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"Earlier Than the Bird" deals will be offered by Asbury Ave. area merchants Sat. Nov. 20. "Get there between 7 and 9 a.m. for the best buys," advises Marcia Shallcross, executive director of Main Street Ocean City. And wear your PJs. Turkeys will be awarded to those sporting outstanding pajamas!"

In addition there will be free coffee give-aways at 9th and Asbury Ave. Shoppers will also be able to sign up in stores to win $25 gift certificates. Plus, from noon till 3 p.m. free horse and carriage rides and free photos with Santa will be offered at 9th and Asbury Ave. And there will be free face painting and more. Have free fun on Saturday and enjoy the experience of shopping downtown Asbury Avenue. For information, call 609-398-goOC.

Ocean City kicks off the holiday Season with Christmas in the Downtown on Fri., Nov. 26. Events include free children's Train Ride at City Hall Annex, 901 Asbury Ave., courtesy of Gillian's Wonderland Amusement Pier. These rides will be available throughout the holiday season.

There will be free photos of Santa in a lifeboat from 1 to 3 p.m. on City Hall Lawn and holiday readings and face painting at Stainton's Square, 8th and Asbury Ave.

Free horse and carriage rides with Santa are scheduled from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. starting at City Hall, 9th and Asbury Ave.

Entertainment on City Hall steps begins 1 p.m. featuring local carolers with holiday selections. The Ocean City Theatre Company's Michael Hartman, local entertainers and the Phillie Phanatic will perform between 4 and 5 p.m.

At 5 p.m., the Christmas Tree at City Hall will be lighted. Then Santa will arrive just like he did years ago. The Jolly Old Elf will descend from City Hall roof with the assistance of the Fire Department's Hook and Ladder Truck. This dramatic entrance marks a return to how it was done in the 60's.

Downtown shop keepers will feature specials and restaurants will be open, some offering free refreshments.

The event is sponsored by the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Ocean City Retail Merchants Assn., Main Street Ocean City and the City. For information, call 609-399-1412 or 609-525-9300.

Ocean City's Christmas Parade will be held on Sat., Dec. 4 starting 10:30 a.m. Route is from 6th to 11th Streets on Asbury Ave. The Parade ushers Santa Claus into town and features bands, floats and costumed characters. Following the Parade, Santa will greet children, pose for photos and distribute treats at Stainton's Square, 8th and Asbury Ave.

The City's popular Train Show and Sale is set for Dec. 4-5 at the Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace. The show features large working displays to entertain children and grown-ups alike. Trains, accessories and memorabilia will be for sale and there will be repairs while you wait by technician, Dick Yard. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sat. and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sun. Free parking will be available at City Lots near the Boardwalk. For information, call 609-525-9300.

Holiday Musicals: A symphonic and choral celebration, the A symphonic and choral celebration, the, will feature the Ocean City Pops Orchestra, 7:30 pm., Sat., Dec. 4th, at the Hughes Performing Arts Center 6th and Atlantic Ave. The colorful musical is directed by Bill Scheible and Scott Briener. Dr. Richard Stanislaw will host and narrate the program. For tickets call 609-525-9300 or access www.ocnj.us/boxoffice. The program is sponsored by Norman and JoAnne Schaut.

The Ocean City Theatre Company's dazzling holiday spectacular of song and dance, A Christmas Wonderland, will be heldDec. 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec.19th at 2 p.m. at the Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace. General admission is $12, children under12 is $10.The show will feature a cast of professional singers and dancers in a high-energy holiday revue. Free parking is available at City lots near the Boardwalk. For tickets, call 609-525-9300 or access www.ocnj.us. The show is directed and choreographed by Michael Hartman. The program is sponsored by Gillian's Wonderland Pier.

The Ocean City Tabernacle, 5th and Wesley Ave., will present a free Christmas Concert on Sat., Dec.11 at 4 p.m. featuring tenor John Taylor, the Angelus Choir and The Tapestry Strings.

Other Holiday Features include photos with Santa in an Ocean City Lifeboat, Dec. 4-5, 11-12 and 18-19 at the Music Pier from noon till 3 p.m. There is a fee. Call 609-399-2629 for information.

There will be free horse and carriage Rides With Santa, Dec. 4-5, 11-12 and 18-19 from noon till 3 p.m. starting at City Hall, 9th and Asbury Ave.

There will be Breakfast with Santa at various restaurants in November and December. Call 609-398-4662 for dates and location information.

The Ocean City Historical Museum will hold is annual Sindia Day Open House on Dec. 4th. Drop in any time and view relics from the famous shipwreck. At 2 p.m. there will be a story telling session about the Sindia.

Musical Mondays, a cabaret series by the Ocean City Repertory Theater starts on Nov. 22 with local favorite, Andrew Hink on piano and guest vocalists. All programs will be at the Black Box Theater, 813 Asbury Ave., Nov. 22 to Dec. 20. Show time is 7 p.m., tickets $10 at the door or call 609-457-6686. A dessert reception follows show.

First Night Admission buttons are available at Downtown Gillian's, 838B Asbury Ave. seven days a week for $14. Our gala New Year's Eve celebration presents 60 entertainment programs from 4 p.m. till midnight at central locations capped by fireworks. Buy your button now and get a free copy of the Martin Z. Mollusk Story, Rhyme and Punishment. Call 609-391-0060. Buttons can be purchased on line at www.firstnightocnj.com. First Night also has an Angel Fund for those who can't afford the admission. To receive buttons or support the fund, call 609-525-9300.

THE CRAFT SHOW originally scheduled for this weekend at the Music Pier was merged with last week's show. There will be no craft show at the Music Pier this weekend.