By TIM KELLY
It will be a “very Brady” event Saturday at the Ocean City Music Pier when Barry Williams appears to interact with fans at a special meet-and-greet.
Williams, who portrayed Greg Brady, the big brother in the iconic 1970s sitcom, “The Brady Bunch,” will be on hand in Ocean City to meet fans and to lead the 46th annual Classic Car and Street Rod parade of street rod and exotic cars down the Boardwalk.
“Greg” was slated to be the grand marshal of the Doo Dah Parade and emcee of the Mr. Mature pageant in 2020 — signature happenings to help kick off the summer tourism season — until COVID-19 resulted in both events being canceled.
Several other attempts were made to get Williams into town, but they, too, were knocked out by the pandemic.
This time, however, all systems are a go.
“I’m excited to finally make it to Ocean City,” said Williams. “It will be fun to see the town, meet fans and to start the parade. Maybe, I will get a chance to ride in one of those beautiful old Corvettes.”
Cars will be on display in the municipal parking lot on Fifth Street and the Boardwalk beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, and will proceed onto the Boardwalk for display until 4 p.m.
An awards ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday, in front of the Music Pier at Moorlyn Terrace and the Boardwalk.
It is free to view the parade and awards, and fans will also have a chance for a more intimate interaction with “Greg.”
Between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, up to 150 fans will have the opportunity to meet Williams and take a selfie. They may also purchase merchandise that will be on sale for autographs.
Tickets for the meet-and-greet are $30 each (cash only) and will be sold at the door, the city announced. No advance tickets will be sold.
“The city is excited to have Barry Williams in town for this weekend,” Ocean City official Mike Allegretto said. “I think everyone loved the Brady Bunch. I’m sure a lot of people will enjoy seeing him lead the cars onto the Boardwalk Saturday at noon.”
When Williams looks back on his career playing Greg, he marvels not only at the ongoing reaction he has with fans, but with the show’s longevity.
“The show has a remarkable span of time and served as the basis for numerous reunions and reincarnations,” Williams said. “Since it started in 1969, it has never been off the air. It had a five-year run on network TV and then went into syndication and reruns. We had a syndication deal before we stopped filming the show.”
He said his favorite episode was its first, the pilot, during which the Brady brood’s parents played by the late Robert Reed and the late Florence Henderson got married.
“That one set the comedic tone for everything that followed,” he said.
Though best known for his portrayal as Greg Brady, Williams is also an accomplished Broadway actor (“Pippin”) and an author, producer, director and musician.
His three-piece band, Barry Williams and the Traveliers, tours the nation, although he says “it’s more like a 500-mile radius” of his adopted hometown of Branson, Missouri, because of COVID-19 protocols.
He said the band plays a mix of classic songs with new arrangements, old favorites and original music – something for everyone.
To keep up with all that Williams is doing, visit his website, www.barrywilliamsofficial.com.
Getting back to the Brady Bunch, Williams said people relate to the series because it was one of the first sitcoms to take a non-traditional family and place the members in traditional family situations.
“I’ve spoken to middle-aged people who seem to revert to their teen or childhood years when they talk to me about the show,” Williams said.
There will surely be more of that happening at Saturday’s meet-and-greet, and car parade, as Ocean City begins to move back to more normal times.