Ocean City Guide: Memorial Day Weekend
Ocean City residents and visitors celebrate the start of another summer season.
For seasoned lovers of summer — the ones who count down the days through winter, then rue each passing day of summer — this week is a glorious one. All the good times and good food and good company are still ahead. Not a day of summer has expired yet.
Astronomers and meteorologists continue to maintain that summer starts on June 20 this year. But everybody in Ocean City knows that it starts on the Saturday before the last Monday in May — otherwise known as the start of Memorial Day Weekend.
And of all the weekend attractions that Ocean City has to offer, there's really only one that ever really matters: the weather. You can't predict the weather—least of all on the barrier islands (though the early forecasts look pretty spectacular). But here are some things that are certain to happen this weekend (click on the event name for more detail):
UNLOCKING OF THE OCEAN: The Memorial Day Weekend festivities start at noon Friday, May 25, when Mayor Jay Gillian and Ocean City Beach Patrol members turn a large wooden key on the beach at Ninth Street to officially open the ocean for the season. Goofy? Sure. But we can't interrupt a tradition that has brought decades of great summers.
"Pomp and Circumstance" will play as more than 100 merchants and business professionals march, fully-clothed, into the 60-degree ocean for the annual BUSINESS PERSONS' PLUNGE, which immediately follows the Unlocking of the Ocean.
PHILLY PHANATIC ON BOARDWALK: The Philly Phanatic will greet visitors on the Ocean City Boardwalk at Eighth Street from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 25. Jilly's Stores and Manco & Manco Pizza giveaways, drawings and photos with the Phanatic.
AMERICAN LEGION YARD SALE: The American Legion Auxiliary will hold a yard sale 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 26, at the Post, 3304 Bay Ave. Call 609-398-6480. A hoagie sale will be held in conjunction with the yard sale. Full- sized hoagies will be $5. Pick-ups can be made between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the Post. Pre-orders are requested. Call 609-398-1751.
TONY MART PRESENTS — ROCKIN' THE OCEAN CITY MUSIC PIER: The nine-piece SOS Show Band pays tribute to the 1970s horn band Chicago in an 8 p.m Saturday concert at the Ocean City Music Pier. Tickets are $20. The show is part of a series of live Saturday night rock concerts recalling those “Wild Summer Nights” of Tony Mart, the legendary Somers Point nightclub that closed 30 years ago.
BARKS ON THE BOARDS: Ocean City's colorful dog walk on the Boardwalk is set for May 27. Registration begins 11:30 a.m., walk starts at noon at Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace. Canine Fashion and Talent Contest starts at 1 p.m. For information call 609-399-2018 or access www.hsocnj.org.
MEMORIAL DAY WREATH CEREMONY: At 9:15 a.m. on Memorial Day, lifeguards will row a short distance off the Moorlyn Terrace Beach opposite the Music Pier and place a wreath in the Atlantic Ocean. The ceremony is in remembrance of all the men and women who sacrificed their lives "so that the rest of us could live free." The ceremony can be viewed from the pavilion area at the south side of the Music Pier or from the beach.
MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE: The annual Memorial Day Service is set for 11 a.m. Monday at Veterans Memorial Park, Fifth Street and Wesley Ave.
The annual Memorial Day Service is set for 11 a.m. Monday at Veterans Memorial Park, Fifth Street and Wesley Ave. Guest speaker will be U.S. Army Lt. Col. Kenneth Patterson. Information and plaques on The Wall of Honor will be updated during services. Jim Houck, past commander and judge advocate of American Legion Post 524, will be recognized for his extensive research on those killed in action.
Beach and Boardwalk Information
GUARDED BEACHES: Ocean City Beach Patrol lifeguards will be on duty 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the following beaches: St. Charles Place, Brighton Place, Eighth Street, Ninth Street, 11th, 12th, 14th, 18th, 26th, 34th, 44th and 57th streets. The ocean water temperature as of May 21 was 61 degrees.
BEACH TAGS: Seasonal beach tags ($20 until May 31) are on sale online and at four locations in Ocean City:
- City Hall, 861 Asbury Avenue, and the Henry S. Knight Building, 115 12th Street. (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily)
- The Ocean City Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and the Boardwalk. (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays)
- Roy Gillian Welcome Center, 16 E. Ninth St. (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday)
- Ocean City Aquatic and Fitness Center, 1735 Simpson Avenue. (9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Fridays; 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays)
The price goes up to $25 on June 1. Beach tags are not required until June 9 (through Sept. 3).
BOARDWALK BICYCLING: Summer rules are in effect. Bikes are allowed on the boards only between 5 a.m. and noon. See more on boardwalk biking hours in Ocean City.
PARKING: Parking meters were activated May 1, and municipal parking lot fees are in effect.