Doo Dah Parade, Egg Hunt and Mr. Mature America Pageant on Saturday

What’s Happening in Ocean City, NJ 4/5/17

Ocean City welcomes spring and celebrates humor on Saturday (April 8, 2017) with three inimitable events: the Doo Dah Parade, the Great Egg Hunt and the Mr. Mature America Pageant.

Regis Philbin will be grand marshal for the 32nd annual Doo Dah Parade, which starts at noon Saturday. A massive Egg Hunt for children ages 7 and under takes place on the beach between 11th Street and 14th Street at 2:30 p.m. Philbin returns Saturday evening to host the fourth annual Mr. Mature Pageant at 7 p.m. on the Ocean City Music Pier.

Pageant tickets ($25 to $35) are still available at, by calling 609-399-6111, or in-person at the City Hall Welcome Center or the Roy Gillian Welcome Center on the Route 52 causeway. They also will be available at the Music Pier Box Office on the evening of the event.


The Doo Dah Parade was first held in Ocean City in 1986 as an event to herald the end of income tax season. It’s also a traditional start to the season of special events in Ocean City. The route has always been the same. The parade starts on Asbury Avenue at Sixth Street, proceeds to 12th Street and turns east to the Boardwalk. It concludes in front of the Music Pier at Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace.

For more than a decade, the parade has been anchored by hundreds of dogs from the Basset Hound Rescue League. This year’s parade lineup also will include the University of Pennsylvania Pep Band, the Hobo Band, the Atlantic City Fire Department Sandpipers and marching bands from Pleasantville High School and Ocean City High School. The Crescent Shriners will drive their miniature clown cars.

Emcees will announce parade entries at two separate viewing areas: in front of City Hall (Ninth Street and Asbury Avenue) and in front of the Ocean City Music Pier (Boardwalk at Moorlyn Terrace). Dietz and Watson returns as a sponsor for the event.

The Pie-asco – which invites all parade-goers to smoosh a friend or loved one with a shaving-cream pie – follows the parade and goes off in front of the Music Pier.

The Basset Hound Olympics will be held on the practice field adjacent to Ocean City High School (just off the Boardwalk at Sixth Street) after the Pie-asco. The hilarious event features the ear-flapping hounds competing in sprints, hurdles, high-jumps and obstacles. As event founder Mark Soifer always put it: “Most then flop down for a nap.”

The first of two Great Egg Hunts on the beach starts promptly at 2:30 p.m. Saturday (April 8). Thousands and thousands of eggs will be placed in areas of the beach between 11th Street and 14th Street. Age categories include: 2-and-under (at 11th Street), 3 years old (at 11th Street), 4 years old (at 12th Street), 5 years old (at 12th Street), 6 and 7 years old (at 13th Street). Rain date is April 9. The second Egg Hunt is scheduled for Saturday, April 15. For more information, visit or call 1-800-BEACH-NJ.


Philbin will serve as emcee for the Mr. Mature America Pageant, Ocean City’s tribute to men ages 55 and older, on Saturday evening.

The pageant opens with a raucous production number featuring the debonair (and fully covered by Medicare) array of contestants. It includes competition in talent, judge’s interview, poise and appearance, and on-stage question. Philbin will conduct the on-stage interviews with contestants.

This year’s hopefuls include:

  • Rich LaLena: A 60-year-old singer from Berlin, N.J., who has served as the “town crier” for the N.J. League of Municipalities.
  • William Andrew Dowling: A 65-year-old Christopher Walken fan from Ventnor who will read his self-authored poetry.
  • Frank Formica: A third-generation owner of the famed Atlantic City bakery and an Atlantic County freeholder, 65, who will sing and play guitar.
  • Jack Byrne: An 88-year-old comedian from Cherry Hill and Ocean City
  • Matthew Allen: A 64-year-old singer from Newtown, Pa., whose brother was an astronaut on three space shuttle missions.
  • Jay Keally: A storyteller in an elf outfit, 58, from Ocean City.
  • Joseph Stefano: An 85-year-old saxophonist from Ocean City.
  • Tom Troncone: A 64-year-old from Pennsauken, N.J., who will take the stage with his voice, a microphone and a pair of 40-pound dumbbells.
  • James Rago: A 69-year-old comedian from Linwood, N.J.
  • Gregg Clayton: A 58-year-old guitarist and singer from Somers Point, N.J., who will perform “The Purple People Eater.”

The event is the first and only pageant of its kind in the United States. The historic Flanders Hotel returns as a founding sponsor.

Celebrity judges will include Miss New Jersey Brenna Weick, QVC on-air host Bethanie Lori, and Jack McDade, who was Dick Clark’s first musical guest on “American Bandstand” in the 1950s. McDade will perform as part of the show.

Mark Soifer, the founder of the pageant and of many other special events in Ocean City, will be honored with a “Lifetime Achievement Award.” Soifer retired at the end of 2016 at the age of 84, after a 45-year career as public relations director for the city.


EDIBLE BOOK FESTIVAL (April 5): Book lovers and food lovers are invited to come see and vote on entries in a contest that includes food creations that play on book titles. Voting is from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with sampling of the treats until 3 p.m. Call 609-399-2434, ext. 5222 for more information and to register an entry.

OC POPS BRASS (April 7): The first in a series of concerts featuring Ocean City Pops members includes the OC Pops Brass. Free admission to the 7 p.m. performance at the Ocean City Free Public Library.

THE GREAT EGG HUNT (April 15): The second of two egg hunts on the beach between 11th and 14th streets. Starts at 2:30 p.m.

EASTER SUNRISE SERVICE (April 16): Traditional nondenominational service starts at 6:30 a.m. on the Ocean City Music Pier.

EASTER FASHION PROMENADE (April 16): Judging begins at 1 p.m. in front of the Ocean City Music Pier. The Philly Keys, a dueling piano show, will start at noon.

OC POPS EARTH DAY (April 21): The second in a series of concerts featuring Ocean City Pops members includes music inspired by nature in honor of Earth Day. Featuring violin, bassoon and piano. Free admission to the 7 p.m. performance at the Ocean City Free Public Library.

SPRING FESTIVAL OF GUARANTEED AMERICAN HANDICRAFTS AND FINE ART (April 22-23): 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Ocean City Music Pier. All crafts and art are guaranteed to be made in the U.S. by the artisan in the booth. The $3 admission in part benefits local charities. Call 800-822-4112 for more information.

CURTAIN UP: THE SCHOOL OF AMERICAN BALLET WORKSHOP PERFORMANCES (April 27): The second in a series of free film screenings of the Lincoln Center’s finest performances includes some of the best of ballet. The film starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Chris Maloney Lecture Hall.

BOARDWALK AND DOWNTOWN MERCHANT TABLE SALES (April 29 and 30): Between Sixth and 14th streets on the boardwalk and downtown Asbury Avenue.

SJ SHORE MARCH FOR BABIES (April 30): Five-mile walk on the Ocean City Boardwalk starts at noon. Register at

BOARDWALK AND DOWNTOWN MERCHANT TABLE SALES (April 29 and 30): Between Sixth and 14th streets on the boardwalk and downtown Asbury Avenue.

OCEAN CITY POPS STUDENT COMPETITION (May 3): Founded in memory of Esther C. Weil, a piano teacher and life-long patron of the arts, the seventh annual competition is open to vocalists, instrumentalists, and pianists in grades 9 to 12 from Atlantic and Cape May counties. The first-prize winners each will receive $1000 and be featured in a Pops concert during the 2017 summer season. The contest is open to the public and starts at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 3 on the Ocean City Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace. Call 609-391-0678.

BOARDWALK AND DOWNTOWN MERCHANT TABLE SALES (May 6-7): Between Sixth and 14th streets on the boardwalk and downtown Asbury Avenue.

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