15 picks for your hot Jersey shore summer action
This is the summer that Atlantic City and the surrounding southern Jersey shore region has been waiting on for some time. Following the opening of Revel in Atlantic City over the busy Memorial Day weekend, the creation of a Tourism District Master Plan in Atlantic City earlier this year, and moves by the city, Gov. Chris Christie and the state (hence the cover!), the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and the newly formed Atlantic City Alliance, there is a lot to look forward to and Atlantic City officials are hoping for a successful season unlike one witnessed “down the shore” in years. The region’s work force and, of course, the multitude of tourists who will visit the area this summer are pumped; plans have gone into a plethora of entertainment options up and down the Jersey shore, and if Memorial Day weekend was any indication, Summer 2012 should be full of fun and surprises. Although it appears two of the planned Bader Field festivals, originally slated for September (one an Americana-themed fest, the other DJ/dance music) in A.C. will not be happening, there are still three festivals planned at the former air field: a three-night stint by the jam-band Phish (June 15-17); Metallica’s Orion Music + More festival (June 23-24) — see parking and traffic info — and the return of the Atlantic City Seafood Festival (Sept. 15-16). Here are some other things to check out this summer. We’re sure more will be announced.
1. Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival — Takes place July 26-29, at various locations at Caesars, Bally’s, Harrah’s Resort and Showboat. Celebrity chef participants include superstar chefs Paula Deen Anne Burrell, Robert Irvine, Aaron Sanchez, Buddy Valastro and Andrew Zimmern. For more details visit the food and wine tab at caesars.com.
2. Beach Bars — The Atlantic City beach bar scene has grown since last year, with a few new attractive additions. First, on Revel’s beach, you’ll have to see the Vegas-if-it-had-a-beach- inspired HQ Beach Club. The 45,000 square-foot Revel venue is complemented by a four-floor nightclub by night. Other new beach bars, joining Sammy’s Beach Bar at Bally’s and the Trump Plaza Beach Bar, include the Beach Bar at the Atlantic Club and the new Deck at the Golden Nugget (formerly Trump Marina). All offer outdoor excitement, spectacular views, good people-watching opportunities and entertainment.
3. Kenny Chesney Free in Wildwood (Read exclusive interview) — While we were waiting to hear if Kenny Chesney would be playing at Bader Field in September — turns out he ain’t — word came suddenly last week that the country-music superstar will be hitting Wildwood’s beach on Wednesday, June 20. The beach-lover will perform a free concert on the beach starting at 8:30pm. The concert takes place on the beach at Schellenger Avenue, south of Mariner’s Landing Pier. Even though the concert is free, fans must have a ticket to attend. Tickets are available to the general public through Ticketmaster.
4. The Atlantic Club — Formerly the Atlantic City Hilton, the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel debuted earlier this year with a focus on offering comfort and value. Along with free parking (self or valet!), the venue’s seven restaurants have new menus and reduced prices. The casino floor and Beach Bar have both been renovated and a live jazz series (at Ono restaurant) has been added, along with a live blues series at B.B.’s. Meanwhile, although not many shows have been announced for the Club’s main showroom, Sandra Bernhard, best-known for her stand-up comedy and acting, will perform there on July 14. Tickets are only $20!
5. Revel — The first Atlantic City casino built from the ground up since the Borgata in 2003, Revel boasts 14 total restaurants, 55,000 square feet of retail shops, three nightclubs, two live-entertainment venues, and more than 1,800 guest rooms, all complete with ocean views. The mega-resort, which is the first casino in A.C. to willfully go smoke-free, also includes the Sky Garden and In-Out Pool, which highlight the two acres of outdoor space. Revel also features a 32,000 square-foot spa and wellness center and 130,000 square feet of gaming floor. The impressive $2.4 billion beachfront property is definitely a must-see (and stay) this summer.
6. Golden Nugget — Under Landry’s Inc. and its spirited Texan CEO Tilman Fertitta, the Golden Nugget (formerly Trump Marina) underwent a $150 million renovation that includes several new restaurants such as The Chart House and Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse, a revamped showroom, new night spots with live entertainment, sexed up gaming areas and a classy spa. Through the end of July, the Nugget is housing a special art gallery featuring the work of Rolling Stones’ guitarist Ronnie Wood. If you were ever at Trump Marina, you won’t believe your eyes.
7. Boogie Nights — The ultra-popular retro club that celebrates the music and memorabilia of the 1970s and 1980s has moved into spacious new digs at the Tropicana, offering specialized lounges, VIP guests, and plenty of featured entertainment on weekends. If you like to dance the night away under a big disco ball, this is the place for you.
8. Atlantic City Air Show — The biggest news about the 2012 Atlantic City Airshow (dubbed “Thunder Over the Boardwalk”) is that it takes place on a Friday this year (Aug. 17, 10:30am start) for its 10th anniversary. Attracting an estimated 800,000 people in 2011, the air show is one of the most popular events in Atlantic City, and one of the very best air shows in the country. Headlined by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, the free air show will once again be preceded by the Atlantic City Salutes America’s Armed Forces Parade on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 6:30pm on the Boardwalk.
9. Night in Venice — The Ocean City tradition returns on Saturday, July 28, with the parade route from the Longport Bridge to Tennessee Avenue on the bay. This year’s (optional) theme — “Do You Remember When?” — allows both boats and homes along the boat parade route to be decorated with any nostalgic theme, from old films and songs to past eras and historical events. The free-for-spectators event will be special this year with the newly open 9th Street Bridge. Ocean City’s annual Merchants of Venice Seafood Festival takes place the night before (5-9pm) along Asbury Avenue.
Atlantic City’s newest casino may have ranked eighth out of the 12 in terms of gaming revenue in May and June, but gaming was from the start only part of the total package the property proposed to bring to an Atlantic City entertainment environment yearning to become more diversified.
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