By MADDY VITALE
Ocean City will be all about delicious foods, mega-shopping, live entertainment, pony rides and, yes, even fireworks to cap off the always popular Fall Block Party on Saturday.
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the downtown from Fifth to 14th streets along Asbury Avenue will transform into a block party that rivals all others throughout the country, while showcasing local restaurants, crafters and downtown and Boardwalk businesses.
“The fall and spring block parties in Ocean City are premier events that welcome thousands of visitors to Ocean City, filling our rooms, restaurants and stores in the downtown and the Boardwalk,” said Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The Fall Block Party is one of the city’s biggest and most spectacular events, really showcasing all that the town has to offer, Gillian added in a statement Monday.
Each year, tens of thousands of visitors descend on the resort town to enjoy the Fall Block Party, which is sponsored by the Chamber. Visitors do some holiday shopping and enjoy time with family and friends.
“Thousands attend and enjoy the hundreds of crafters, delicious food vendors and fun entertainment,” Gillian said. “It’s the place to be, where neighbors, second homeowners, as well as new guests get to catch up with people and places they haven’t seen for a while.”
Bridget Jacobson, vice president of the Downtown Merchants Association, and director of operations for Stainton’s by the Sea and Stainton’s Gallery of Shoppes in the downtown, said that the Fall Block Party is something merchants “look forward to all year long.”
“There is always a great turnout. It’s a huge kickoff to the fall shopping season,” Jacobson said. “And just like the people who come out for the block party to support local small businesses, we look forward to them coming back to Ocean City and supporting the small business owners who are open all year long.”
But as is the case for most successful events, a lot of planning and preparation go into the event, officials said.
Gillian said she would be remiss if she didn’t show her appreciation for the Chamber of Commerce employees working behind the scenes to make the block party a standout.
“I can’t say enough about the event and the Chamber team led by Rose Savastano who oversees these events,” Gillian said. “They work throughout the year to prepare for this weekend.”
In addition to shopping and a wide variety of foods, there’s a long lineup of live entertainment.
Bands will perform at various spots along Asbury Avenue between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Entertainers will include Big Daddy Duo and crooner Keith Hickman.
And for the kiddies, pony rides will be available on the Ocean City Tabernacle grounds at Sixth Street and Asbury Avenue from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To cap off the block party, there will be a fireworks display at 9 p.m., which will be launched from a barge off the Ocean City Music Pier.
And no worries about parking. It will be free at all metered spots and downtown parking lots and also at the Transportation Center lot and the municipal lots on the 700 and 800 blocks of Central Avenue.
For more information about Ocean City and its events, visit www.OceanCityVacation.com or visit the Chamber on its Facebook page.