Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia has its Phanatic, but the Ocean City Boardwalk has a parade of its own mascots — including a "Fry Guy" (Jilly's French Fry Factory) a break-dancing Swagstein (Cap Swag), the veteran Wonder Bear (who just celebrated his 83rd birthday at Gillian's Wonderland Pier) and the iconic Martin Z. Mollusk (City of Ocean City).
The mischievous mascots will be teaming up on Sunday nights this summer as part of a new family theme night on the Boardwalk: Character Night. The event will be held every Sunday from July 8 to August 19.
The fun will start in front of the Ocean City Music Pier at Moorlyn Terrace beginning at 7 p.m. About 13 characters will be hanging out to meet and greet boardwalk visitors. They'll be available for photographs and autographs.
At 7:30 p.m., the mascots will ride down the boardwalk on surreys to wave at passersby. Ultimately, they'll return to their home stores, where they'll continue to meet and greet customers. Character Night is organized by the Boardwalk Merchants Association and sponsored by Manco & Manco’s Pizza and Gillian’s Wonderland Pier.
Kid are encouraged to collect autographs from the participating mascots in a new Ocean City Passport Book. The passport-sized booklet is available for $5 at various Boardwalk stores. It includes pages for autographs and pages to stamp a collection of Boardwalk destinations.
Families and children are encouraged to visit various stores to receive official stamps verifying each passport-holder's travels.
The new Character Nights are an addition to the Boardwalk Merchant's existing theme nights:
- Mummers Nights: On Tuesday nights starting July 3, area string bands will perform from 7 to 9 p.m. between Sixth and 14th streets on the Boardwalk.
- Family Nights: On Thursday nights starting July 5, bands and musical entertainment will be provided at different blocks along the Boardwalk from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. between Sixth and 14th streets. The weekly event is sponsored by Congo Falls, Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, Johnson’s Popcorn, and Playland’s Castaway Cove.
Boardwalk Merchants Association President Wes Kazmarck said that while it's important to acknowledge the value of the shoulder seasons, the association wanted to add to its visitor promotions during the height of the summer season. The new Character Night gives the Boardwalk Merchants three nights of special events.
A new summer concert series at the Ocean City Music Pier will take place on Monday nights.
Weekly events in the downtown shopping district on Asbury Avenue between Sixth and 11th streets will include:
- Funtastic Tuesday: Every Tuesday morning from 10 a.m to 1 p.m., the Ocean City’s Retail Merchants Association will sponsor musical entertainment, face painters and balloon sculptors.
- Farmers Market: Every Wednesday from July through Sept. 12, the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce sponsors a weekly Farmer’s Market. The market will be open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ocean City Tabernacle grounds between Fifth and Sixth streets on Asbury Avenue.
- Market Days: Every Thursday morning from 10 a.m to 1 p.m., the Ocean City’s Retail Merchants Association will sponsor musical entertainment, face painters and balloon sculptors.
- Inn to Inn Tours: Trolley tours of Ocean City's historic inns will be every Thursday from July 5 through the end of August. The tours start at Seventh Street and Central Avenue at 2 p.m.
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