and promotion of sustainable, year-round tourism in Southern Delaware that contributes to economic growth and improves the quality of life. For more information, call Southern Delaware Tourism at 302-856-1818 or visit their website, http://www.visitsoutherndelaware.com.


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James Diehl
Southern Delaware Tourism
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