By MADDY VITALE
Ah, those summer days. When the winds are whipping and the winter chill is biting, there is one thing that can provide assurance – summer will be back and Ocean City beachgoers will once again be able to sit by the water or take a dip.
But for now, there is one pleasant reminder that months from now, the spectacular beach days will be back – beach tags.
The seasonal beach tags for 2022 go on sale Saturday and can be purchased at City Hall, the Music Pier and all of the Welcome Centers throughout town. They may also be purchased online at store.ocnj.us.
A discounted price of $20 is available through May 31. On June 1, it increases to $25.
And this year, there is something particularly meaningful about the design on the tags, explained Michael Allegretto, aide to Mayor Jay Gillian.
“The mayor wanted to feature the newly installed flagpole that is in front of the Music Pier,” he said in an interview Friday. “He wanted to highlight the daily flag-raising ceremony that honors veterans.”
Each morning during the summer months, members of the community, including local veterans, attend the ceremony.
While in 2003 there was a depiction of the Music Pier on the tags, this is the first actual photo of it on the tags, Allegretto noted.
Earlier this year, the city installed the new flagpole. The flag-raising ceremony was relocated to the Music Pier from OC Waterpark, where it was held for many years.
The tradition of a flag-raising ceremony at the Music Pier dates back to July 4, 1940. The daily summer ritual took on new meaning during the World War II years that followed, before it was discontinued in 1946, according to the city. The flag-raising ceremony was later restored.
This year’s Music Pier photo not only provides a piece of history to each beachgoer, but it also is a nice present to give to a loved one, Allegretto said.
“They are great holiday gifts,” he said.
And each year since the city created the beach tags in 1976, a lot of thought and time goes into selecting the best design for the particular year.
Over the years the beach tags have been both whimsical and serious. There have been tags with smiling images of crustaceans on them, images of lifeguard stands, ones with anchors or beach umbrellas and others with people waving. The first tag back in 1976 was resplendent in red, white and blue stars showcasing the country’s monumental bicentennial milestone.
Some people collect them, others give them as gifts and perhaps, most importantly, visitors to Ocean City use them to enter the beach to spend a day enjoying the sand and surf.
Beach tags are required for all beachgoers ages 12 and older and will be in effect from June 4 through Sept. 5. Only seasonal beach tags can be purchased at this time. Weekly ($10) and daily ($5) tags will be available for purchase during the season.
Purchase in person at the following locations, excluding holidays:
- City Hall (861 Asbury Ave.): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
- 52 Welcome Center: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
- Henry Knight Building (12th Street and Haven Ave.): 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday
- Aquatic & Fitness Center (17th Street and Simpson Ave.): 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
- 46th Street Welcome Center: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday to Saturday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.
For additional information, visit store.ocnj.us or call 609-399-6111.