By MADDY VITALE
The Ocean City Yacht Club was transformed into a night of excitement and celebration Friday in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The Yacht Club sold out and the who’s who from dignitaries to business owners to longtime residents enjoyed a night of dancing, dinner and drinks to finally be able to celebrate the century of the Chamber, albeit on the 101st year.
The event was initially scheduled for May of 2020 and then again in the fall of 2020, however, COVID-19 led to the postponements.
But Friday night made up for lost time.
“Tonight is a remarkable night for the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce. One hundred years, not many people can tout that in other towns,” Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michele Gillian said in an interview. “This is America’s Greatest Family Resort. We live it and we love it.”
During opening remarks, Gillian thanked the many people who helped bring the event together and also gave shout-outs to former past and present dignitaries in the audience.
Members of the Chamber who planned the event were as follows; former Mayor Roy Gillian, Michele Gillian, Chamber 1st Vice President Janet Galante, and board members Patrick Halliday and Patrick McMahon.
Chamber President David Allegretto said in his remarks that it is an honor for him to continue to serve as president. He spoke of the importance of the monumental milestone the Chamber has reached.
“There are many great moments in over 100 years in history,” Allegretto said. “The one at the top is the slogan, America’s Greatest Family Resort, from the Chamber. The Chamber works tirelessly and it has been a pleasure for me to work with such great people.”
The organization was formed from the Board of Trade in 1920.
In February of 1920, the Delaware and Atlantic Telegraph Company met with the Board of Trade and offered the use of the second floor of the Massey and Edwards building, at Eighth and Wesley, to establish an Information and Publicity Bureau.
“Ocean City Chamber of Commerce – Bureau of Information” was placed on the door at the entrance of the building, according to a Chamber release.
On April 24, 1920, the Chamber Emblem Committee recommended the following as the official emblem of the Chamber: “The emblem, a circle within a circle, the upper half reading “America’s Greatest Family Resort” and the lower “Chamber of Commerce,” across the center on two lines “Ocean City, New Jersey.”
The Chamber has more than 535 members. The membership is comprised of small independent businesses and organizations that offer Ocean City visitors and residents a variety of products and services.
Over the years, the Chamber has grown into an organization that has become a leader in marketing the Ocean City area and an advocate for the business community.
The Chamber is also a supporter of key community events and their partnership with the city has been in place since the inception.
Ocean City Councilman Terry Crowley Jr. said the event was a phenomenal example of a strong Chamber and community.
“Obviously, it is a great event and kudos to all the volunteers who put it together,” Crowley said. “Closing out a year of COVID, not being able to do good things, people are anxious to get back and embrace a great night out.”