Ocean City and region prepares for big Memorial Day weekend
It’s Memorial Day weekend in Ocean City and that can only mean one thing: The ocean that has been chilled all winter long is about to be warmed up and set free, unlocked for a new summer season.
Don’t be surprised if you happen to see a whole bunch of well-dressed people in business suits wading in the ocean this weekend in Ocean City.
Marching straight into the sea, holding briefcases and decked out in their most professional business attire, the “Unlocking of the Ocean & Business Persons Plunge” is set for Friday, May 25.
Welcoming in the unofficial start of the new “summer” season to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance,” the beach at Moorlyn Terrace always makes for an unusual spectacle that you might not want to miss.
Participants will be dressed in formal business attire — from waiters and waitresses to real estate agents, hotel owners and store clerks. The attendees will push forward against the Atlantic waves and tout American and “Open-for-Business” flags.
Last year, Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian, Councilman Keith Hartzell, Ocean City Beach Patrol Director of Operations Tom Mullineaux and former Ocean City Beach Patrol Lieutenant Fred Miller turned a ceremonial wooden key into the sand marking the opening of the ocean and marking the official start of the new season in Ocean City.
(For details on other Ocean City events over the holiday weekend, see sidebar.)
The holiday weekend also ushers in a sky filled with flurry and movement.
The 27th annual Wildwood International Kite Festival kicks off the summer season on the doo-wop island drawing hundreds of kite enthusiasts from all over the world.
The events begin on Friday night, May 25, with an illuminated “night kite fly.” Saturday and Sunday, May 26 and 27, the East Coast Stunt Kite Championships take place on the beach as well as workshops and kite exhibits.
Kite flying clubs will set up tents while food trucks parked along the sand next to the Wildwood Boardwalk offer food and beverages. The skies above the beach just south of the Wildwood Convention Center and the “Wildwoods” Hollywood sign will be swarming with kites of various shapes, sizes and colors — from giant whales, wind socks, space aliens, parafoils, box and single-line delta kites, and fleets of massive fish that spin, turn and flip with guided precision from their flight directors standing on Wildwood’s massive elongated shore.
Many of the kites are hand made by the pros and some are capable of reaching heights of 500 feet, the equivalent of a 50-story building. Each year the popularity of the festival has continued to grow — between kite enthusiasts as well as general spectators who have come to watch the weekend event.
Though for many participants, this annual three-day event is more than just a show, it’s a competition that’s been trained and worked for — the ultimate chance to show off their kites and kite-flying skills.
Memorial Day weekend offers up some awesome kick-off events up and down the Jersey shore. (See p. 63 for other ideas.)
In both Ocean City and Wildwood, the aforementioned events are free to spectators.
According to Mike Dallmer, the president of the South Jersey Kite Flyers group, “The beach is an excellent place to fly a kite and this is the biggest [kite] festival on the East Coast.”
OCEAN CITY EVENT CALENDAR:
Friday, May 25
Unlocking of the Ocean & Business Persons Plunge
Beach at the Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace. Free. Noon. 525-9300.
Saturday, May 26
Tony Mart Presents - Rockin’ The Ocean City Music Pier.
Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk. A tribute to the horn band of the 70’s – Chicago, featuring a 9 piece SOS Show Band. $20. 653-6069.
Sunday, May 27
Barks on the Boards
Registered dogs can walk on the boardwalk from noon–2pm. At 1pm there will be a canine contest held in front of the Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk. Free. 398-9500. hsocnj.org.
OCFPL - The Icons of Jazz - Lecture Series
Ocean City Library , 1735 Simpson Ave., Ocean City. Louis Armstrong; Duke Ellington; Dizzy Gillespie; Charlie Parker; Thelonious Monk; McCoy Tyner; Sonny Rollins; John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley, plus more. Located in the Lecture Room, 110. This series, presented by the Somers Point Jazz Society, will document and explore why these musicians are so important to the overall history and development of Jazz. There will be lecture, discussion, music, and film. Free. 2-3:30pm.
Monday, May 28
Memorial Day Service
Veterans Memorial Park, 5th& Wesley Ave. Free. 11am. 525-9300.
Friday, June 1 to June 3
Ocean City Flower Show
Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk. Commerical and amateur displays. Show times are Friday 2-9pm, Saturday 10am-9pm and Sunday, 10am-4pm. 525-9300.
Sunday, June 3
Mitchell McAllister OC Walk
6th St. practice field. The Walk is in memory of teen Mitchell McAllister and raises funds to support the Emmanuel Cancer Foundations Direct Service Programs. Proceeds will support families in South Jersey who are faced with the challenges of caring for a child with cancer. Registration 8:30am. 856-853-4803. emmanuelcancer.org.
Nor’easters vs Jersey Express
Carey Stadium, 6th St. and Atlantic Ave. Soccer. Half time events include a Lil Kickz demonstration and an introduction to our Ocean City FC youth teams. Free entry to any youth soccer player on Ocean City FC summer teams. $8 Adults. $4 children. 7pm. 525-9999. OceanCityFC.com
Wednesday, June 6
O.C. Tabernacle, Wesley Avenue. Farmer’s Market every Wednesday. 8am-1pm. 525-9300.
Thursday, June 7
Wonder’s Brithday Bash at Gillian’s Wonderland Pier
Wonderland Pier, 6th St. and Boardwalk. All rides will be only 1 Ticket and at 9pm see a birthday bash fireworks show. Rides open at 6pm and Wonder Bear will be available all night for photos. Celebrating 82 years on the Ocean City Boardwalk. 399-7082.
Friday, June 8
Nor’easters vs Reading United
Carey Stadium, 6th Street & Atlantic Avenue. Soccer. ‘School’s Day’ invites kids from all our local schools to enjoy a game of top quality soccer. Free entry to any youth soccer player on Ocean City FC summer teams. $8 Adults $4 Kids. 7pm. 525-9999. OceanCityFC.com
Saturday, June 9
HSOC Family Golf Tournament
Ocean City Golf Course, 25th & Bay Ave. Family golf outing to benefit Humane Shelter residents. 8:30am. Registration is $30 per person or $100 a foursome and includes lunch. 398-9500. hsocnj.org.
Ocean City Police Chase 5k
Boardwalk, regstration O.C.H.S., 501 Atlantic Ave.. 5K Footrace, 2 Mile Fitness Walk. Proceeds will benefit the Ocean City Police Benevolent Association who support Scholarships for High School seniors, Christmas toy drive, and distribution of free bike helmets with the funds they raise throughout the year. 525-9108. ocpba.com.
Sunday, June 10
Nor’easters vs Baltimore Bohemians
Carey Stadium, 6th Street & Atlantic Avenue. Soccer. Half-time events include the 3rd annual soccer game between the Ocean City Fire Dept. and Ocean City Police Dept. as part of a long running rivalry to raise money for each’s Benevolent Fund. Free entry to any youth soccer player on Ocean City FC summer teams. $8 Adults $4 Kids. 7pm. 525-9999. OceanCityFC.com n
Preceding the highly anticipated fireworks display, Ocean City is also hosting a kite flying competition on the 9th Street Beach. Participants and visitors are invited to get settled in early for the fireworks by watching the skies for the kite competition. 9:30pm marks the start of Ocean City’s July 4 fireworks display on ....
“We are very excited about all the new things to do and see in the Wildwoods in 2012,” says John Siciliano, executive director for the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority.
Renaming the venue North End American Grill, they soon recognized that it would need until the following summer to fully complete their revitalization. Friday, June 1, will mark a milestone for them, with an invite-only Grand Opening event scheduled for 5-7pm.
With the long awaited colossal marvel of concrete glistening in pre-Memorial Day weekend sun, spectators, local residents and reporters gathered at the waterfront of John F. Kennedy Park in Somers Point to celebrate the grand opening of the largest project ever undertaken by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
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Summer residents are filtering back to the area like swallows to Capistrano, but the real sign that the season is upon us is the explosion of parties and nightlife activities during Memorial Day Weekend. The beach bars and outdoor nightspots all reopen, hosting live entertainment on weekends before easing into an everyday schedule in late June.