Wicomico’s 150th birthday party is Friday evening

Construction scaffolding will be gone and the clock tower on the Wicomico County Courthouse will look new when it is officially lit on Friday evening.

Some lucky youngster attending 3rd Friday this week in Downtown Salisbury will be chosen from the crowd to flip the switch, illuminating the Wicomico County Courthouse from the ground skyward.

The up-lighting ceremony at 7:45 p.m.  will commemorate the county’s 150th anniversary. It will coincide with the county-sponsored Brothers of the Brush beard-growing contest and regular 3rd Friday activities, beginning at 5 p.m. Downtown.

Lighting the courthouse was the idea of Mike Dunn, CEO of the Greater Salisbury Committee.

“The Greater Salisbury Committee is 50 this year. As our gift to the community on turning 50, we spearheaded this. I took the idea to (County Executive) Bob Culver last fall and he loved the idea,” Dunn said.

Three sides of the courthouse will be lit every night, the north, front and south. Lights will be white when activated on Friday, but Dunn said the system has the capability to also feature colored lights.

Dunn said he starting thinking about lighting the courthouse when he heard someone at a city meeting mention the courthouse in Savannah, Ga., is lit and looks “striking.”
The project cost $30,000 and is being paid for by grants from the Richard A. Henson Foundation, Greater Salisbury Committee Foundation and its gala on Saturday night at Salisbury University. Tickets cost $150 each and $50 from each ticket will go toward the cost of the lights.

The county provided in-kind donations, such as laying conduit under the sidewalk, Dunn said.

Work is being completed by Yard Designs.

At 3rd Friday, Mayor Jake Day will portray George Washington. Delmar Mayor Bunky Luffman will dress as James Madison and there will be others in costume, keeping with the Time Warp theme.

Judging for best beards, among 30 contestants in six categories — fasting growing, moustache, partial, full, most unusual and worst — will be at 7 p.m., with plaques and gift bags awarded.

Steve Miller, Director of the county’s Recreation, Parks and Tourism Department, who grew a thick beard and entered the fastest growing beard category, said it’s been fun going from clean shaven to bearded.

“After the contest, I’ll keep it but I’ll shave it down,” he said.

His department is pleased to be part of the celebration that has sparked interested in local tours.

Albert Tingle


“The community has rallied together.  We have one man in the beard contest who participated 50 years ago, Albert Tingle. He’ll be there Friday. As far as the beard contest goes, we wanted to have some fun with it,” Miller said.

Jamie Heater, Director of the city’s Arts & Entertainment District, said she, too, is looking forward to the celebration.

“We’ll have a lot of people dressed up in costume. There will be lots of ways to let your imagination run wild,” she said, “and you’ll bet to see crazy beards.”


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