The weather forecast calls for a sunny and mild day for one of Ocean City’s premier events – the Spring Block Party – which will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 6.
But before that, beach lovers will check on the summer forecast. Ocean City’s hermit-crab mascot will seek his shadow in a local version of Groundhog Day at 11 a.m. Friday, May 5, on the beach at Ninth Street.
Martin Z. Mollusk has successfully predicted an early summer every year for five decades (sometimes, of course, with the creative use of flashlights by his handlers).
Everybody is invited to join the fun as the community collectively jump-starts the long-awaited arrival of summer.
The Martin Z. Mollusk Day tradition in Ocean City dates back to 1974, when legendary Ocean City Public Relations Director Mark Soifer created the early-season promotion by declaring that if Martin sees his shadow, summer will come a week early to Ocean City. Friday’s event will mark the 50th time that Martin has delivered the good news.
On Saturday, more than 350 crafters, food vendors and entertainers will line a mile of downtown Asbury Avenue between Fifth Street and 14th Street for the annual Spring Block Party. The event helps draw tens of thousands of people to Ocean City for a pre-summer weekend of fun.
Entertainers and bands will perform at various spots along the Avenue between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Just a few of the perennial favorites include Chad Juros (creating balloon animals at 6th Street), the Robert Boney Band (7th Street), Big Daddy (at 9th Street), String Band (12th Street and Keith Hickman (at 14th Street. Pony rides for children will be available on the grounds of the Ocean City Tabernacle (at Sixth Street and Asbury Avenue) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A small ensemble from the Ocean City Pops orchestra will perform show on the steps of City Hall (861 Asbury Avenue) at noon and 2 p.m. Vendors including Asbury Avenue restaurants will offer food of every variety.
Street parking will be free at all metered spots and downtown parking lots in Ocean City, including at the Transportation Center lot (Ninth Street and Haven Avenue) and at the municipal lots on the 700 and 800 blocks of Central Avenue.
The weekend celebration also includes table sales by downtown and Boardwalk merchants with discounted merchandise set up between Sixth Street and 14th Street on the Boardwalk and Asbury Avenue throughout the weekend.
ALSO COMING UP IN MAY
MAY 21 – OCNJ Triathlon/Duathlon: Races start at 9 a.m. For more information and registration, visit www.ocnj.us/race-events.
MAY 26 – Unlocking of the Ocean and Business Persons Plunge: Participants dress in business suits, carry briefcases and march into the ocean to the strains of Pomp and Circumstance to welcome the new season. Noon on the beach next to the Music Pier.
MAY 27 – Memorial Beach Challenge for 31 Heroes: The main obstacle course challenge is a soft-sand adventure race followed by a kids fun run. Staging at Ninth Street Beach. For registration information, visit memorialbeachchallenge.com or call 856-905-0583.
MAY 29 – Memorial Day Service: 11 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park between Fifth Street and Sixth Street on Wesley Avenue. In addition, a National Moment of Remembrance will ask Americans, wherever they are at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, to pause in an act of national unity for a duration of one minute. The moment of remembrance will take place on the Boardwalk.