There’s been a little confusion in coastal Sussex County when it comes to a hugely popular holiday event.
WonderFest got underway in 2016 and was a success from the get-go – raising a total of $800,000. A portion of proceeds is used to provide grants to nonprofits.
In recent years, the popularity of holiday villages and displays has grown, thanks in part to more people visiting Christmas markets in Europe and U.S. cities
Along with the Sussex, success came traffic issues around the Hudson Fields area off Coastal Highway in the Rehoboth area.
This year, WinterFest became a drive-through event with a new configuration that does not lead to backups that clog highways and make access difficult for neighboring residential areas.
The parking at Hudson Fields for the holiday village is now used for vehicles driving through the light display.
The goal for Wonderfest is to use this year’s proceeds to bring back the village and ice rink next year at a permanent site, with the light show remaining at Hudson Fields.
That brings us to the confusion over Schellville.
Coastal Sussex developer and homebuilder Schell Brothers wanted to retain its holiday village, train, beer garden, etc.
Schellville is now located at a tract behind the Tanger Outlets on Coastal Highway.
Attendance at both locations is free with contributions accepted.
In the case of Schellville, proceeds go to the Harry K Foundation and its mission of feeding hungry children.
Attendance is to Schellville is capacity controlled via free tickets. There have been sellouts in the early going as well as rave reviews.
A social media post from Wonderfest explaining the separation made it clear that there is no bad blood between the originator and the spin-off.
“We wish them the best with their spin-off event, and encourage everyone to visit them behind Tanger Outlet,” the post stated.
In the meantime, Coastal Sussex has two holiday attractions that extend its visitors’ season into winter.. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.