By MediaWize, OCNJDAILY
Not to be outdone by his friend the Phillie Phanatic, the Philadelphia Flyers’ madman mascot Gritty will join Ocean City’s Night in Venice boat parade on July 29.
The theme of this year’s event is “It’s a Philly Thing,” and the two Philadelphia mascots will rev up the thousands of spectators who will line the bayside for the premier event of the summer in Ocean City.
Ocean City’s 68th annual Night in Venice is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, July 29. Retired Action News anchor Jim Gardner will serve as grand marshal.
Legend has it that the construction of the Wells Fargo Center in Philly disturbed Gritty’s secret hideout and forced him to show his face publicly for the first time in 2018.
But he’s been a sensation ever since, and Philadelphia fans love the attitude that he’s named for and that their team has always demonstrated.
Joining Gritty on his boat will be Comcast Spectacor Chairman and CEO Dan Hilferty, who also serves as governor for the Flyers. Hilferty is a graduate of St. Joseph’s University who joined Comcast Spectacor after leading Philadelphia’s successful bid to be a host city for the FIFA World Cup in 2026.
A highly distinguished CEO with deep roots in Philadelphia, Hilferty was previously at the helm of Independence Blue Cross – one of the nation’s leading health insurers – as its president and CEO.
Hilferty and his wife, Joan, live in the Philadelphia area, and they have a home in Ocean City. The couple has five children and four grandchildren.
“Philadelphia and Ocean City have always been connected, and I’m excited that Gritty and Dan, the Phillie Phanatic and Jim Gardner will all be helping us celebrate Night in Venice,” Mayor Jay Gillian said. “They’re all great representatives of Philly, and we’ll be ready to give them a warm welcome. Dan and Joan have also been an important part of our community here in Ocean City, and they’ve been good friends to Michele and me.”
Entries are still open to anybody who wants to participate in the excitement of the annual bayfront celebration.
The optional theme of “It’s a Philly Thing” provides a chance to celebrate the rich history and culture of the Philadelphia region in sports, music, food, education, government, and more.
Entries for boats and homes are currently being accepted online at www.ocnj.us/niv or by calling 609-399-6111.
Presenting sponsors for the 2023 Night in Venice are ACME Markets and the Jet Drive Exchange Boat Club, and they’ve helped put together a great package of prizes for participating boats and homeowners.