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Everything is set for a great First Night program on New Year’s Eve in Ocean City. The Venues are ready, our volunteers are eager and City streets are in fine shape. Pass the word. First Night has a great entertainment program scheduled for you and your friends. There’s an impression in some places that all of the Jersey Shore remains devastated. Ocean City is very fortunate that its business community has made an amazing comeback and that the boardwalk is in good shape. And more good news, the Army Corps of Engineers will rebuild our beaches in January.

We are more than prepared to entertain our First Night and First Day visitors.

This is not to say that some of our residents are not in need, especially in obtaining housing. OCNJCARE and City Emergency Management continue to work to ensure that those who lost housing obtain accommodations. You can support this effort by sending a check to OCNJCARE, PO Box 807, Ocean City, N.J. 08226 or dropping your contribution off at Ocean City Home Bank, 10th and Asbury Ave.

Ocean City’s First Night is a unique opportunity for families and individuals to obtain eight hours of professional entertainment on New Year’s Eve for just $15 per person. It is definitely the Best Entertainment Value at the Jersey Shore providing over 60 programs with fireworks at midnight. Also included are rides at Gillian’s Wonderland Pier from 5 to 9 p.m., plus miniature golf at Gillian’s Adventure Golf from 2 to 9 p.m.

The program is varied and appeals to all ages. There will be magic shows, Musicals, Comedy, a Mummers String Band, Broadway music and much more. And all visitors to Ocean City on First Night will have the opportunity to see the real stars at the High School’s new Astronomy Observatory. The Science Club directed by Dr. John Herrmann will offer first night button holders an opportunity to observe and take photographs of Jupiter, its moon and other celestial wonders.

You can obtain buttons and review the entire First Night Program at the following locations: The Wonderland Store at the Stainton’s Complex, 8th and Asbury Ave. and Chamber of Commerce Offices, 9th St. across from TD Bank. You can also check out the program and order buttons at www.firsnightocnj.com.

The Ocean City Restaurant Assn. will offer its tasty “Taste of the Shore” dinner at the High School Cafeteria, 6th and Atlantic Ave. The complete menu is printed on line at www.fistnightocnj.com. Price is $20 for adults and $8 for children with hourly seating from 4 to 8 p.m. Book reservations on line at www.eatinocnj.com.

First Night has an Angel Fund for those who cannot afford buttons. Call (609)525-9300 to receive buttons or to contribute to the fund.

FIRST DAY AT THE BEACH: January 1st, a quiet time in most communities, is a busy day for this family resort. The thousands of visitors who patronize the City’s First Night New Year’s Eve Celebration and stay over night in accommodations are looking for something to do. First Day at the Beach and First Day in the Downtown fill the void for them and area residents.

A 5K Boardwalk Run/Walk begins 1 p.m. at the Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace. Registration starts at 11:30 a.m. Entry fee is $20 with shirt while they last. Without shirt, fee is $10. Pre-registration fee is $18 if received before Dec. 28, 2012. Contact Race Director, Mike Givens (609) 861-0674 or access This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. First Night Long Sleeved Shirts will be on sale for $20 in front of the Music Pier. The shirts will feature a replica of every First Night Admission button since the event started 21 years ago. Proceeds benefit First Night programs.

A First Dip in the Ocean is set for 2 p.m. Hundreds of enthusiastic bathers usually show up for the spirited and brief encounter with the ocean. All participants should report to the registration area in front of the Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace, where they will sign a waiver and receive a Beach Nut Certificate proclaiming that they have bravely negotiated the waters on New Year’s Day in Ocean City.

All visitors will also be able to make an optional donation to support OCNJCARE, the volunteer organization that is assisting those still recovering from the recent storm.

Shoppers are invited to kick off the New Year with First Day In the Downtown along the center-city Asbury Avenue business district. Most stores will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., some earlier at 10 a.m. Asbury Avenue is noted for its over one hundred unusual specialty stores, galleries and restaurants.

FREE CHRISTMAS BUFFET: Peaches Lukens is offering this free buffet for the 23rd year at the Methodist Church, 8th and Central Ave., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Christmas Day, Dec. 25. No reservations required. Free to all. Home made meal is for those who need company, a good meal and holiday cheer. Take outs, meal delivery and transportation to and from dinner can be provided. Call (609) 398-8781 for information.

(Dec. 22) The Ocean City Theatre Company presents “Yours Truly, Jack Frost” at the Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace. Tickets are $10. Show times are 2 and 7:30 p.m. Jack Frost outwits the evil Evilna. A fully staged production featuring children from third to eighth grades. For tickets call (609)525-9300 or access www.ocnj.us.

(Through the Holidays) Every weekend through Dec. 23, photos with Santa are available in a lifeguard boat from noon to 3 p.m. at the Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace, plus free horse and carriage rides these same hours starting at City Hall 9th and Asbury Ave. There will be breakfast with Santa through Dec. 23 from 8:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Call (609)398-4662 for location.

The final Hospitality Night will be held in the Downtown on Dec. 21 from 5 to 8 p.m. Call (609) 525-9300 for more information on Ocean City Holiday events.

On Sat., Dec. 22 from 2 to 4 p.m., the Ocean City Tabernacle will provide a Drop and Shop Children’s program for first through 8th graders in its main auditorium, 5th and Wesley Ave. While their parents shop downtown, children will enjoy the Movie POLAR EXPRESS plus popcorn. Tabernacle After School Staffers and members of the Coastal Christian church will supervise. This is a gift to local stores and is free (although donations will be accepted.)

The Ocean City Arts Center WINTER CLASSES Semester begins, Mon., Jan 7. To view a list of the Center’s classes access www.oceancityartscenter.org or call (609) 399-7628 to have a schedule sent to your home.

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NOTE: The start of the 5K Run/Walk on First Day has just been changed to 1 p.m. from 12:30 p.m. with registration at 11:30 a.m. It is stated that way in this column.