By MediaWize, OCNJDAILY
Heading into the holidays, Ocean City will host a full calendar of special family events through the end of the year.
The celebrations begin along downtown Asbury Avenue on Saturday, Nov. 18, for the Earlier Than the Bird extravaganza. The annual event features shoppers dressed in pajamas. It will take place 8 a.m. to noon on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Anybody (pajama-clad or not) can take advantage of early-bird shopping specials at stores on Asbury Avenue between Sixth Street and 14th Street and win special gifts and prizes.
Free horse-and-carriage rides will be available that day from noon to 3 p.m. The same free service will then be available noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 25 through Dec. 23. It’s a chance to ride the downtown the old-fashioned. Riders board the carriages at Sixth Street and Asbury Avenue.
In a new event this year, the downtown will be celebrating “Festive Fridays.” The fun will start on Nov. 24 with Ocean City’s traditional Christmas in the Downtown – “Our Miracle on Asbury Avenue.” This Black Friday event includes shopping, horse-and-carriage rides, street entertainment, carolers, and visits with Santa. The event will culminate around 5 p.m. when Santa Claus will emerge on the rooftop of City Hall. With the help of an Ocean City Fire Department ladder truck, Santa will descend and help light the Christmas Tree and illuminate City Hall.
Festive Fridays will continue on Dec. 1 with the annual Christmas Parade at 6 p.m. on Asbury Avenue from 6th Street to 11th Street. Festive Fridays will then continue on Dec. 8, 15 and 22 with shopping, carolers, and free horse-and-carriage rides from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Here is a list of other upcoming events:
- Annual Fast & Furriest 5K Turkey Trot (Nov. 23): Down the Boardwalk. Sponsored by the Humane Society of Ocean City. For more information, call 609-398-9500, ext. 4, or visit hsocnj.org.
- Holidays with the Ocean City Pops (Nov. 25): Enjoy your favorite holiday songs with the Ocean City Pops. Led by conductor Vince Lee, the Pops will perform classic favorites and modern hits featuring soloist Sara Maimone of Ocean City. 6 p.m. at the Ocean City Music Pier. For tickets, visit OceanCityVacation.com/BoxOffice.
- Photos with Santa in Lifeguard Boat (Nov. 25-Dec. 23): Noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at the Ocean City Music Pier.
- Visits with Santa in the Downtown (Nov. 25-Dec. 23): 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays at Mark Soifer Park, 9th Street and Asbury Avenue.
- Train Show (Dec. 2-3): Free admission to model train show 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
- ‘Finding Nemo JR’ (Dec. 8-10): Ocean City Theatre Company students in grades 3 to 8 will present this stage adaptation of Disney’s classic story. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9, and 2 p.m. Dec. 10. More information and online ticket sales are available at oceancitytheatrecompany.com.
- First Night New Year’s Eve Celebration (Dec. 31): Celebrate New Year’s Eve with the entire family. The 31st anniversary of this Ocean City event will feature traditional favorites such as rides, ice-skating and magicians, along with headline entertainment including the Stevie Nicks tribute band Gypsy and the Motown revue Motor City. For a complete schedule and to purchase all-inclusive admission buttons, visit firstnightocnj.com.
- First Day Celebration (Jan. 1, 2024): Activities include a 1 p.m. 5K run on the Boardwalk (pre-register at www.ocnj.us/race-events), a 2 p.m. First Dip polar plunge in the ocean, and an all-day shopping extravaganza. Visit firstnightocnj.com for more information.