Guide to 2023 Ocean City Night in Venice
The parade starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 29, 2023.
The boat parade begins near the Ocean City-Longport toll bridge and travels along the bayside to Tennessee Avenue, looping in and out of lagoons along the way.
To view the Night in Venice boat parade, grandstands will be set up at street ends along the bay from Battersea Road to 16th Street and also at Tennessee Avenue. These are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Streets include: Battersea Rd., North Street, First Street, Sixth Street, Seventh Street, 11th Street, 13th Street, 15th Street, 16th Street and Tennessee Avenue. Spectators with their own seating can access the parade route from any other public street end and from the bayside park at Second Street.
The Ninth Street Bridge also provides a good vantage point. All pedestrians and bicyclists should use the Shared Use Bike Path and stay to the south side shoulder for viewing. No persons will be allowed to bring chairs for seating onto the bridge. At no time will persons block the free movement of the Shared Use Bike Path. No open alcoholic beverages are permitted on the bridge at any time. Persons are not permitted to walk along the bridge with motor vehicle traffic. Ocean City Police will be present monitoring the bridge while the parade is in progress for assistance.
Tickets for a special viewing area at the Bayside Center, 520 Bay Avenue, are sold out. This area includes a picnic area, snacks for sale and bleacher seating plus DJ entertainment.
The parade is free to watch at all locations except the Bayside Center.
Free parking and shuttle service will run starting at 4 p.m. Parking will be available at:
Shuttles will drop off spectators at street ends where they can watch the parade and return them to the parking lots afterward. The shuttle also drops off at the Bayside Center. The service is free and will be available until 10 p.m.
Parking restrictions begin at midnight Friday (July 28) through midnight Saturday (July 29) for the following locations:
Parking regulations will be strictly enforced. Violators will be ticketed and in severe cases, the vehicles will be towed if public safety is affected. This is to allow for safe passage of all pedestrian and vehicle traffic and emergency vehicle access to isolated areas of the bayfront.
The event’s theme is “It’s a Philly Thing,” a chance to celebrate the rich history and culture of the Philadelphia region in sports, music, food, education, government and more. This theme is optional.
Night in Venice will include a fireworks display launched after the parade from a barge in the bay north of the Ninth Street Bridge, roughly off Third Street. The start time is estimated to be at some point between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., depending on when the parade ends. The display should be best viewed from street ends or the bayfront between the Ocean City-Longport toll bridge and 16th Street.
Anyone with a boat or anyone with a house along the bayfront parade route can participate by decorating their boat or home. Judges pick winners among boats, homes and condominium complexes.
You can register your boat or house online at ocnj.us/niv.
Two presenting sponsors will help add prizes and excitement to the 2023 Night in Venice in Ocean City on July 29. ACME Markets returns as a presenting sponsor, and the Jet Drive Exchange Boat Club signed on this year. Both made cash and in-kind contributions to help enhance the 68th annual event this year.
“Best in Show” prizes will include a free one-year Jet Drive Exchange memberships ($9,500 value). The Exchange allows members to enjoy unlimited usage of boats and personal watercraft without the hassle and expense of maintaining them.
Prizes for the other boat parade categories (“Best Decorated,” “Best Comic,” “Best Original” and “Best Musical” for boats over and under 24 feet) will include a $300 gift card to OCNJ Watersports for first place, $200 gift card for second place, and $100 gift card for third place. OCNJ Watersports includes Totally Tubular Watersports, Totally Tubular Aqua Park, Beachy Tiki and Banana Boat.
Prizes for the 14 zones in the house-decorating contest will include a $100 gift card to OCNJ Watersports for first place, $75 gift card for second place, and $50 gift card for third place.
The Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce will donate a one-year membership and two marketing email blasts (combined $600 value) to the “Best Commercial Entry” and “Best Community Organization/Non-Profit Entry” categories in the boat parade.
ACME Markets – with locations at Eighth Street and 34th Street in Ocean City – provides catered food trays to the lead entries in the boat parade, and they are a great resource for anybody planning a party along the parade route.
For safety reasons, paddleboards and kayaks are not part of the Night in Venice parade.
ACME Markets and the Jet Drive Exchange Boat Club are the presenting sponsors and will have stands at the Bayside Center.
Retired Action News anchor Jim Gardner will be grand marshal. For more than 45 years, Gardner was a daily presence in the lives of Delaware Valley residents as anchor for the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts on 6-ABC Action News. Through the ups and downs of thousands of news cycles, Gardner was a trusted, reliable and beloved reporter and broadcaster. He retired in 2022.
Philadelphia’s manic sports mascots – including the Phillie Phanatic (see video), the Flyers’ Gritty, the Eagles’ SWOOP and the Union’s Fang – will rev up spectators and fit perfectly with the “It’s a Philly Thing” theme. Comcast Spectacor Chairman and CEO Dan Hilferty and his wife, Joan, will be special guests, along with local officials, the Miss Night in Venice contestants and others. One boat will be a musical tribute to the late Jerry Blavat.
Do not swim or allow your guests to swim during the parade. Make sure nobody throws water balloons or other objects at or from boats or houses during the parade. Standup paddleboarders must wear life jackets and carry whistles. Do not enter or cross the parade route in any boat or craft during the parade. The final boat in the parade will have a flashing yellow light. The start of the parade will be signaled by the flyover of a Coast Guard helicopter. Do not anchor in any channel during the fireworks.See video.
A limited number of event posters featuring artwork by local artist Aaron “Bogy” Bogushefsky will be available for free at the City Hall Welcome Center (9th Street entrance at 861 Asbury Avenue) while supplies last.
What else is happening on Night in Venice Weekend?
A new addition to the Night in Venice weekend festivities this year will be a five-kilometer run and one-mile walk sponsored by the Ocean City High School Cross Country/Track and Field Booster Club.
This event will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 29, 2023 at the Ocean City Intermediate School on the morning of the annual Night in Venice boat parade. The race will follow a flat, out-and-back course along Haven Avenue and the adjacent bike path.
Prizes will be awarded for all age groups. Online registration is available at: www.runsignup.com/NIV5k. Race-day registration begins at 7 a.m. on the basketball courts behind the Intermediate School (near 18th Street and Haven Avenue).
Tickets for a July 28 concert featuring two Philadelphia-based bands – the Trammps and Russell Thompkins Jr. & the New Stylistics – are on sale now.
The “Night of Philly Soul” will start at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 28, at the Ocean City Music Pier and will be a perfect warmup for Ocean City’s Night in Venice on Saturday, July 29.
The Trammps began in Philadelphia in 1972, and by mid-1975, the band became one of Atlantic Records’ hottest disco acts. In 1977, “Disco Inferno” was the top song on the international disco scene. It was part of the “Saturday Night Fever,” and it helped the Trammps win a Grammy Award. Other hits include “Zing Went the Strings Of My Heart,” a remarkable remake of a tune originally recorded by Judy Garland in 1943, “Hold Back The Night” and “Where Do We Go From Here.”
For more than 30 years, Russell Thompkins Jr. was the original lead singer of the Stylistics. His impeccable falsetto voice led the group to international fame and recognition, recording such hits as “You’re A Big Girl Now,” “Stop, Look, Listen,” “You Are Everything”, “Rockin’ Roll Baby”, “Betcha By Golly Wow”, “Break Up To Make Up”, “Stone In Love With You” and many more. The band received a Grammy nomination in 1974 for “You Make Me Feel Brand New” and a plaque on Philadelphia’s Walk of Fame in 1994.
Tickets will be available online at oceancityvacation.com/boxoffice, by calling 609-399-6111 or in-person at the Music Pier Box Office, City Hall, the Welcome Center on the Ninth Street causeway, and the 46th Street Information Center.