Jun 302011

Published by Coastal Point

This Monday, the 28th Annual Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade will take to the streets in downtown Bethany. Each year, T-shirt sales and local benefits help raise funds to put together the summertime celebration, but one event, in particular, has had more and more participants lacing up and hitting the road. The third annual Firecracker 5K and 3K walk saw a record number of participants this past Sunday, helping to sustain the financial support of the parade.

“We were thrilled with this year’s turnout,” said Greg Mavraganis, coordinator of the Firecracker 5K. “It’s still a relatively new event, but I think we’re starting to see what it can become. The participants continue to increase each year. The first two years were great, but to increase to 350 participants in the third year is more than we expected.”

In the Firecracker 5K’s inaugural run in 2009, 200 participants came out, then 60 more registered in 2010. This year, 350 runners and walkers represented 13 different states. Maryland contributed the most, with 95 participants. Delaware was right behind with 90, while 71 came from Pennsylvania and 47 from Virginia. Their ages ranged from 6 to 70, and while plenty of newcomers tried their hands (and feet) at the race, numbers showed that newcomers played a big role in the participation jump.

“I think it reflects the community support that exists in Bethany Beach,” said Mavraganis, “and that is why we wanted to start the event in the first place. Bethany’s July 4th parade is a terrific event – a real tribute to the town and our country. The parade director [Phil Rossi] and I are happy that the race has been well received.”

Several of the runners and walkers showed up with family members participating, as well. One family even had 10 registered participants.

“Those trends are great to see,” Mavraganis added, “because that is the vision for this event – a family-friendly activity that can develop into a July 4th tradition. I grew up decorating my bike for the parade and watching the fireworks on the beach with my family and cousins. If we can build an event for family and friends to participate in each year, then that will be very rewarding. And at the same time, we’ll be supporting the parade.”

The Firecracker 5K recognized and awarded the top five male and top five female finishers, overall. The top five male finishers, all who came in under 19 minutes, were: Phil Cook (17:09), Dan Moroney (17:15), Michael Montano (17:38), Victor Schultz (17:55) and David Fedor (18:59). The top female finishers were Alexis Hatcher (20:36), Emily Fox (21:09), Liz Gregorio (22:16) and Sara Benfor (22:29).

Cook has won the event, overall, in all three years and has improved significantly since the start. In 2009, he came in first with a winning time of 18:24, then 17:56 in 2010. Cook currently holds the course record with his time this past Sunday of 17:09.

“This large turnout creates some optimism for next year, too,” said Mavraganis. “Although it’s a long way off, I’m hopeful that the community will continue to support the race. Do I think 400 is within reach for 2012? Last month I probably would have said ‘no,’ but after having 350 last week, it’s certainly an exciting possibility!”

The 28th Annual Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade will take place this Monday, July 4, starting in downtown Bethany Beach at noon. Music, games and fun will continue throughout the day, leading up to the Bethany Beach fireworks display at dusk.

Jun 232011


Published by: Coastal Point

Since the inaugural Firecracker 5K hit the streets in Bethany Beach three years ago, proceeds have benefited the Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade, and race coordinator Greg Mavraganis is at it again. This Sunday, June 26, participants can give back to an ongoing tradition in the 3rd Annual Firecracker 5K in Bethany Beach.

“Our first two years went very well,” said Mavraganis. “Members of the Bethany Beach council, police department and the parade committee have been a great help, and executive chief of the parade, Philip Rossi, has been very supportive.”

In its debut in 2009, the Firecracker 5K saw 200 participants, and it grew by 60 in 2010.

“This year,” said Mavraganis, “we’re hoping to break the 300 mark. We want to continue with the increase in runners and participants and provide something for the whole family.”

Registration for the race costs $20 and will be open at 7 a.m. on Sunday, June 26, at the Bethany Beach bandstand, with the run beginning at 8 a.m. sharp, rain or shine. Non-refundable checks can be made out to Bethany Beach 5K.

The course will wind through Bethany Beach’s residential neighborhoods, along the coastline. Prizes will be awarded to the top five male and female finishers. The first 150 entrants will receive a commemorative T-shirt, as well. A 9 a.m. post-race award ceremony will take place at the bandstand. New this year, a 3K walk will also be available Sunday morning for those wishing to participate.

The Bethany Beach 28th Annual Fourth of July Parade will take place on Monday, July 4, at noon in downtown Bethany Beach. Registration for floats, bikes and walkers in the parade will run from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. the morning of July 4.

Events will also include the 23rd annual Horseshoe Throwing Contest and the second annual Blueberry Pie Eating Contest, sponsored by Ruthie’s Bethany Beach Bakery, and will conclude with a concert on the bandstand at 7:30 p.m. A fireworks display, sponsored by M&T Bank, will be on Monday, July 4, at dusk. (Pick up the Coastal Point next week for additional information about the upcoming parade and events.)

“My family has been coming to the Bethany area for 20 years or so,” said Mavraganis. “We thought it would be great to combine a 5K with the existing July 4th festivities. It really reflects on the family atmosphere of the holiday. The first Firecracker 5K coincided with the 25th anniversary of the parade, and I thought it was a great way for visitors and the community to show their support. We have a beautiful, scenic course on flat land. It should be a lot of fun for everyone.”

For more information about the race, find the Bethany Beach 5K on Facebook, or visit http://bethanybeach5k.wordpress.com for a downloadable and printable registration form.

Jun 172011

Published by DelmarvaNow.com

BETHANY BEACH — Preparations are under way for the 28th annual Fourth of July celebration in Bethany Beach.

The theme is this year’s parade is the U.S. Constitution. The parade will also honor the State of Delaware, as it was the first state to ratify the Constitution. Registration for floats, bikes and walkers will be held from 9-11 a.m. July 4. There is no preregistration available.

The annual horseshoe throwing and blueberry pie eating contests will coincide with the celebration. The night will be capped with fireworks at dusk and a concert at the bandstand.

Official Bethany Beach parade T-shirts are available on the Bethany Beach boardwalk on weekends and on nights of bandstand entertainment. Beginning June 20, T-shirts will be sold every evening. Proceeds benefit the parade.

The third annual Bethany Beach Firecracker 5K scheduled for 8 a.m. June 26 will also benefit the parade. Entry forms are available at Town Hall and at the T-shirt table.