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Christmas Dinner, First Night, First Day on the Way 12/23/15

(Dec. 25) FREE CHRISTMAS DINNER: For the 27th year, the Community Christmas Celebration will offer a free buffet dinner with all the trimmings. ALL are welcome! The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church, 8th and Central Ave. Take outs will be available. Volunteers will deliver to those who can’t attend. Transportation will be provided if needed. Call (609) 398-8781. There will be special access for the disabled and free parking.

No need to spend the Holiday home alone. There will be folks to talk to, entertainment and games at the centrally located church. All this in addition to a tasty meal. The dinner was started by Mike and Peaches Lukens to provide good food, good cheer and promote comradeship in the community. It is now run by Holly Martinez, their daughter. Ocean City is truly a great family community with a big heart that takes care of its own and its visitors. Merry Christmas to all and to all a happy and healthy 2016.

(Dec. 31) FIRST NIGHT began here 24 years ago. It is patterned after a celebration in Boston designed to keep folks off the roads, entertained and safe on New Year’s Eve. It was brought to our attention by Carla Heist who pushed hard for the event and helped form the first committee that now consists of over 100 volunteers under the direction of the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce.

 

I often wonder how many lives have been saved and how many accidents have been avoided by this non-alcoholic celebration. It is fitting that the John R. Elliott HERO CAMPAIGN, that saves lives through its Designated Driver programs, has selected Ocean City for its special Campaign Challenge on New Year’s Day. Its members will plunge into the Ocean at 9th Street to raise funds for its designated driver projects that are now moving nationwide. Access www.herocampaign.org for more information.

FIRST NIGHT, Ocean City’s gala New Year’s Eve Celebration, offers a variety of entertainment for families and visitors for just $20. The Holiday Gala features 76 entertainment programs from 4 p.m. till midnight. There will be a fireworks show at midnight to cap the celebration.

Opening ceremonies will be held 4 p.m. at the ice skating rink, a First Night attraction located at Carey Stadium, 6th St. off Boardwalk. It will include greetings by City officials and entertainment.

A First Night Admission button will entitle bearer to free access to Wonderland Amusement rides from 5-9 p.m. Entertainment features events for every age group including children’s programs that adults will also enjoy. For instance, acclaimed magician, Chad Juros, the Allo Puppets, Give and Take Jugglers, Jungle John, the Turtle Singers and more.

A Tribute to Neal Diamond is scheduled for the Music Pier, the Fabulous Grease Band will perform at the Civic Center and a new group Angelina and the Exploding Robots, a 5 piece (some robot, some human) band wants to get you groovin’ and movin’ by playing favorites from the 60’s. at the Senior Center. The Hegemen String Band will strut at the High School and the hilarious Abbott and Costello Comedy Show is booked for St. Peter’s United Methodist Church. The Norristone Doo Wop Singers entertain at the Ocean City Senior Center, 17th and Simpson Ave.

Rock’n Roll Hall of Famer, Dick Richards, the original drummer of Bill Haley’s Comets, will be featured at the High School. There will be plenty of Inflatables at the Sports and Civic Center. Enjoy the night sky at the High School Planetarium and swim at the Aquatic and Fitness Center pool from 4 to 7 p.m. The acclaimed Ocean City Pops Orchestra will greet the New Year with shows at 10 and 11 p.m. at the Tabernacle, 5th and Wesley Ave. This is just a sample of the entertainment you will enjoy at First Night. All who buy admission buttons will be given a program book listing site locations, parking and jitney service. Many locations are within walking distance.

The following performance centers will feature food and drink: Civic Center, 6th and Boardwalk, Del’s Grill with light Boardwalk fare; High School Cafeteria, Taste of Ocean City featuring resort favorites; the Senior Center, Yianni’s serving munchies, and St. Peter’s Church serving light boardwalk fare.

Buy your buttons online at www.firstnightocnj.com or call 1-800-BEACH-NJ. Buttons are also available at the Wonderland Booth in Stainton’s Square, 810 Asbury Ave., the Causeway Welcome Center and the City Hall Welcome Center, 9th and Asbury Ave.

First Night has an Angel Fund for those who can’t afford buttons. Call (609) 399-6111 to receive buttons or support fund.

(Jan. 1) FIRST DAY AT THE BEACH: January 1st is a busy day for this family resort. Those who stay over night on New Years Eve and area residents have plenty they can do. First Day at the Beach and First Day in the Downtown keep them entertained.

A 5K Boardwalk Run/Walk begins 1 p.m. in front of the Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace. Day of Race registration 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Contact Race Director, Mike Givens (609) 861-0674.

Online registration at www.jbsportstiming.com until 9 p.m. Dec. 30. Shirts for all pre-registered and as supplies last on race day. Awards will be presented for the 5K Race, Male and Female, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and overall. There are age groups from 14 and under to 70 and over. Walk is non competitive.

Entry fee $20 if received by December 28. $30 day of race for both 5K and Walk.

The City presents its popular FIRST DIP in the Ocean starting 2 p.m. near the 9th St. Beach. Plungers should register in front of Music Pier from 12 to 2 p.m. Participants receive a BEACH NUT Certificate signifying that they have taken the plunge on New Year’s Day. The Plunge is free to all. Event includes the popular HERO Campaign challenge.

Shoppers will be able to kick-off the New Year with FIRST DAY IN THE DOWNTOWN along the Asbury Avenue Shopping District. Most stores will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., some earlier at 10 a.m. Asbury Avenue was recently voted the Number one Downtown in South Jersey and is noted for its over one hundred unusual specialty stores, galleries and restaurants. For information, contact Public Relations, 609-399-6111 or 1-800-BEACH-NJ.

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