By Donald Wittkowski
The supersized Easter bonnet teetering on 10-year-old Victoria Bowman’s head was about as high as she was tall and weighed a whopping 20 pounds.
As Bowman strode onto the stage Sunday to compete in the “Most Unusual Bonnet” category in Ocean City’s Easter Fashion Promenade, emcee Michael Hartman gave her a quizzical look and quipped, “Wow, this is a neck injury waiting to happen.”
A few minutes later, Bowman was declared the winner. Who could have possibly disputed the judges’ decision?
The extravagant headdress featured a big, pink monkey stuffed animal as the centerpiece, a little yellow duck and a blue butterfly surrounded by Easter lilies and other colorful flowers.
Asked what it was like to wear the bonnet, Bowman bluntly said, “Very heavy.”
Bowman, of Chalfont, Pa., needed the assistance of her 20-year-old brother, Anthony, to hold the bonnet on her head and avoid tipping over.
“My mother went to the dollar store and bought a lot of things to make it,” Anthony Bowman explained of the bonnet’s elaborate construction.
While Bowman’s bonnet may have been the showstopper Sunday, there were other head-turning outfits at the Easter Fashion Promenade on the Boardwalk in front of the Music Pier.
The fashion plates in their Easter finery contrasted with the underdressed masses who hit the beaches and Boardwalk clad in bathing suits, flip-flops, T-shirts and shorts on a July-like day with temperatures soaring into the 80s.
Kim and Elton Anglada, of Ocean City, along with their 2-year-old son, Chance, and 7-month-old daughter, Felicity, stood out as a smartly dressed family. Kim wore a Navy dress, while Elton was attired in a dark blue, pinstriped suit. Chance’s sporty summer outfit was topped by a straw hat. Felicity was cutely made up in a floral dress and white bow in her hair.
Kim Anglada noted that she and her family were upholding a tradition of dressing up for Easter that started when she was just a child.
“This is how I was raised,” she said. “It was an Easter coat, Easter hat and Easter gloves. My parents didn’t have a lot of money, but that didn’t mean we didn’t dress up for Easter. I’m trying to bring my kids up in the same tradition.”
Joan Sharp, 66, and her boyfriend, David Garbutt, 64, both of Linwood, have been regulars in the Easter Fashion Promenade for years. On Sunday, they won the “Best Dressed Couple” category to keep their fashion dynasty alive.
Sharp and Garbutt said they won five years in a row beginning in 2010, but then took two years off to spend the holiday with family. Their first win was by accident. They showed up at the fashion promenade to watch the children of some friends compete, but were coaxed into entering the contest themselves and took home top honors.
“We always like to get dressed up for Easter,” Sharp said. “We want to dress fashionably and also carry on a tradition.”
Sharp and Garbutt were attired in matching beige suits, accented by chocolate-colored shirts. She wore a fancy yellow hat and he had on a yellow tie.
Jon Mullin, who competed in the “Best Dressed Male” category, showed that you don’t necessarily have to shop at Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus to be fashionable. Clad in a black, pinstriped suit, black hat and pink bow tie, Mullin also wore white costume gloves and carried a walking stick topped by a brass horse head.
“It came from Goodwill,” Mullin, with a smile, said of the walking stick. “And I ordered the gloves on Amazon.”
Mullin, a student at Messiah College near Harrisburg, Pa., lives in Doylestown, Pa., but his family has a summer home in Ocean City. Sunday was the eighth time he competed in the Easter fashion show.
“I always liked dressing up as a kid, even in costumes and other outfits,” he said.
The fashion promenade was one of a series of free, family-friendly events staged by the city over the holiday weekend. Sunday began with nondenominational sunrise services at the Music Pier. On Saturday, an Easter egg hunt on the beach attracted an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people, including 4,000 children.
While Saturday was marked by chilly temperatures and overcast skies, Sunday featured summer-like weather that drew big crowds to the beaches and Boardwalk.