By MADDY VITALE, OCNJDAILY
Rain couldn’t keep Santa from making an early appearance in Ocean City Friday night at the city’s annual Christmas Parade.
Santa waved at children as he rode in a horse-drawn carriage. Spectators lined Asbury Avenue for the festivities, which stretched from Sixth Street to 11th Street.
There were floats, fire engines, some eye-grabbing dance groups, pageant queens, dogs in their holiday best, and yes – the Grinch, who made multiple appearances.
Not only was the Grinch walking along the avenue with his faithful pooch, Max, but he was also on a float and in a golf cart with Cindy Lou Who. The image of the Grinch also appeared in the parade as a giant balloon.
Garland-wrapped lamp posts and wreaths that hung above the avenue added to the Christmas allure. Elves tossed candy to gleeful children.
Ocean City residents Michele and Michael Potts and their friend, Liz Tiberio, also of Ocean City, and her 8-year-old granddaughter, Mackenzie, anxiously awaited the start of the parade.
There was no question they were going to keep the parade on their Friday night to-do list, despite the gloomy forecast.
“It’s fun. Rain or shine, we were coming,” Michele said of their family tradition.
Michael added, “We have a good time at the parade.”
Tiberio and her granddaughter also love the parade and make it an annual tradition.
“It’s a great parade and Mackenzie likes the floats,” she pointed out.
Among the parade entries were the Ocean City High School Marching Band, the Interboro High School Marching Band of Prospect Park, Pa., and the Absegami High School Marching Braves.
Dignitaries including Mayor Jay Gillian and his wife, Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, rode in a convertible, while some of the Ocean City Council members waved from a trolley bus.
Michele and Daniel Mathe, of Baltimore, and their friends had no complaints about their entertainment for Friday night.
“We love it, and our kids love it,” Michele said. “It really gets you into the Christmas spirit.”
“We always enjoy the parade,” Daniel chimed in. “It’s an experience where we get to come down to the shore and enjoy something other than the beach.”