Ocean City’s holiday celebrations begin “Earlier Than the Bird” on Saturday, Nov. 17. The annual downtown shopping extravaganza takes place 8 a.m. to noon on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Jump-start your holiday shopping and shop in your pajamas for early-bird shopping specials at stores on Asbury Avenue between Sixth Street and 11th Street.
Free coffee will be available at Jon & Patty’s (637 Asbury Ave.), Ocean City Coffee Company (917 Asbury Ave.) and Starbucks (1061 Asbury Ave.). Enjoy a free standard doughnut at Drip N’ Scoop (960 Asbury Ave.). Free turkeys will be awarded to the best-dressed. Register while you shop for chances to win up to $150 in gift certificates and prizes. For more information, call 1-800-BEACH-NJ or visit facebook/downtownOCNJ.
Free horse and carriage rides will be available starting on the weekend of Nov. 17 and 18. Ride the downtown the old-fashioned way noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Board in front of City Hall at Ninth Street and Asbury Avenue.
The interdenominational Ocean City Ecumenical Council invites everybody to come together for the annual Thanksgiving Prayer Service 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20 at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church (2998 Bay Ave.).
The service is sponsored by the Ecumenical Council and the churches throughout Ocean City. A dessert reception will follow the service. Attendees are encouraged to bring canned goods for the local Food Cupboard for those in need.
The 11th annual Fast and Furriest 5K Turkey Trot goes off at 8 a.m. Thanksgiving morning on Nov. 22. The course for this 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race is on the Ocean City Boardwalk, and proceeds benefit the Humane Society of Ocean City. For more information, call 609-398-9500 (ext. 4) or visit www.hsocnj.org/events.
Ocean City’s small-town version of “Black Friday” takes place on Friday, Nov. 23. The Christmas in the Downtown – “Our Miracle on Asbury Avenue” – takes place 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event will be a warm and entertaining time featuring carolers and performers throughout downtown Asbury Avenue between Sixth Street and 11th Street.
Downtown stores will offer discount shopping for gifts, and many Asbury Avenue restaurants will be open. Free horse and carriage rides will be available. Entertainment and Christmas carols will begin at 4 p.m. on the steps of City Hall at Ninth Street and Asbury Avenue.
Singer Jackie Evancho will perform and offer a preview of her show on Saturday. The event culminates around 5 p.m. when Santa Claus will emerge on the rooftop of City Hall. With the help of an Ocean City Fire Department ladder truck, Santa will descend and help light the City Hall Christmas Tree and illuminate City Hall.
The shopping discounts will continue on Nov. 24 as downtown merchants celebrate Small Business Saturday.
Also Coming Up
Ukulele Orchestra Concert (Nov. 15): The local Grass Roots Ukulele Orchestra will give a free lunchtime concert at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Senior Center at the Ocean City Community Center (1735 Simpson Ave.).
This will be the second public performance by the group since it formed a few months ago. A third concert has been scheduled for Jan. 3 at the Ocean City Free Public Library.
The orchestra varies from 10 to 15 people, depending on the size of the venue and the availability of players. Selections from Thursday’s concert will range from “Down by the Riverside” to “Tiny Bubbles” to “Edelweiss” to “Stand by Me.”
Jackie Evancho Holiday Show (Nov. 24): Platinum-selling, 18-year-old vocal sensation Jackie Evancho will return to the Ocean City Music Pier for a Christmas show 7:30 p.m. Nov. 24. Evancho will perform a selection of songs from her critically acclaimed “Someday at Christmas” album. She will join musicians from the Ocean City Pops Orchestra to celebrate the holiday season in America’s Greatest Family Resort.
Tickets are $45 and $35, and they can be purchased at oceancityvacation.com/boxoffice or by calling 609-399-6111. You can also purchase tickets person by visiting the Roy Gillian Welcome Center on the Ninth Street causeway or City Hall’s Welcome Center at 861 Asbury Avenue.
Horse & Carriage Rides: Free horse-drawn carriage rides will be available noon to 3 p.m. on downtown Asbury Avenue on Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 23.
Breakfast With Santa: Santa will travel to different Ocean City restaurants to visit with children 8 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 24 to Dec. 23. See www.oceancityvacation.com for the full schedule and locations.
Photos With Santa: Santa will be available for photos in an Ocean City Beach Patrol lifeguard boat noon to 3 p.m. at the Ocean City Music Pier on Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 23.
Train Show (Dec. 1 and 2): Model trains will be on display 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Ocean City Music Pier. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children. For more information call 609-399-6111.
Trim-A-Tree With Santa (Dec. 1): The Ocean City Gardens Civic Association will welcome Santa – 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Ocean City-Longport Bridge flag area. Attendees will decorate a new Christmas tree, and Santa will be available for pictures with the little ones. The OCGCA is inviting children of veterans and those currently serving, and the event is open to all. Refreshments will be served and Santa will have a small gift for each child. Registration is required. To register, please send an email to LJWATTS4@aol.com and please include child’s name and age. Rain date is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 2. For more information, call 609 485-5043.
Christmas Parade (Dec. 7): Ocean City’s annual Christmas Parade starts at 6 p.m. and travels downtown Asbury Avenue from Sixth Street to 11th Street.
Christmas Concert (Dec. 8): A traditional Christmas concert starts at 4 p.m. and features the 60-voice Angelus Chorus with tenor John Taylor and the Tapestry String Quartet, directed by Richard Stanislaw. The concert is at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church (501 East 8th Street). For more information, please call 609-399-2988.