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Ocean City has developed a series of major fall special events and none is larger than its Indian Summer Weekend Festival, Oct. 9-11th.

Centerpiece of the event is the mile-long block party that extends from 5th to 14th Streets along Asbury Ave. on Sat., Oct. 9. Over 400 juried crafters from throughout the east coast participate in the block party that features hand made products ranging from wind chimes and floral decorations to paintings and photography. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A huge fireworks display is scheduled on Saturday following the block party. The fireworks will be set off from a barge off the 9th St. Beach at 9:30 p.m.

Block Party events also include a variety of foods highlighted by Greek specialties, ribs, sea foods, pizza, hotdogs, burgers, baked goods and more. Bands and street musicians entertain along the block party route from 1 to 4 p.m. They will include Tidal Wave, a popular Beach Boys type group, The Ralph Roberts Trio and entertainers Tony DeLuca and Keith Hickman. There are free pony rides for children at the Tabernacle Grounds, 6th and Asbury Ave., also from 1-4 p.m. Public service displays for non-profit organizations are set up on 9th St. between Asbury and Central Aves.

Visitors will be able to buyFirst Night New Years Eve admission buttons during the block party. Admission buttons, program books with complete schedules will also be available at Downtown Gillian's, 838 Asbury Ave., in the heart of the block Party. Program books will also be available in the City Hall area. First Night offers 60 entertainment programs at central locations and concludes with a fireworks display at midnight. Tickets are an economical $14 per person.

All City municipal lots will be free during the block party and parking meters are free. Parking at the Transportation Center, 10th and Haven Ave., in back of McDonalds will be free as will be the parking lot at 5th and Asbury next to the Fire House.

The Indian Summer festival has been held for 27 years and attracts thousands of visitors who remain in Ocean City for the weekend. It is sponsored by the Retail Merchants Assn. of Ocean City in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and City. For information call 609-399-2629 or access www.oceancityvacation.comwww.oceancityvacation.com.

Visitors will have plenty to see and do during the festival. In addition to the block party, there is a seafood center set up at the Music Pier, Oct. 9-11 and Boardwalk merchants hold table sales starting Fri., Oct. 8 and ending Mon., Oct. 11. Downtown merchants will hold a sidewalk sale on Sun., Oct. 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Asbury Ave.

The Ocean City Tabernacle, 6th and Asbury Ave., will present a block party night concert on Sat., Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. featuring the Annie Moses Band. The band includes strings, buoyant vocals and dynamic rhythms. They have performed in Nashville and on Public Broadcasting's national TV network. Tickets are $20 or $17 in advance call 609-399-1915.

Note: The Farmers Market held Saturday in the downtown will not be held on block party weekend but will be held every Saturday after in October at City Hall Annex, 901 Asbury Ave. from 8 a.m. till 1 p.m.

Halloween Parade : The Halloween Parade is also one of our most popular fall events. It has been produced for over 40 years by the Ocean City Exchange Club. It returns to entertain us on Thurs., Oct. 28 starting 7:15 p.m. at 6th and Asbury Ave., concluding at 11th and Asbury. There will be bands, floats and an array of costumed participants competing for prizes. Registration is open through Oct.26. and is available only on line at www.ochp.blogspot.com. There is a hotline to assist you, call 1-800-813-5580. Any questions can be left on voice mail at this number and will be answered, reports Jeff Shirk, Parade Chairman.

Fund Raisers: The Ocean City Farmers Market held on Saturdays through October (except for Block Party Day this week) will have a special guest Oct. 16 and 23. Jennifer Bernardini and her family and friends will set up a booth, "Cup Cakes for the Cure" in an effort to raise $2300 to help find a cure for Breast Cancer.The sale will support the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation that has raised over $1.5 Billion for research, education and health services since its inception in 1982.

The Annual Ocean City High School Band Boosters Fruit Sale is underway. It offers a fine variety of fresh fruit from Florida ranging from fresh citrus to apples, pears, pineapple and more. Orders are being taken through October and fruit will be delivered, Sat., Dec. 4. For information, ask any High School Band member or call 609-399-1290.

The OCHS Girls Tennis Team/Booster Club is hosting their annual all you can eat buffet & beer fund raiser on Sunday, Oct. 10th from 4:00-7:00pm @ DiOrio's in Somers Point (EAGLES play at 8pm that night- I know you're wondering). All monies raised support the senior scholarship program. There will fabulous door prizes, raffles and a DJ for your listening pleasure, so come out eat, support the girls and if lucky enough, go home with a fantastic prize!!! You know you love DiOrio's famous tenders! Ticket price is $25.00 ... for advance tickets sales call Monica @ 425.1181. Tickets will be available at the door. Donations are appreciated as well.

Coming Soon: The Ocean City Fire Department's 3rd Annual OPEN HOUSE is set for Thurs., Oct. 14 from 5 to 8 p.m. There will be fun for all the family including demonstrations and safety tips, hotdogs and soda, soft pretzels, face painting, lots of photo ops and more.

Back Bay Clean Up: Volunteers are needed to clean the back bay areas of Ocean City, Sun., Oct 10 from 9 a.m. till noon. Kayaks supplied on a first come, first serve basis. Launch locations will be the Bayside Center, 5th and Bay Ave., Tennessee Ave. Ramp and 34th St. For information, call 609-525-9285.