BY MADDY VITALE
Ocean City sure knows how to do it up – big – if the Fall Block Party was any indication. In what officials believe was a record-breaking crowd Saturday, the resort was packed.
Families came to enjoy beautiful weather, spectacular food, discounts on an array of household items and live entertainment literally stretching from the downtown to the Boardwalk.
While downtown shoppers browsed 400-plus vendors on Asbury Avenue from Fifth Street up to 14th Street from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., those who preferred to make their excursion to the Boardwalk enjoyed merchant table sales up by the ocean.
“This is the largest attendance, between the downtown and the Boardwalk. It is a blockbuster event,” said Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Gillian noted that Rose Savastano and her team at the Chamber did a phenomenal job working with the vendors, offering the patrons a host of merchandise and foods to choose from.
“The Fall Block Party is great for the economy here – for the businesses from the hotels, to the motels, B&Bs, restaurants, rentals and retail,” Gillian added. “Everything has been supersized today because of the Block Party.”
Parking was at a premium. While walking along Asbury Avenue from Fifth to 14th streets through the crowds, it was easy to see that thousands of people had the Block Party as their top to-do on Saturday.
Brya Sturges, of Philadelphia, and her husband, John, brought their dachshund, Abby, along for the event. The couple’s friends, Shaila Green and her husband Paul, of Aston, Pa., took their dachshund, Charlie, for some added excitement.
The couples and their pooches carefully navigated the jam-packed crowd on Asbury Avenue as they stopped to look at vendor tents along the way.
“We love Ocean City. We have a second home here,” Brya Sturges said. “This is our second Block Party in Ocean City and we were excited about coming down for it today.”
The friends planned on posting videos on Instagram of the pooches’ travels through the bustling Block Party.
They made it a point to not only head to the Block Party to get some great buys and do some early holiday shopping, but to bring their pooches along for some added entertainment.
“We love it. We will be here again next year,” Shaila Green said.
While some were just arriving at the Block Party, others were already there for several hours and amassed quite a few finds.
Ashley Baxter and her aunt, Tricia Baxter, both of Springfield, Pa., and second homeowners in Ocean City, are no novices to shopping or Ocean City’s annual Fall Block Party.
By 11:30 a.m., they had bags stuffed with all sorts of household items and a few holiday gifts.
They also purchased brightly colored bouquets that they couldn’t resist.
Ashley bought a wooden statue of a comical-looking reindeer with googly eyes as a Christmas gift. In her other hand, she held flowers and a green bag filled with Eagles gear.
“It’s nice to see the crowds in the fall and it’s nice to get down here,” Ashley said with a smile. “We got some great things.”
Tricia Baxter displayed a bottle of apple cider among the goodies and recent purchases.
“The weather is absolutely beautiful,” Tricia Baxter noted.
To cap off the day of festivities, fireworks were planned over the Boardwalk.
For more information about events in Ocean City, visit the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce website at oceancityvacation.com or visit the Chamber of Facebook.