I want to thank the Ocean City Ecumenical Council for inviting me to be part of the Thanksgiving Service held on Tuesday. Every year, the interdenominational event brings together people of all beliefs and backgrounds to share thanks for all that we have in our lives, our world and our hometown. The event is well-attended and always an inspiration. I also want to thank all of the other speakers who participated and everybody who made donations to our local Food Cupboard.
The event is only part of the valuable work the Ecumenical Council does throughout the year. Volunteers collect and deliver food and clothing, administer our local Food Cupboard and Clothes Closet, and take care of those in our community who need it most. All of these men and women deserve our gratitude. They provide living examples every day of giving thanks.
A reminder: If your trash and recycling pickup is scheduled for Thursday or Friday this week, it will be pushed back by one day, due to the holiday. The schedule returns to normal next week.
Our Christmas in the Downtown celebration takes place on Friday starting at 2 p.m. The event is a great small-town alternative to the craziness of Black Friday. Stores will be open till 8 p.m., and Asbury Avenue is decorated for the holidays. I’ll be on hand at 5 to help welcome Santa and light the Christmas tree at City Hall. If you’ve never attended, give it a try this year. It’s a truly special experience.
You can return to the downtown and boardwalk to shop locally on Small Business Saturday (Nov. 25) and throughout December. Breakfast with Santa, free downtown horse-and-carriage rides and photos with Santa in a lifeguard boat are all part of the fun. Visit www.oceancityvacation.com or download the free OCNJ app for more information.
Our online beach tag store is now open at www.ocnj.us/beachtags/. Seasonal beach tags can make great stocking stuffers, and they’ll be available at a discounted $20 through May 31. You also can purchase them at City Hall, the Route 52 Welcome Center, the Knight Building at 12th and Haven or at the Aquatics and Fitness Center.
First Night is not far away, and if you have not purchased admission buttons for your family, there is still time to take advantage of a $5 discount. Through Dec. 14, you can order your buttons for $15 online at www.FirstNightOCNJ.com or by calling 1-800-BEACH-NJ. Buttons also can be purchased in person at the City Hall Welcome Center and the Route 52 Welcome Center.
I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Please take the time to enjoy the holiday with your family, neighbors and friends. We always have much to be thankful for in Ocean City, a place so many people hold so dear to their hearts.
Jay A. Gillian