Five winners from among a nominee list of events, attractions, organizations and individuals have been chosen by an impartial panel to receive the 2023 Southern Delaware Tourism Awards. 

The awards were presented on Dec. 13, at the annual Southern Delaware Tourism Awards Luncheon held at The Lighthouse Cove Event Center in Dewey Beach. 

Best Event, Horseshoe Crab and Shorebird Festival: From left: Scott Thomas, Southern Delaware Tourism; Sussex County Councilman John Rieley; Karen Falk, Milton Chamber of Commerce; Bonnie Hall, Milton Chamber of Commerce; State Representative Ron Gray; Anne Brown, Milton Chamber of Commerce; Bill Pritchett, Friends of Prime Hook NWR: Sam Wieland, Milton Chamber/Dogfish Head; State Senator Russ Huxtable; Nitan Soni, Milton Chamber of Commerce; Sussex County Councilman Mark Schaeffer; Mike Vincent, Sussex County Council president.

Tourism is a $2.7+ billion industry in Sussex County. In fact, nearly 24,000 jobs in Sussex County are tourism related. And tourism revenue saves each Delaware household over $1,600 in taxes each year. 

This is due, in large part, to our geographical location and our five star beaches – but it’s also the result of a lot of initiative, creativity, planning and hard work by the many people and organizations who strive to keep up with evolving travel trends and to create and provide the types of attractions, events, activities and services that drive visitors to Sussex County. 

“This year’s voting was extremely close. All of this year’s nominees are very deserving of the award as their contributions help make Sussex County such a special and beloved destination,” said Scott Thomas, executive director, Southern Delaware Tourism. 

Winners were named in five categories in 2023 including Best New Event, Best Event, Best Attraction, Philanthropic Award and Tourism Legacy Award. 

The 2023 Southern Delaware Tourism Awards winners are: 

Best New Event Category: Winner: Rehoboth Beach Main Street’s Margarita Crawl.

Best Event Category: Winner: Milton Chamber of Commerce and Friends of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge Horseshoe Crab and Shorebird Festival. 

Best Attraction Category: Winner: Jolly Trolley.

Philanthropic Award Category: Winner: Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Tourism Legacy Award: Winner: Marie Mayor.