Georgetown...The Home of Return Day

Georgetown might have been relegated to the long list of less notable County Seats across America, if it hadn't been for one event in particular. Actually one biennial event. Return DayThis event, this occasion, this historical observance makes Georgetown unique. It is Return Day.

Back in 1792, the first Return Day was held because State law required all votes for elective office to be cast at the County Seat. So every voter in the County came to Georgetown on Election Day to cast his ballot. Then the voters would return two days later to hear the count.

Eventually voting districts were established, but votes were still counted at the County Seat and the voters as well as the candidates would return to Georgetown to learn the results of the election two days before. All of these out of towners created a festive atmosphere and the winners naturally wanted to celebrate. Thus Return Day was born.

In modern times when the election winners are known before the polls close, Return Day is no longer needed. But Sussex Countians are traditional folks and still return to Georgetown every two years, two days after the election to hear the results and celebrate with parades, speeches, music, arts and an ox roast.

Although gathering at the County Seat was a typical way to learn who won an election in earlier times, only Sussex County continues the two hundred-year-old tradition.

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