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Spring Block Party Celebrates 30th Year

By Mark Soifer, Ocean City Publicist

In 1983 Ocean City was looking for events to bolster tourism in the Spring. We had tried boat shows in the downtown that weren’t particularly successful. Then I happened to be driving in the north end of the City and noticed that residents were planning to celebrate repairs to their street with a neighborhood block party.

When I returned to the office, I asked Jean Mimnaugh, my co-worker, what she thought about having a block party in the downtown with entertainment and food, etc. Jean then provided the key to the long term success of the event. “Crafters,” she said, you should have crafters, “and I know a lot of them.”

Thirty years later, we have over 400 crafters, plus downtown merchants’ tables, plus food, entertainment, pony rides for the children and public service displays. Jean Mimnaugh has passed away, but her inspired idea was the reason the block party took off like a rocket.

 

The spring block party was so successful that four years later, Norman Bock, the president of the Retail Merchants Assn., asked us to schedule a block party in the fall to coincide with the Columbus Day Weekend. This turned out to be another fine idea, and the fall Block Party also became an event that attracted thousands of visitors.

One other person also deserves immense credit for the success of the Block Parties. That’s Carolyn Murphy, who operated Boyd’s TV for many years with her husband, Charles. Carolyn took on the huge job of running both block parties for the Retail Merchants’ Assn. By time she took over the events had grown into huge festivals attracting over 60,000 persons. It was a year-round job for Carolyn. But she did it all while also running the family business until she passed away a few years ago.

It has taken many people to make our block parties a success and keep them going over the years. The Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce now very efficiently handles

the events. And there is plenty of assistance provided by City’s Public Works, Police and other Departments.

This spring’s mile long block party is set for this Saturday, May 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. extending from 5th to 14th Streets on Asbury Ave. Over 100 downtown shops will be open, many with table sales. The downtown merchants will also have a sidewalk sale on Sun., May 5th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Please note that the downtown entertainment and pony rides at the Tabernacle during the Block Party will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The wrong time was listed in this column last week.)

(May 2) Martin Z. Mollusk Day: Our relatively famous Hermit Crab is scheduled to attempt to see his shadow at 11 a.m. at the 9th St. Beach adjacent to the Music Pier.

(The event will definitely be held there as the dredge will not be in the area.)

(May 5) MS WALK; Registration begins 9 a.m. at the Sports and Civic Center, 6th and Boardwalk. Walk starts 10 a.m. The event raises money “ to stop Multiple Sclerosis in its tracks.” Funds raised serve over 14,000 area families. For information, call (215) 271-1500 or visit www.walk4ms.org.

(May 7) The Ocean City High School Instrumental Dept. presents its annual Spring CONCERT 7 p.m. at the Hughes Performing Arts Center, 6th and Atlantic Ave. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students. The Concert Ensemble and Strings program will perform. Senior band members will be recognized. Tickets sold at the door.

(May 7) The Ocean City Fine Arts League presents a free movie FINDING NEVERLAND, 6:30 p.m. at the Ocean City Library, 17th and Simpson Ave.

This is a semi biographical film about J.M. Barrie and his relationship with the family that inspired him to write Peter Pan. The film was nominated for several Oscars including Best Actor for Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Barrie.

The LIBRARY will be featuring its free Saturday Afternoon movie “The Impossible” (PG13) on May 4 from 2 to 4 p.m. in Main Lecture Room N110. The movie focuses on the story of a tourist family caught in the destruction and chaotic aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. The Library also continues its free Spring Jazz Series on Sunday May 5 at 2 p.m. with the music of John Coltrane, Joe Henderson and Stan Getz, Lecture Room N110. The Library offers numerous programs including an Open Mic Night for area talent on Thursdays. Call (609) 399-2434 ext. 5238 for information.

(May 12) The 16th Annual MOTHER’S DAY Concert in Memory of Ocean City arts benefactor, Esther Weil, is set for 4 p.m., Sun., May 12 at the Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace. The concert features the West Chester Senior Strings Orchestra directed by Charles de Pasquale. Admission is free.

(May 14) The 3rd Annual Esther C. Weil Student Music COMPETITION will be held 4:30 p.m. at the Ocean City Music Pier. The program is sponsored by the Friends of Music of the Ocean City Pops. It will feature ten outstanding vocalists and six instrumentalists competing for prizes. Admission is free.

(May 15) The Annual Roger LaRosa GOLF KLASSIC is set for the Greate Bay Country Club in Somers Point with registration and lunch at noon and Tee-Off time at 1 p.m. All proceeds go to OCNJ C.A.R.E. (Cleanup And Recovery Effort) Project. The monies will be used to assist families devastated by Super Storm Sandy. For information contact John Van Stone, (609) 412-9607, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

(May 19) The Ocean City Fire Fighters GOLF TOURNAMENT will be held at the Ocean City Municipal Golf Course, Bay Ave. near the Airport, with tee time at 8:30 a.m. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society: Foursomes, Shotgun Format, 12 Hole 3 Par Course, $35 per person. Luncheon to follow at DiOrio’s in Somers Point included. Luncheon guests are welcome, $10. For information access This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

DOG OF YEAR Contest: Is your Doggie worthy of the title Dog of the Year? Whose Doggie isn’t? Applications are available at Pet Pros in Somers Point, the Ocean City Dog Park, 45th and Haven Haven Ave. in the glass enclosure or from This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Applications must be returned by June 19 to PO Box 145, Ocean City, N.J. 08226 along with a $20 entry fee. The contest runs from July 21 to Sept. 19. The winner will be announced Oct. 27 at the Port O’Call Hotel, 15th and Boardwalk in Ocean City.

(Through May) Landscape artist Mary Ann Kline of Egg Harbor Twp. is exhibiting her paintings at the Ocean City Arts Center, 17th and Simpson Ave. A Meet the Artist reception is set for Fri., May 10th from 7 to 8:30 p.m. It’s free and open to the public. Ms. Kline’s primary interest is oil landscapes but she also paints still life pieces and other subjects in oil and watercolors. She has won many awards for her painting and sculptures.

BROADWAY on the Boardwalk IV: The Ocean City Theatre Co. wants to sell 400 tickets for its smash Broadway Show by June 1, 2013. Advance registration helps the popular Company build excitement, solidify its budgets and create higher demand. Make reservations now for the upcoming show featuring Broadway star of Les Miserables and Joseph…Dreamcoat, Kelli Rabke. The show is set for June 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the Music Pier. Tickets are $18 or $20. Call (609)525-9300 or visit www.ocnj.us/boxoffice to reserve your tickets now! Meet the professional performers who will be joining OCTC this summer.

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