More than a century after it started, Ocean City's annual Baby Parade shows no sign of fading.
Despite some heat and humidity, more than 100 entries and 150 children age 10 and younger participated in the 103rd annual Ocean City Baby Parade on Thursday, Aug. 9.
The parade went off at 10:15 a.m. under a bright sun, still air and with temperatures in the high 80s. Crowds on the Boardwalk parted to let the parade pass, and many sat in bleachers set up along the parade route on the Boardwalk between Sixth and 12th streets.
The parade features wagons, carts, strollers and floats decorated in various themes — with participating children dressed to match. The Olympic Games were a popular theme this year — along with the old staple Jimmy Buffett entries. One entry that drew a cheer and a chuckle was: "Party at my crib — BYOB" (Bring your own baby bottle) featuring 10-month-old John Dugan Morgridge of Philadelphia.
Mark Soifer, who has kept the parade alive as Ocean City's public relations director, marched the entire route in his trademark Trashbuster costume.
After the parade, Soifer said all four of his children and all eight of his grandchildren were in the town for the parade. He talked his own family, about the baby parade, the Pamper Scamper crawling races that took place on Tuesday and about next week's "Weird Contest Week."
"It gives families something to do before they go to the beach," Soifer said. "That's what it's all about."
Prizes for Baby Parade entries are as follows:
Section 100 (Fancy Under 2 Years Old)
- First: Grace LaPorta (Dr. and Mrs. Lou LaPorta), 17 months old, Spring Hill, Fla., "Mer-Made in Ocean City"
- Second: Julie Parkinson (Chuck and Janet Parkinson), 11 months old, Philadelphia, Pa., "Julie B Goode"
- Third: Matthew Dean Rainier (Adam and Bethann Rainier), 5 months old, Ocean City, N.J., "Captain Cutie"
- Honorable Mention: Luke Bilker (Kelly Bilker), 5 months old, Ocean City, N.J., "Baby Lightning (Olympic)"
Section 200 (Fancy 2 to 6 Years Old)
- First: Jack (4) and Zach (2) Engstrom (Sandy Engstrom), Ocean City, N.J., "Our Hive Is Buzzin' "
- Second: Francesca Mia (3) and Alexandra Mackenzie Mastro (16 months) (Kimberly and Todd Mastro), Absecon, N.J., "The Bathing Beauties of Ocean City"
- Third: Bode (3) and Skylar (4 months) Taylor (Christine Czaja and Jason Taylor), Ocean View, N.J., "There's No Place Like Gnome in OC"
- Honorable Mention: Caroline (5) and Julia (3) Walsh (Matthew Walsh), Lansdale, Pa., "Snowgirls' Dream Vacation"
Section 300 (Fancy 6 to 10 Years Old)
- First: Gregory Crumrine (14 months), Maggie Blum (7), Kaitlyn Blum (5), Aiden Dickson (8) and Owen Dickson (8) (Krista Crumrine), Nutley, N.J., "OCNJ Future Olympians"
- Honorable Mention: Ava Gandy-Callahan (6) and Naomi Gandy-Rector (2) (Jeanie Gandy and Nancy Gandy-Rector), Delran, N.J., and Springfield, Mo., "Under the Sea"
Section 400 (Comic 0 to 10 Years Old)
- First: Masey Ann Heenan (3), Malli Heenan (5 months), Petey Brogen (22 months), Ryan Jost (9 Months) (Tom and Sadie Heenan, Shannon and Everett Brogan, Bob and Melissa Jost), Egg Harbor Township, Pittsgrove, Mount Laurel, N.J., "Pop Pop's Pot of Gold"
- Second: Alexis (9), Lauren (5) and Chase (7 months) Rendel (Cindy and Barron Rendel), Glen Mills, Pa., "OceanCityopoly"
- Third: Paxson Scull (3), Hannah Campbell (5) and Rose Campbell (14 months) (Tom and Nicole Scull, Maria and Mike Campbell), Mays Landing, N.J., "Fishin' for Compliments"
Section 500 (Small Floats 0 to 10 Years Old)
- First: Levi (5) and Layce (2) Erdner (Leon and Cindi Erdner), Salem, N.J., "We LOVE Camping"
- Second: Abrielle Andrzejewski (6 months) (Devon and Nick Andrzejewski), Indianapolis, Ind., "Mom and Dad's 'Bathing' Beauty"
- Third: Olivia Bothel (4 months) (Jennifer and Shane Bothel), Milton, Fla., "Military 'Baby Blue Angel' "
- Honorable Mention: Isabella Brita Burke (7) (Alison Brita), Somers Point, N.J., "Monster High 'Dawn of the Dance' "
Section 800 (Day-of Entry 0 to 10 Years Old)
- First: Johnson and DeFinis families, "Pirates of the Atlantic"
- Second: Barret family, "Margaritaville"
- Third: Gareau family, "14th Street Beach Bums"
- First: Bickings and Clevenger families, "Chicks Rule"
Leo Bamberger's Founders Award: Canale family, "Old English"
Hanscom Award: Lilliana (2) and Angelina (15 months) Pace (Anthony and Dianna Pace), Montgomeryville, Pa., "Garden Tea Party"
Dahlhausen Award: Joseph John Michael Taraba (20 months) (Joe and Lisa Taraba), West Grove, Pa., "Pop Pop's First Mate"
Most Outstanding Twins or Triplets: Antonio and Sophia Lepore (6 months old) (Lauren Lepore), Leonardo, N.J., "Patriotic"
Greatest Distance: Naomi Gandy-Rector (2) (Nancy Gandy-Rector), Springfield, Mo., "Under the Sea"
- Spotlight Performers Show Choir of the Greater Ocean City Theatre Company
- Ocean City Yacht Club
- Chatterbox Restaurant