Thousands of visitors converged on Ocean City on Monday night to celebrate New Year's Eve — despite the recent hurricane that devastated much of the Jersey Shore.
Volunteer hosts at each of 18 different entertainment venues reminded visitors that Ocean City is rebuilt, restored and ready for business.
Residents and visitors packed the venues to take in more than 70 different entertainment programs during Ocean City's 21st annual First Night, a nonalcoholic New Year's Eve celebration that caters to families.
Event organizers sold an estimated 8,000 all-inclusive admission buttons, according to Ocean City Public Relations Director Mark Soifer. He said 6,000 were sold in advance, and about 2,000 more were sold on Monday as visitors took advantage of relatively mild weather with no rain.
Last year's event sold out at 10,000 buttonsr, but Soifer said he was pleasantly surprised that this year's event came so close to matching that total — a testament to Ocean City's "loyal following," he said.
Hurricane Sandy struck 12 miles north of Ocean City on Oct. 29, flooded downtown businesses, displaced residents and led to a major cleanup effort. But the island was spared the major structural damage that coastal communites to the north suffered. And a massive volunteer and cooperative effort helped most businesses reopen in time for the holidays.
First Night provided a chance for Ocean City to show off its recovery, and the crowds seemed to enjoy what they saw.
Check out the video above for a sampling of the evening's entertainment, which started at 4 p.m. and continued through fireworks at midnight. Click on the PDF icon above to see the complete entertainment lineup.
Cloud cover prevented the public debut of the new observatory adjacent to Ocean City High School, but all other events went off without a hitch. Tommy Cash, brother of the late Johnny Cash, provided headline entertainment at the Ocean City Music Pier. His show included many of his brother's songs.
Ocean City's New Year's celebration continues on Tuesday with First Day festivities, including a 5K boardwalk run and the annual First Plunge polar bear swim. See our Guide to First Night and First Day in Ocean City.