By Maddy Vitale
Ocean City’s reigning queens, hamsters, lizards, jigsaw puzzles and crafts all took center stage Sunday afternoon, but very quietly, for the Quiet Festival at the Ocean City Community Center.
Two highlights were storytelling and crown-making in the children’s section of the Free Public Library. Miss Ocean City Megan Keenan, Junior Miss Ocean City Julia Wilson, and Little Miss Ocean City Stevie Wright read to the children while donning their crowns and dressed in gowns. Then the queens helped boys and girls make paper crowns.
Holly Corcory, of Marmora, brought her daughters, Finley, 4, and Tatum, 1, for the festivities. They started off with story time, and then Finley made some paper crowns.
“This is just another good thing to do in Ocean City,” Holly Corcory said.
Finley’s favorite part of the day was making her crown, she said, with a little help from Miss Ocean City Megan Keenan.
Junior Miss Ocean City Julia Wilson helped children color in their crowns. She said she really liked the festival.
“I think it is really cool and definitely something different we can do,” she said.
During another popular activity, this one in the Historical Museum, kids assembled history-themed jigsaw puzzles.
Ocean City Historical Museum Executive Director Jeff Granahan showed Kristen Brennan, 3, and her 5-year-old sister, Carolyn, of Ventnor, how to do the historical museum jigsaw puzzles. He showed them copies of old photos that were clipped into different pieces that the girls would have to put back together.
“This is the city’s first fire house,” Granahan said, explaining a copy of a vintage photo.
The girls then assembled some other puzzles. Within minutes, Carolyn had one puzzle near completion.
Kim Brennan, the girls’ mother, said “Carolyn loves puzzles.”
Brennan learned of the Quiet Festival and the variety of events, so she decided to bring her children. She said it was a wonderful program and plans on bringing them back next year.
“I grew up coming to Ocean City,” she said. “They really have a lot for kids to do.”
Michael Hartman, the city’s director of special events, said the Quiet Festival is designed to showcase all that the Ocean City Community Center has to offer year-round.
“The goal of the Quiet Festival is to put a face on the Community Center and all of its wonderful offerings here,” Hartman explained. “It is truly the hub of the community.”
Over the years, the Quiet Festival has become a staple to bridge the time between now and the holiday shopping season, which kicks off with “Earlier Than The Bird” Nov. 17, explained Michael Allegretto, the city’s Director of Community Services.
“The is one of our fall events that continues to promote activities during our quieter time,” Allegretto said. “It is a small event, but one we enjoy to do to give kids more fun activities.”
The festival would not be complete without the pet contest. There were furry creatures, and some scaly ones, who came out to show off their costumes and for the most part, they were all quiet.
In fact, bearded dragons Beardie and Lizzie didn’t make a sound. They just sort of sat there in their elf and Minnie Mouse costumes.
“He is a lot easier to take care of than other animals, and he is really quiet,” said Beardie’s owner, Jackie Ganter, of Ocean City.
Later on, Jackie quietly explained what he eats.
“He eats bugs and veggies,” she said.
Cookie, the 19-month-old hamster, was also quiet. He shoved as many seeds into his pouch as he could and flew up a plastic, brightly colored tube to work out on his wheel.
His owner, Brielle McDowell, 12, of Ocean City, loves her hamster. This is his second year in the contest. Of course, Hartman explained that everyone wins.
Cookie didn’t mind a rub from 17-month-old Lucy Godsell, whose family has a vacation home in Ocean City.
Lucy’s mother, Tina Godsell, told her to put out her hand and gently touch Cookie. She did and gave her mom a big smile.
At 3 p.m. the festival was expected to wrap up with a “Bubble Blowing Bonanza.” The bubble blowing grand finale is considered a quiet alternative to a fireworks display.