Memorial Weekend Features Fun Events, Solemn Ceremonies

Sometimes the meaning of Memorial Day gets diminished by a barrage of sales advertised on TV, etc. offering “unbelievable specials.”  In Ocean City this weekend there will be a number of serious tributes to our fallen heroes. There will also be plenty of family fun made possible by the sacrifices of our courageous men and women service personnel.

(May 25) The meaning of MEMORIAL DAY 2015 will be underscored by our ANNUAL CEREMONY at Veterans Memorial Park, 5th Street and Wesley Ave. at 11 a.m. Participating organizations include American Legion Post #524, VFW Post #6650 and L/cpl George L. Dramis Marine Corps Detachment 676 and the City.

The program will include a welcome by Michael A. Dattilo, special assistant to the Mayor: Invocation and also the benediction by Col. (Ret.) Edmund J. Speitel, US Army; The Star Spangled Banner, by Julia Mary Wilson who will also end the program with “God Bless America.”  The Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Michael Morrissey, Commander VFW Post 6650.

There will be remarks by Mayor Jay A. Gillian; the Memorial Day Address by Maj. General William Matz; A POW/MIA Ceremony by Jack Hagan, Adjutant, AL Post 524; and Jack Meehan on Bag Pipes playing “Amazing Grace.” The Presentation of the Wreath will be presented by Clark Manley and Tom Tumelty.

The reading of the Honor Roll, remembering those who made the Supreme Sacrifice, will be read by Joe Bisbing, Marine Corps League Det. 676 and Bob Marzulli, Commander AL Post 524. Taps will be played by Greg Murphy of Buglers across America.

(May 25) At 9:15 a.m. the Ocean City Lifeguards will place a Memorial Wreath in the waters off the 9th St. Beach in memory of those who have given their lives in service of our Country.

(May 25) On Memorial Day at 10 a.m., members of the W.C.T.U., (Women’s Christian Temperance Union) and members of the Ocean City Historical Museum will rededicate the W.C.T.U. FOUNTAIN in front of City Hall and celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the gift.

(May 22) THE FUN EVENT: The Popular UNLOCKING of the Ocean and BUSINESS PERSON’S PLUNGE: Numerous Seashore Communities Unlock the Ocean on Memorial Day weekend, but none but Ocean City offer a Business Person’s Plunge.

Here’s how it works: At noon on Friday, May 22nd Mayor Jay Gillian, City Officials and Lifeguards led by Ocean City Historian Fred Miller, a former Lifeguard, meet on the 9th Street Beach opposite the Music Pier. They bring with them a Large Wooden Key which allegedly has magical powers.

Legend has it if you turn this key at just the right angle it will unlock the Ocean for the new season. Only the Mayor, Miller and lifeguards know how to do this. After a few brief statements about this unique family resort and its many amenities, the key is turned and SWOOSH! The sea is unlocked. If you look closely, you will see numerous fish leaping for joy relieved that they can now swim legally in Ocean City waters. This year’s unlocking is dedicated to our late, great Mayor Bud Knight who hosted the first ceremony 17 years ago. Bud had a tremendous sense of humor. Fred Miller will tell you all about it.

When this ceremony concludes, the Ocean City High School Band, led by Donna Schawarz, plays an inspirational rendition of Pomp and Circumstance. It’s then that the unique BUSINESS PERSON’S PLUNGE begins. Hundreds of enthusiastic costumed men, women and children plus many business mascots march dramatically into the Ocean. Men carrying briefcases. Many dressed in their work clothes. Children dressed as fish.  The entire City Council. Folks from the Exchange Club, Community Center, Chamber of Commerce plus Karate Champions in Uniform. And much more!

The colorful contingent is led into the waters by event organizer, realtor John Walton, carrying an American Flag in keeping with the holiday. Local artist Kim Wieland has committed to painting a scene of the action. Bring your camera. You will want to selfie this. You will see nothing like this in the universe, let alone the United States.

(May 23) The Annual 31 HEROES MEMORIAL BEACH CHALLENGE. This race will consist of team and individual entrants in three separate events. The Stand Up Paddle Ocean Challenge, a SEAL TEAM approved obstacle course challenge and a Kids Fun Run as well as a Patriots Ceremony to honor veterans and fallen warriors. Race begins 7:30 a.m. at the 9th Street Beach. For information, access or call (856) 816-5644.

(May 23) Linda Gentille and the Jersey Shore Pops present the Music of the GLENN MILLER Orchestra with special guest The VICTORY BELLES at the Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace. Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 and $40. Call 1-800- 838-3006 or go online, This program is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council on the Arts.

(May 31) BARKS ON THE BOARDS: This is a fun day for dogs and their owners starting at the Sixth Street Practice Field next to the Sports and Civic Center at Sixth and Boardwalk. There will be games from 10 a.m. until noon, then a walk on the Boardwalk from noon until 1 p.m. Contests will follow back at the Practice Field. Registration is $25, $30 the day of the event. First 200 registered get T Shirts. For information, call (609) 398-9500 or visit

COMING SOON: The 43rd Annual FLOWER SHOW (May 29-31) Theme for this year is “Chic to Chic, Flowers and Fashion.” Categories in the Artistic Design Division mirror such classes as “Bling” and “String of Pearls.” There is a Horticultural Division with beautiful exhibits of Roses, African Violets, Orchids, etc. The competition is open to non professional Green Thumbers, maybe folks like you who delight in growing things.

There is no fee to exhibit and compete in the Ocean City Flower Show presented by the City’s Garden Club. For information and inspiration, call Kay Reilly (609) 399-1199. Show times are Friday, 2 p.m. until 9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entry to the public is free. Optional donations are taken to support the show.

COMING SOON: The MISS NEW JERSEY PAGEANT: Former Miss Ocean City Devon Vanderslice will be competing for the Miss New Jersey title, June 11th -13th at the Music Pier. Your first opportunity to cheer for Devon will be Wednesday, June 10th when the Miss New Jersey Parade will be held on the Boardwalk starting 7 p.m.

Cierra Kaler-Jones, reigning Miss New Jersey, will lead the Parade. Dana Piccoli, the reigning Miss Cape May County will also be in the Parade competing with Devon, reports Betty Pruitt who does a great job running the County Pageant. Okay Betty, we wish her luck as First Runner-Up to Devon.

Theme for this year’s Parade is “Pages Through The Ages.” All 28 contestants will be “showing their shoes” and dressed to complement the theme, reports Karen Mahar, Ocean City Parade Director. To enter a band, dance group, entertainers or contingent in the Parade call Karen at (609) 626-1176 or

NOTICE: The Miss Night In Venice Committee invites young ladies 15 years and older to compete for the title of Miss Night In Venice and lead the Boat Parade on July 11, 2015. If interested, please call (609) 425-5708.

THIS JUST IN! The Ocean City Police Department invites you to have “COFFEE WITH COPS” (Thurs., May 21) at the Varsity Inn, 605 8th St. from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Questions, answered, Concerns considered, etc. Questions about program? Call Officer Michael Gray (609) 525-9110 or



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