By MADDY VITALE
Families took to the beaches and Boardwalk on Saturday with one resonating theme, enjoy Labor Day weekend in Ocean City and the last weeks of summer.
“This is our first time in Ocean City. We like places with boardwalks and heard good things about it here,” said Hemil Maniar, of central Pennsylvania.
He and his wife, Neha Sinha, waited in line to get their daily beach tags.
Their big holiday plans, at least for the next few hours, consisted of, above all, one very important thing.
“We are going to lay down on the beach. Nothing special, just relax and catch up on some of our books,” Maniar said.
Beach tag checker, Sarah Booher was stationed at Sixth Street beach.
By noon, Booher said she had already sold 125 beach tags.
“It’s been very busy,” she said.
Umbrellas and chairs dotted the beaches. Beachgoers nibbled on picnic-style lunches, and others strolled along the Boardwalk and enjoyed pizza, ice cream, shopping and amusements.
Lifeguards John Lenoir, Frank Brady and Justin Southard watched intently as vacationers reveled in the refreshing waters.
Ocean City was brimming with activity Saturday, as it had throughout what officials have called a blockbuster summer of weather that was as close to perfect as possible.
By early afternoon, it seemed many of the holiday travelers were down enjoying all “America’s Greatest Family Resort” has to offer.
Erin Rodriguez, of Berlin, N.J., and her husband, Ricky, took their daughters Haddon, 4, and Henley, 2, for a memorable holiday.
“We’ve been coming on the weekends all summer. It is great family time. They love the rides and they love the beach,” Erin Rodriguez said of her daughters. “We have a family member with a home on Bay Avenue. It is a great perk for us.”
The family walked to the water’s edge. Erin and Ricky held their daughters’ hands as the children giggled as their feet got wet.
Then it was time to return to making sandcastles and everyone pitched in to help.
Ricky Rodriguez said as he scooped sand into a bucket, “I like the family time.”
And when asked, the girls named their specific favorite parts of Ocean City.
“I like the seashells,” Haddon said with a big grin.
Her little sister loves the beach.
“They like the rides, too,” Erin Rodriguez said. “We just really like Ocean City.”
Some families were so relaxed they almost forgot where they were from.
Rosie Mendez, of Mooresville, Pa., laughed when she paused before giving her hometown.
“I’m just so relaxed,” she said with a laugh, as she lounged under an umbrella to a good book.
Her husband, Joe Mendez, and their son, Chris, 6, were much too busy to daydream.
They were involved in making a supreme sandcastle.
Joe joked about where the family was from. “Yes, we are from Pennsylvania,” he said with a big smile. “But for today, we are from Ocean City.”
To that, their son, Chris, chuckled.