Festive Fourth at Fat Daddy’s

Brenda Lee “Mama” Frey, Fat Daddy’s BBQ and Grill co-owner, takes the stage to sing during the entertainment segment of the July Fourth celebration. Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe

GEORGETOWN — COVID-19 pandemic was temporarily upstaged as the top headline Saturday evening as America’s independence was celebrated at Fat Daddy’s BBQ & Grill with a concert and fireworks.

Popular Delmarva band Mike Hines & The Look performed before and after the fireworks, professionally launched by Bridgeville-based Brothers Pyro LLC.

The Fourth of July event, which as projected drew a maximum 800 patrons as was permitted through state approval, was the only known major public fireworks show in southern Delaware.

“Fat Daddy’s put Fourth of July on the map, baby!” proclaimed Brenda Lee “Mama” Frey, co-owner of the business with husband Jeff Frey. “You guys have showed up, showed off and made this a huge success.”

All other scheduled public fireworks shows scheduled in conjunction with the Fourth of July holiday period were cancelled due to restrictions and limitations in Gov. John Carney’s state of emergency declaration and modifications.

The event at Fat Daddy’s, which encompassed portions of the 32-acre parcel along Seashore Highway, was also in jeopardy, but an effort spurred by local legislators, including State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn resulted in a staging plan that was approved by the Delaware Division of Small Business late Friday afternoon.

The grand finale provided by Brothers Pyro LLC lights up the heavens during the July Fourth celebration at Fat Daddy’s BBQ & Grill near Georgetown.

Delaware State Police, Sussex County EMS paramedics, DelDOT and personnel and apparatus from Bridgeville and Seaford fire companies/departments were on site.

Saturday night’s show marked only the second public performance for Mike Hines & The Look since mid-March.

“We are definitely living in some crazy times,” said Mr. Hines. “Until last Sunday, we hadn’t had a show since March 13. A lot of places were closed down. I got a call from ‘Mama’ Frey about two or three weeks ago and she asked if we were playing anywhere. We already had so many dates switched. So we thought, ‘Do it,’ even though we still had our questions and our concerns, because we realize that coronavirus is real.

“I have several relatives that have it. One of my band members has a friend who almost died. So it is a tricky situation. So even though we are happy to be playing and celebrating on the Fourth of July, we want to do it safely.

“Brenda Lee and her hubby are great; they are wonderful,” Mr. Hines added. “We’re glad to be part of this wonderful celebration, with Fat Daddy’s BBQ.”

Their concert performance included some adjustments due to COVID-19 restrictions that require proper social distance.

With children on hand and in hand, Jen Mrok of Baltimore and her sister Michelle Tucker (back) of Federalsburg get into the patriotic spirit at Fat Daddy’s BBQ.

“Our main thing is interaction, so it is a different way of performing,” said Mr. Hines. “Last week we had our first show and it was hard for me to not high-five and hug and all that.”

Digital signage that welcomed patrons to the designated parking area flashed “Face coverings required.”

Michael McDaniel of Harrington attended the festivities with family, including 4-year-old grandson Soren. “I’m here because of the great food, the beer is cold and good fireworks,” he said.

“It’s the only show,” said Jodi Munro, who attended the event with husband Tom. “We love Fat Daddy’s and we love Mike Hines.”
“He puts on a good show,” said Mr. Munro.

Ms. Frey told the audience that the plan for next year is another July 4 event, saluting the men and women in America’s military, that will hopefully be even “bigger and better.”

A sign flashes the order of the day and night at Fat Daddy’s BBQ regarding the requirement for facial coverings except when eating or together with family.