Current News and Events

Christmas Parade Makes Many Merry in O.C.

Christmas Parade Makes Many Merry in O.C.
By mvitale, OCNJDaily
All anyone who wanted to get into the Christmas spirit had to do Friday night was to go to downtown Ocean City to watch a parade featuring dancers, balloons, bands, beauty queens, singers, horses, vintage cars and St. Nick himself.

That is exactly what Ron and Erin Gifford, of Ocean City, and their two children, Lillian, 4, and Natalie, 3, did.

Like every year, they attend the event to really get into the festive Christmas mood, the Giffords said.

Wreaths with big, red bows, garland-wrapped lamp posts, and City Hall decked out with lights and a Christmas tree helped create the near-perfect backdrop for a holiday parade.

Erin and Ron Gifford, of Ocean City, watch the parade with their children, Natalie, 3, at left, and 4-year-old Lillian.

The only thing missing was snow.

“It really gives you that small, hometown feel,” Ron Gifford said.

“They make it so special every year,” Erin added. “To see the little ones’ faces light up when they see Santa go by makes the night.”

Lillian had one request.

“I want to see Santa!” she exclaimed.

Her plan was to let him know she wanted a yoyo and a doll. But just in case she didn’t get to meet with Santa after the parade, she had a letter. Her sister did, too.

They were going to drop them in Santa’s Mailbox at the corner of Ninth Street and Asbury Avenue.

Elves are everywhere at the Christmas Parade.

The parade stretched from Sixth Street to 11th Street and featured about 65 entries, including the Ocean City High School Band and the Pitman High School Band.

There were also plenty of pageant titleholders in the parade, including Little Miss Ocean City Antonella DiAntonio, Junior Miss Ocean City Natalie Argento and Miss Ocean City Mary Grace Jamison.

Singers from the Upper Township School District, members of the state champion Ocean City High School girls’ soccer team, 2019 Ocean City Citizen of the Year Carrie Merritt and the casts of Ocean City Theatre Company’s “Frozen Jr.” and “2019 Holiday Spectacular” were some of the other participants.

Dancers from studios around the region compete for a “Dancin’ Through the Downtown” award.

The crowds applauded when dancers from different dance companies showcased their talents in a “Dancin’ Through the Downtown” competition.

Some of them did backflips and spins to the amazement and awe of spectators.

Children watched with excitement and waved as decorated floats glided by.

Dana and Josh Linthicum, of Ocean City, watched with their daughter, Keira, 7, for their other daughter, Kai, 10, to pass by on the “Frozen Jr.” float.

The parade is one of the centerpieces of a busy schedule of holiday events through December designed to attract visitors to the downtown business district and the Boardwalk.

Abbey Herrington, 8, at left, and friends, Keira Linthicum, 7, and Colleen Geary, 8, all of Ocean City, watch the floats go by.

Dana Linthicum said it is one of many family-friendly events from now until Christmas that really make the holidays special.

“This is always one of our favorite holiday traditions,” she said. “Between last week with Santa coming, and the Christmas parade, there is really something to do in Ocean City every week leading up to Christmas.”

Keira and her Ocean City friends, Abbey Herrington, 8, and Colleen Geary, 8, said they liked the floats and the balloons, but were anxious to see Kai on the “Frozen Jr.” float.

Parade participants also included business owners. Members of City Council rode in a trolley car.

Colin Schival and his sister, Avery, 11, of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., proudly display their new gifts as their grandparents, Dennis and Kathy Donahue, smile.

Jody Levchuk, of Jilly’s Boardwalk shops, handed out some toys and candy as he and other Jilly’s staff marched in the parade.

Colin Schival, of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., and his big sister, Avery, 11, were the lucky kids to receive some of the gifts Levchuk handed out.

“I got a gum ball gun!” Colin shouted.

His favorite part of the night, however, were the fire trucks.

“I got candy, too,” Avery said with a smile.

“I love the Christmas decorations and lights,” she said of the holiday decorations along Asbury Avenue.

The crescendo of the night was a giant Rudolph balloon tugged by a handful of parade participants down Asbury Avenue and carefully turned to display to each side of the spectator-lined avenue.

And then, right behind the red-nosed reindeer, was Santa Claus in a horse-drawn carriage waving to the merriment of the children.

Aside from Santa Claus, Rudolph is a huge hit and new to this year’s Christmas Parade.

The OCTC “Frozen Jr.” cast glides along.

A 1930 car putters down Asbury Avenue.

The Gillian’s Wonderland Pier Wonder Bear waves at the crowd.

These elves head out in style.