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First Night, First Day Events Coming Your Way!

Ocean City is the place to be on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Plenty of fun and family oriented activities at a moderate cost. If you are in the mood to plunge into the Ocean on New Year’s Day at 2 p.m., be our guest!  We’ll even present you with a BEACH NUT Certificate you can show your friends. They will be thrilled to know that you successfully challenged the Atlantic.

You will be taking the plunge this year with members of the HERO CAMPAIGN who are dashing and splashing with us. They will be promoting their life saving designated Drivers Campaign and selling long sleeved T Shirts to support the program. These shirts will take the place of the ones usually sold by First Night Committee in front of the Music Pier.

But first things first. First Night, our gala New Years Eve Celebration, offers eight hours of family-friendly entertainment from 4 p.m. till midnight capped by a colorful fireworks exhibition. The cost is just $20 and children 2 and under are free.

The evening features a variety of entertainment to satisfy every age group. Skate at the largest ice rink south of Rockefeller Center (skates provided). Children will enjoy pony rides, inflatables, magicians, a Cat in the Hat performance, jugglers, magician Chad Juros and much more. There will be Broadway performances, comedians, a Mummers String Band, the Ocean City Pops, and the fabulous Grease Band will entertain.

Two legendary groups, the original Blue Notes and the Trammps are scheduled for the Music Pier. The nation’s leading Abbott and Costello performers will amaze you, the Allo Puppets will charm you and the Hegeman String Band will have you dancing in the aisles. A Taste of the Jersey Shore will be provided by Ocean City Restaurants at the High School. Book reservations at www.eatinocnj.com. There will be light Boardwalk fare available at many locations. You can enjoy a view of the stars at the High School Planetarium. All of this and much more plus fireworks to ring in the New Year.

Ocean City’s First Night is the best entertainment value at the Jersey Shore. Order your admission buttons now on line at www.FirstNightOCNJ.com or call (609) 399-1412. Buttons will be on sale at the Roy Gillian Welcome Center on the Bridge, 7 days a week, Mon.-Sat.  9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sun. 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Buttons are also on sale 7 days a week at Gillian’s Downtown at Stainton’s Square, from10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the City Hall Information Center, Mon.- Thurs. 9 a.m. -6 p.m., Fri. 9 am. to 7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Get them soon! First Night Buttons have sold out in recent years.

There is an Angel Fund for those who cannot afford First Night Admission. To apply for buttons or donate to the fund, call Community Services/ Public Relations (609) 399-6111.

FIRST DAY AT THE BEACH, Jan. 1, 2015. This event celebrates the first day of the year with a 5K Run/Walk on the Boardwalk at 1 p.m., and an Ocean Plunge at 2 p.m.

The RUN/WALK starts and finishes on the Boardwalk in front of the Music Pier. The Walk is non competitive. Race day registration begins 11:30 a.m. on the Boardwalk across from the Music Pier at Moorlyn Terrace. Shirts for all who pre-register and while supplies last. Refreshments are available after the race.

Entry fee is $20 for all who register by December 28 and $25 race day. Award categories include Male and Female first, second and third overall and first, second and third in the following categories: 14 and under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70 and over. Contact Race Director Mike Givens (609) 861-0674 or access runawayac@comcast.net.

The Ocean Plunge starts at 2 p.m. and is free to all. Participants should check in at registration tables in front of the Music Pier to sign a waiver and receive their complimentary BEACH NUT CERTIFICATE. The plunge is normally held at beaches on the South Side of the Music Pier going towards 9th St. You will be advised the exact location when you sign waiver. Only plunge in the areas where bathers are lined up in front of ribbon. The waters in this area will be guarded by Ocean City Marine Police to ensure safety.

Members of The HERO CAMPAIGN will have a table in front of the Music Pier with information about its life saving program for designated drivers. The Hero Campaign was established in memory of Navy Ensign John Elliott of Egg Harbor Township. Elliott was killed in a head-on-collision with a drunken driver on July 22, 2000, two months after graduating with merit from the United States Naval Academy. He was driving home for his mother’s birthday celebration at the time of his death.

The HERO Campaign partners with schools, colleges, law enforcement, highway safety agencies, bars, professional sports teams and health care agencies to end drunk driving by increasing the use of designated drivers nationwide. Now operating in seven states, the Campaign plans to extend nationwide with television and radio commercials, highway billboards, posters, social media and designated driver campaigns.

“We are looking forward to partnering with Ocean City on these iconic First Day events which promote family fun and responsibility,” noted HERO Campaign chairman, Bill Elliott, John Elliott’s father. He added that the HERO Campaign has been proud of its ongoing association with Ocean City over the past 14 years through First Night, the Night In Venice Boat Parade, Miss Night in Venice Pageant and its annual HERO Walk.

Michelle Gillian, chairperson of the First Night/First Day Committee echoed Elliott’s comments saying that the HERO Campaign has been an important partner over the years for the City’s alcohol- free-festival and its emphasis on personal responsibility. 

Although the plunge has no entrance fee, participants who wish to contribute $20 or more, and sign a designated driver pledge and release form, will receive a long sleeve commemorative HERO Campaign shirt and membership certificate. Online registration is available at www.herocampaign.org or at (609) 626-3880.

Also on Jan. 1, there will be an all day SHOPPING EXTRAVAGANZA on Asbury Avenue from 5th to 14th Streets, voted the number one Downtown in South Jersey.

REMINDER: There will be a FREE CHRISTMAS DINNER at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church, 8th and Central Ave., on Christmas Day from 11 am. to 3 p.m. It includes a home cooked turkey dinner with all the trimmings for anyone who needs it.

The program was started 25 years ago by Mike and Peaches Lukens who retired recently. It has been taken over by the Methodist Church, its kitchen and special events coordinator, Jennifer Bowman. Holly Martinez, daughter of Mike and Peaches, remains involved with the dinner as well as many long time volunteers.

The theme initiated by the Lukens is “All are welcome, rich or poor, young and old, in need or in need of giving, far from home or just around the corner.” Transportation is provided for those who need it and take outs are available. St. Peters has disabled access and free parking.

In addition to the sumptuous buffet, there will be a gift table, desserts, live entertainment and the company of other people in the Community. Those who wish to support the dinner can make checks payable to “Christian Community Circle” and mail to 300 Central Ave., Ocean City, N.J. 08226.

Check out all of the free programs and entertainment offered by the Ocean City Free Public Library. Call (609) 399-2434 to receive its free, online newsletter. Enjoy a Jazz program on Improvisation, Creativity and consciousness with Jazz legend, Dr. Michael Pedicin, Dec. 28 at 2p.m. in the Chris Maloney Lecture Hall.                                                         

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