All-inclusive buttons good for admission to all First Night Ocean City events are on sale now for $14.
The annual nonalcoholic New Year's Eve event for families has become increasingly popular since its advent in the early 1990s, so residents and visitors are encouraged to buy their passes before they sell out.
The First Night Buttons are available:
- 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week at Downtown Gillian's at 838 Asbury Avenue, 609-391-0060.
- Online at firstnightocnj.com.
The holiday celebration features 60 different entertainment programs at various Ocean City locations from 4 p.m. until midnight—when a fireworks display caps off the evening's festivities (weather permitting).
“Where else can you find such varied and enjoyable entertainment for just $14? The only place to enjoy such an event at the New Jersey shore is Ocean City,” First Night Chairwoman Michele Gillian said in a news release. “Ocean City is the place to be on New Year’s Eve.”
Opening ceremonies will be held 4 p.m. at the Ocean City Music Pier. It will include a ribbon-cutting and greeting by city officials, entertainment by the Harmony Show Choir and a chance to design your own New Year's hat from 4 to 5 p.m.
The entertainment program features events for every age group. Peter Tork, a member of the legendary Monkees, is scheduled to perform with his band Shoe Suede Blues. Three-time Grammy nominee Trout Fishing in America is back with a program that appeals to every age group. The popular Ocean City Pops Orchestra, the Grease Band, Hegeman, String Band and the Keith Hickman Band are all scheduled to perform as well.
Michael Hartman’s Ocean City Theatre Company will present a Broadway production of Annie and also two sessions of the popular children’s show School House Rock.
An array of other entertainment will appeal to children and grown-ups alike, including the Jungle John Reptile Show, story teller Jim Albertson, Magic Shows by Chad Juros, Tommy McDonnell and Allow, the Turtle Singers and the fabulous Gold Medal Award juggler Chris Ivey, winner of the 2002 World Juggling Championship.
Broadway by Request will be back singing show tunes. Other favorites on the bill include The Norristones Doo Wop singers with Barbershop Favorites, Alligator Zydeco, and award-winning Cajun Band, the Bubby Fan Gospel Choir, the Cape Shore Chorale, folk singer, folk singer, Carl Howell, popular youth band 1-2-3 Draw, pianist Andrew Hink playing music from the Beatles, Billy Joel and his own compositions and the Harmony Show Choir will entertain with Disney and Broadway songs.
Visitors will be able to participate in the Lucky Guess Game Show featuring comedian Ron MacCloskey. Ken Cooper will give insights into Ocean City History and Mark Soifer, a published poet, will read stories from his light verse epic, “A Cat with Nine Tales.” The award-winning comedian, Jim Krzewski, aka Spoon Man Cruise, will present a performance that incorporates audience interaction and family fun.
Refreshments will be available at the Civic Center, Sixth Street and Boardwalk; Ocean City High School cafeteria, featuring a Taste of Ocean City; Ocean City Senior Center with specialties by Yianni's Cafe; the Ocean City Primary School and St. Peter’s Church featuring Boardwalk fare. Numerous Ocean City restaurants will be open New Year’s Eve.
Parking will be free in all Ocean City municipal lots. Jitney Service will be provided from 5 p.m. until midnight for button holders, operating continuously between sites. All who buy First Night admissions buttons will be given a program book with details about site locations, parking and the jitney service.
First Night has an Angel Fund for those who can’t afford buttons. Call 609-525-9300 to receive buttons or support the fund. This year’s event is dedicated to Elvis Performer Ted Prior, a great First Night favorite for many years who passed away last spring. Ted’s initials have been incorporated into the cover of the program book.
For information, call the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce at 609-399-1412 or the Ocean City Public Relations Office at 609-525-9300.