Scramble leads to state approval for public fireworks event near Georgetown

GEORGETOWN — A 48-hour scramble for state approval has finalized a Fourth of July concert by Mike Hines & the Look and a public fireworks show Saturday evening at Fat Daddy’s BBQ, a popular eatery on a 32-acre parcel along Seashore Highway several miles west of Georgetown.

“We’re a go. We’re totally approved. Let’s do this,” Brenda Lee Frey, co-owner of the Fat Daddy’s with husband Jeff Frey, said late Friday afternoon.
Ms. Frey said state Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, among others, was instrumental in working out details with the Delaware Division of Small Business that will allow a three-hour main event with a maximum on-site capacity of 800 people.

The concert and fireworks show will run from 7 to 10 p.m.

“I have been working with the Division of Small Business with Damian DeStefano to try to outline how they can do that in a safe way,” said Sen. Pettyjohn. “They can have the people over there. They can maintain the social distancing. They can do whatever they need to do to have the event in a way that complies with the various modifications to the state of emergency that is currently out there.”

Sen. Pettyjohn announced Friday just before 5 p.m. that final approval from the state had been received.

Approval caps a rollercoaster week, Ms. Frey said.

“It’s been a hellish run and fight for 48 hours,” Ms. Frey said. “But guess what? Mama Frey has been approved to roll out. We’re doing this. We are in the 4th of July spirit. God bless the U.S.A.”

On June 30, Highway One’s planned fireworks show in Dewey Beach was cancelled.

That day, the Division of Small Business sent correspondences to Alex Pires of Highway One, and Brothers Pryo, the professional company providing fireworks for Fat Daddy’s event, stating that both events would not be allowed.

On July 1, word from the state was the event at Fat Daddy’s could not be held.

“Like Highway One in Dewey, that event (Fat Daddy’s) is also not being allowed,” said Division of Small Business spokesman Michael Chesney.

With the assistance of Sen. Pettyjohn, through numerous emails, a plan was put in place and details and requirements were ironed out.

“I have been in correspondence with Damian the last two days,” said Sen. Pettyjohn.

Ms. Frey said Delaware State Police and representatives of the fire service, EMS and DelDOT were on site Friday afternoon. “They gave us the, ‘We’re doing this,’” she said.

On site, there will be designated places to assemble to watch the show.
Facial covering/masks must always be worn, except in the company of one’s family. “Then you can breathe amongst your own family,” Ms. Frey said. “If you get up to go bathroom, if you get up to go to the concession stand … the restaurant, for any reason, you must have your mask on.”

Hand sanitizing stations will be located on the premises. Bathrooms will be cleaned and sanitized regularly.

“I have got everything in place. We are going to put these measures in place that we said that we would do, according to what they wanted us to do to be a safe environment for our people,” said Ms. Frey.

Again, there is a limit of on-site patrons.

“Eight hundred people, so, it’s first come first served,” Ms. Frey said.

Mike Hines will perform from 7 to about 9:15 p.m., and then return to the stage following the fireworks for a closing set.

The Frozen Farmer will be on hand offering cool treats. As a prelude to the main event, a disc jockey will entertain from 3 to 7 p.m.

“This is not a carnival. This is a not the fair atmosphere, so there really is no reason for people to just be walking around,” said Ms. Frey. “It’s 7 to 10 (p.m.) then we’re out.”