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What's Happening in Ocean City, NJ

THE OCEAN CITY POPS ORCHESTRA returns with JOY TO THE WORLD, Sat., 8 p.m., Dec. 19 at the Tabernacle, 5th and Wesley Ave. This traditional holiday concert features beloved Christmas carols and music with a full Pops Orchestra under the direction of Bill Scheible.

Featured performers are critically acclaimed, Elisa Matthews and baritone Dominic Inferrera singing with the Pops, joined by the Cape Shore Chorale, directed by Scott Briener. Excerpts from Bach’s Sleepers Awake Cantata will be performed as well as holiday favorites, Twelve Days of Christmas and White Christmas along with beloved carols and songs of the season. Special features include the Heraldic Trumpets, bells and musicologist, Richard Stanislaw. Tickets are $15, available at City Hall Annex, 901 Asbury Ave., open Mon.-Fri. from 9:a.m. to 4:30 p.m., call; 609-525-9300 or order on line at www.ocnj.us. The program is sponsored by Norman and JoAnne Schaut.

A HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR, “A Christmas Wonderland,” will be presented by the Ocean City Theater Company Dec. 18-20 at the Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace. Suitable for all ages, the family holiday revue is set for Dec. 18-19 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. A cast of professional singers and dancers will present a high energy song and dance tribute to the holidays directed and choreographed by Michael Hartman. Dazzling costumes, familiar songs, special guests, toe tapping numbers and special effects will kindle the holiday spirit in all. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Special rates for groups of ten or more are available. Call 525-9300, stop at City Hall Annex or order on line at www.ocnj.us. A Christmas Wonderland is sponsored by Gillian’s Wonderland Pier.

The Ocean City REPERTORY THEATER is featuring two holiday events at its new venue, 810 Asbury Ave. An Indoor Spectacular Walk Thru Attraction is offered Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 3 to 6 p.m. through Dec. 20. Children will enjoy Frosty’s Magical Adventure, Santa’s Workshop, Rudolph’s Forest, Whoville, Candy Land and more. Children can visit with Santa, enjoy stories read by Mrs. Claus, decorate a cookie snowman and make a gift for Mom or Dad. Bring your camera. Admission is $5.

On Dec.18 at 7 p.m., the Theater presents its 3rd annual staged reading of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Professional actors and friends bring Dickens’ timeless characters to life. After the performance enjoy a dessert buffet and a delightful romp at the Fezziwig’s Ball. For information, call 609-231-3263 or visit www.ocrep.org.

NEW YEAR’S EVE is just two weeks away. It’s time to purchase your First Night admissions buttons for Ocean City’ popular New Year’s Eve Celebration that features 60 entertainment programs at central locations from 4 p.m. till midnight capped by a fireworks display. Buttons are $14 per person and can be purchased at downtown Gillian’s, 838 Asbury Ave., across the street from City Hall. Buttons are also available on line at www.firstnightocnj.com or by phone at 525-9300 or 391-0060. First Night has an Angel Fund for those who can’t afford admissions. For information about obtaining help or donating to the Angel Fund, call 609-525-9300.

How sweet it is! A COOKIE WALK is set for Fri., Dec.18 at the High School Cafeteria, 6th and Atlantic Ave. from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The High School’s Interact Club is joining the Community Food Bank of New Jersey for a tasty fund raiser. Thousands of cookies will be vying for your attention. Walk around and select your favorites. Pay by the pound. After your purchase enjoy free hot chocolate, Starbucks coffee and holiday music. All proceeds benefit the FoodBank that feeds needy families in Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland Counties. Donations of non-perishable foods the night of the Cookie Walk would be greatly appreciated. Questions? Contact the Community FoodBank of New Jersey Southern Branch Executive Director, Margie Barham at 609-383-8843, Ext. 109.

ALSO THIS WEEKEND: Free Horse and Carriage Rides from noon to 3 p.m., start in front of City Hall, Sat.-Sun., Dec. 19-20. Photos with Santa in a Lifeboat, Sat.-Sun., noon to 3 p.m. at the Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace. Breakfast with Santa, Sat., Dec.19 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., Scully’s Asbury Café, 391-1111. Drop and Shop with Tinkerbell, noon till 2:30 p.m., Kidz Creations, 811 Asbury Ave., 399-9222, snacks, crafts, games, $25 per child. On Sun., Dec. 20, there will be Breakfast with Santa 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Casa del Dolce, 947-949 Asbury, 398-9300. There will be Dinner with Santa, 4-7 p.m. Sunday at Scully’s.

FIRST DAY AT THE BEACH is set for Jan. 1 and includes a 1 p.m. 5K Run and the annual Beach Nut dip into the Ocean at 2 p.m. at the 9th St. Beach opposite the Music Pier. Ted Prior and his folk band Early Morning Reign will entertain in front of the Music Pier starting at noon. As part of our historic Message In a Bottle return after 24 years, the City is encouraging runners, dippers and spectators to bring a Message in a Bag (non perishable food items) for the Ocean City Food Cupboard to the Boardwalk. The collection will be made in front of the Music Pier.

Also on Jan. 1, Downtown Asbury Avenue merchants will be offering bargains all day. ################