By Maddy Vitale
The cute factor ran high as babies adorned in adorable outfits, dressed as princesses, cowboys and even “the claw” arcade game, rolled down the Ocean City Boardwalk in the 109th Baby Parade, one of the oldest in the country.
The parade began at Sixth Street and kept onlookers entertained through 14th Street Thursday morning.
Crowds lined the Boardwalk to catch a glimpse of the spectacle. They “oohed and “aahed” at the inventive, very colorful and creative floats, wagons and strollers.
Isla Sykes, 2, of Ocean City, and her family found a comfortable spot under a gazebo to watch the parade. But the last thing the little girl wanted to do was sit. She jumped up and waved at the parade participants.
“This is fun,” she said.
Some kids in the parade really got into their roles. Kevin Kohlmann, for example, entertained the crowd from his western themed float: “Cowboy Kevin on the Tail East.” He took off his brown felt cowboy hat and waved it at the crowd. Another crowd favorite was the float “Ocean City Knows This is the Greatest Show.” The judges liked both floats, also making them winners in their individual categories.
Pam Donnelly toted her girls Kendall, 2, and Shannon, 1, of Egg Harbor Township, in their “princess” carriage, which also was a crowd and judge pleaser.
“This is the Princess Tea Party,” Donnelly said with a laugh.
The girls pretended to pour some tea, while seated in their carriage, amid lots of “aahs” from spectators.
Liz Cornick dressed up her five-month-old daughter Parker in a seafoam green outfit.
“She is the pearl of Peck’s Beach,” Cornick, of East Windsor, said with a chuckle.
Blue and white balloons surrounded the baby, who appeared unfazed by all the hoopla. She was asleep in her glittery attire.
Former Miss New Jersey Kaitlyn Schoeffel enthusiastically emceed the event from the main viewing area in front of the Ocean City Music Pier.
At one point, a winner of another pageant who was in the parade shouted out to Schoeffel, “I miss you.”
Schoeffel laughed and replied into the microphone, “I miss you, too!”
Throughout the parade there was something for everyone, from floats to watching lively performances from bands and the OCTC Spotlight Performers Show Choir.
Spectators also caught a glimpse of something you don’t see every day – The Give and Take Jugglers. A man and woman amused the crowd with their antics. The man rode a unicycle, weaved around other parade participants, engaged the crowd and waved streamers. At one point he slowed down to high-five a child. The woman juggled nonstop and smiled a lot.
The OCTC Spotlight Performers Show Choir revved up the crowd with a dynamic performance.
Other parade participants included Miss New Jersey Jaime Gialloreto, who rode in a blue sportscar, flashing a bright smile. Miss Ocean City Madison Leigh Kennelly was aboard an Ocean City lifeboat, while Junior Miss Ocean City Hope Aita and Little Miss Ocean City Ginger Mumman waved from cars. Mr. Mature America Bill Quain was also involved and interacted with spectators.
Netflix series “Maniac” star Aaralyn Anderson, 8, and the Ed Coles Band and Queen Infanta 2018 also entertained the crowds.