Running a babysitting agency, you learn some things you never quite expect to. Like who is more popular among kids: Taylor Swift or Justin Beiber? Or the best business apparel to wear while swimming in the ocean. Or, like, which area restaurant is the best to take Mom to when Dad is trying to get out of the doghouse.
Or ... that Night in Venice is the best night for the kids to go up to the Ocean City Boardwalk.
Last year, while some parents were at some bayside Night in Venice parties, Bonded Babysitters took some kids up to the boardwalk, which is not unusual for us. What was unusual was the feedback I got from the babysitters the next day.
They told me that the boardwalk was "less crowded" than normal for a summer night. Granted, since it's the Ocean City Boardwalk on a summer night, it's never a ghost town. But they told me the lines were shorter for everything, which means the kids they were watching spent less time waiting for fun and more time having it.
And then the feedback I got from the parents confirmed it. They told me their kids had a blast at the boardwalk becuase the lines had never been that short.
So apparently, the best night of the year for kids to go to the boardwalk is Night in Venice.
I guess it makes sense. Everyone is going to the bay side of the island to watch the boat parade, which means they're not at the boardwalk. A lot of parents end up going to house parties along the bay, which means they're not taking their kids to the boardwalk. And let's be honest — with all the traffic, crowds and shuttles to parking lots along the bay, after the parade I'm sure a lot of parents say to themselves, "We're done with crowds tonight, we're going home!" Especially when they had to deal with a drawbridge.
You think about all this, and you can say why last year we watched so many kids who thought it was the best night ever at the boardwalk.
Now, this year with a 6 p.m. start time and the new "drawless" bridge to alleviate traffic, this could send more crowds to the boardwalk. But I still think that this summer, the best night for the boardwalk will be Night in Venice.
I'll tell you what the kids say.
Ed Sheppard is director of business development for Bonded Babysitters, now in its second year of providing babysitting services at homes, condos, apartments, townhouses, hotel rooms, the beach or boardwalk.