The annual spring block party is a mile-long event that brings together merchants of all types: With food vendors and various arts and crafts, the streets are lined with tents full of a variety of wares, from watercolor paintings to custom cutting boards or colorful dog collars.
Food was plentiful at this year's event as well, and visitors and residents alike could be seen munching on freshly cooked kettle corn, hot dogs, donuts, sampling crab-based marinara sauce or chowing down on a pork sandwich while sipping some lemonade.
Vendors who came in for the day benefitted from steady crowds throughout the day, but downtown businesses on Asbury Street also saw a boost in foot traffic. Many local businesses also set up tents of their own, often right outside of their storefronts, coaxing passersby to stop in for a look.
"There's been a lot more people in today compared to recent weekends," said Theresa Sheahan, owner of Bretagne's, a home decor and upholstery shop on Asbury.
Down the street, at one of Ta Dah!'s five Asbury locations, the store was packed and the Ta Dah! tent outside was swamped with customers.
But vendors weren't the only ones who had an opportunity to set up on Asbury during the party. There were also many groups raising money for various causes, with the Rotary Club representing Alex's Lemonade Stand to fight children's cancer, Ocean City High School girls basketball selling t-shirts and baked goods and the American Legion and Ladies Auxiliary Club raising money for veterans.
"People have been really generous," said Ladies Auxiliary member Jean Byerly, who was handing out symbolic poppy flowers to whoever made a donation.
Members of the commission against BYOB also took advantage of the crowds, handing out flyers and lawn signs with just a few days left before the May 8 ballot question. Winnie Piriano, a member of the commission, was offering the signs to anyone interested.
"It's amazing how many people are coming up," she said.
JoAnn McKernan, a Norristown, PA resident who also has a home in Ocean City, grabbed a sign as she was passing by. She said she comes down for most of the summer, but that off-season events like First Night, the Doo Dah Parade and the block party bring her back to the island throughout the year.
"I love seeing all the people here in Ocean City," she said. "Love seeing the shop owners making money."
Every few blocks one could catch a band, too. Early in the afternoon, Ocean City based band Tidal Wave was performing their blend of beach music and classics at the event for the 16th straight year. A few blocks down, a crowd was gathered around the Bubba Mac Blues Band.
"This is why we put the band together," said Tidal Wave founder Scott Raab. "This is what we have fun doing."
Tidal Waves' percussionist, Keith B. Parrish of Ocean City, said that the family atmosphere is what makes him enjoy playing at the block party.
"The kids are great; they come up and dance," he said. "It's a great family atmosphere."
Despite the sun hiding behind clouds throughout the day and some light rain early in the afternoon, the event was well attended and Asbury was filled with shoppers of all ages.