Always the Same, Always Different, That’s Ocean City

Always the same, always different. That’s how Ocean City is viewed by many tourists.

When you visit here you get the best of the old and the new. And in these uncertain times, that combination will retain vacationers and attract new ones. Ocean City has held fast to its family traditions…It is reliable. It stays the same in a positive way. People feel comfortable here and that’s important especially in these chaotic days when folks are looking for stable environments. Positive sameness or reliability has always made good business senses. So has progress. And Ocean City gets good marks for that too. Over the years events have been expanded, new facilities have been added and we’ve become very environmentally conscious. Green communities are now preferred by vacationers and travelers according to industry analysts and Trash Buster. The boardwalk has remained family oriented. The community is friendly and safe. It is a dry town which makes it unique among resorts on the Jersey Shore and adds to its family atmosphere.

In one of our Tourism Commission studies focus groups were questioned about alcohol and the respondents concluded that one of the primary reasons they visit here, have purchased homes here or wish to retire here is for the atmosphere that a non alcoholic community provides. Old fashioned? Maybe. But for us it makes good business sense. The people who live here full and part time are amazing when it comes to volunteering. They are full of community pride and spirit. There is no way we could present and maintain all of our special events without the army of volunteers who keep these same popular events going year after year.

The Baby Parade will celebrate its 100th birthday in August, Night In Venice will be 55, the fall and spring block parties have been here for 25 years, the Flower Show and Boardwalk Art Show are closing in on 40, the Halloween Parade in its mid 40s, the Doo Dah Parade will be 24, First Night that attracts 10,000 visitors on New Year’s Eve is 14, the Miss New Jersey Pageant is 10, The Christmas Parade, Train Show, Trail of Two Cities and major craft shows that raise thousands of dollars for charity have been popular for years. The same can be said for the antique Auto Show, the Street Rod Rally, the Corvette Show and the Great Easter Egg Hunt. All made possible by volunteers with a special love for a special community.

At the same time new events keep rolling in: the Acrobatic Air spectacular, the Black Friday downtown celebration plus in 2009 a new weekend air spectacular,a family weekend at the Tabernacle and a possible giant water ski exhibition on the Bay. Families, who will be more budget conscious than ever this summer, have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy our free fun novelty events: Weird Contest Week, July Jubilee, Martin Mollusk Day, the Twins Contest, Freckle Contest, the Pamper Scamper, The Miss Crustacean Hermit Crab Beauty Pageant and Crab Races, the Woofin’ Paws Pet Fashion Show, sand sculpting contests, etc.

Also in July and August we offer the following free entertainment: Family Nights on the Boardwalk and Market Days in the downtown on Thursdays, Funtastic Tuesdays in the downtown and more. There’s something happening every day and it’s free.

Then there are our great entertainment programs at the Music Pier, High School and Tabernacle and our unique Ocean City Pops Orchestra led by Bill Scheible that has been providing outstanding musical programs for over 70 years.

Ocean City is fortunate to have active Civic groups like the Chamber of Commerce, the Retail Merchants Assn., the Boardwalk Merchants Assn., BAND, Main Street, the Board of Realtors, two theater companies, two art centers, the Ocean City Free Public Library, the Tabernacle, our service clubs, churches, civic organization, all of which provide and support activities for the community and visitors.

Ocean City is competing with tourist destinations that spend millions on marketing. There is no way we could continue to compete without the cooperation of our volunteers and these organizations. I could go on for another half hour. I haven’t event touched on our year around recreation programs and the physical improvements that have been made and that are coming to the City.

But as long as we continue to preserve our core traditions and add new and exciting programs, we should do just fine. You can help us get the message out. Tell your friends to tell their friends about all that Ocean City has to offer. Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising.

VALENTINE’S DAY & PRESIDENT’S WEEKEND fall at the same time this year. So be sure to send a valentine to your favorite president. There’s also some romantic entertainment coming your way:

On Fri., Feb. 13, THE OCEAN CITY REPRETORY THEATER presents Romance Through the Ages starting 7 p.m. at Denovum, 908 Asbury Ave. You’ll hear songs and poems from Shakespeare to the Beatles. A Decadent Chocolate Lovers tasting party follows the entertainment. Tickets are $10 at the door.

On Sat., Feb. 14, THE OCEAN CITY THEATRE CO. performs I Love New York, a program of Broadway Love Songs at the Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace. You’ll hear all-time classic numbers from Michael Hartman’s talented professional performers. Doors open 7:30 p.m. for a chocolate fondue reception with show starting 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door, on the web at or by calling             609-525-9300      .

COMING NEXT WEEK: The reunion of KEYSER SOZE, legendary Ocean City rock band, is set for Fri., Feb 20 starting 6 p.m. at the Music Pier. Singer/song writer Ed Shiffler will lead the show with his bandmates for this special one-time performance. Shiffler’s current band, The Dangerous Ones, will also play along with the popular local group, Kickn’ Bear. Admission is $10 at the door.

The annual BATTTLE OF THE BANDS competition is set for 6 p.m. Sat., Feb.21 at the Music Pier. Among the bands competing are Philadelphia based rock groups Milk and Andrew Jude and local bands One-Two-Three Draw, The Pedestrians and The Secret Service.

Kickn’ Bear, a popular Ocean City rock group that booked 50 appearances last year, will perform but not compete. Tickets are $10 in advance at the Ocean City Fine Arts League, 608 Asbury Ave., call            609-814-0308      , at Grass Roots, 1059 Asbury Ave., and for $15 at the door. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Ocean City Food Cupboard.

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