By MADDY VITALE
Hundreds of basset hounds — many wearing comical outfits or bonnets — along with men driving around in mini cars and some flashy costumed string band members who strutted their stuff were just some of the sights.
No, it wasn’t a crazy dream or some surreal scene in a television show – it was the annual Ocean City Doo Dah parade, a wacky yet beloved tradition, created 36 years ago to say goodbye to tax time and hello to all things silly and fun.
The parade procession Saturday featured the basset hounds — which, by the way, are the grand finale of the event each year — string bands, floats, crown holders and the grand marshal, former Philadelphia Phillie Mickey Morandini.
There were crowds of spectators that watched the parade along the downtown route.
Throngs of spectators also took their seats, or stood along the Boardwalk from 12th Street, where the parade began on the boards to Sixth Street, where it ended.
Parents snapped cellphone pictures of their children enjoying the parade.
Barbara Gallagher, of Moorestown, N.J., her son, Evan McDonald, and his daughter, Sophie, 6, make it a tradition to attend the parade.
“We were down for it before. We don’t come every year, but almost every year,” said Gallagher, who has a second home in Ocean City. “We come down for most of the events.”
McDonald added, “It’s a fun event.”
Former Philadelphia Phillies great Mickey Morandini was the grand marshal of the parade.
Morandini was the second baseman for an underdog Phillies team that reached the sixth game of the World Series in 1993. Riding in a convertible, he waved and smiled at the fans.
He played 11 years in the big leagues — eight with the Phillies. He was available to fans for autographs and photos after the parade.
Bob and Carol Burrows, of Haddon Township, brought their dog, Shelby, to the parade. Bob was decked out in Phillies gear. Even Shelby wore a Phillies bandana.
The Burrows were excited to see Morandini. But they also said they just love the parade.
“The outfits are great. Seeing the basset hounds lumbering onto the Boardwalk is so funny,” Carol noted with a laugh.
Crescent Shriners riding around the Boardwalk in mini cars also amused the spectators, who took cellphone pictures and video of the silly spectacle.
Salina and Terry Scullin, of Middletown, N.J., and their daughters, Avey, 4, and 7-year-old Braylee, make it an annual family event. They also never miss Ocean City’s Baby Parade, held in late summer.
The girls ate ice cream as they anxiously awaited the basset hounds.
“I want to see the doggies!” Avey exclaimed.
“We are here a lot,” Salina said. “We have a condo here for the offseason and we come as much as we can.”
“The kids love the parades and the amusements and rides,” Terry added. “It’s very family friendly.”