Ocean City’s super-caffeinated schedule of seasonal events typically kicks off each year with the annual Doo Dah Parade (always held in close proximity to the April 15 Tax Day).
This year’s Doo Dah madness will follow form on April 12, but a handful of other events will stretch the spring shoulder season a few weeks earlier.
Here’s a look at the lineup for March and April:
Saturday, March 22
Mr. Mature America Pageant: From the home of the Little Miss Ocean City, Junior Miss Ocean City, Miss Ocean City and Miss New Jersey pageants comes a different sort of “beauty” pageant: Mr. Mature America.
“The Pageant honors the accomplishments, talents and relevance of men 60 and over,” says Mark Soifer, event founder as the city’s public relations director. “It is the only event of its kind in the United States.”
Dick Sheeran, legendary Philadelphia TV anchor, will join the pageant to assist emcee Maribeth Neal. Sheeran will also present the pageant’s major honor, its Inspiration Award, to Pinky Kravitz, an Atlantic City radio host for more than a half-century.
The Bubba Mac Blues Band will entertain from 6:30 p.m. until the pageant start at 7 p.m. on the Ocean City Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk . All band members are over 60. A talented group of mature ladies will entertain during pageant intervals.
Tickets are $10 with proceeds benefitting the Ocean City Ecumenical Council Community Food Cupboard and Philippine reconstruction efforts. Advance $10 tickets may be purchased by phone or at City Hall. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Sunday, March 23
Jazz Series: The Somers Point Jazz Society will present “The Art Of Improvisation,” a three-part educational series at the Ocean City Free Public Library, 17th and Simpson Ave. The sessions are set for March 23, March 30 and April 6 from 2 to 3:15 p.m. in the Main Lecture Room, N110. Admission is free.
Part 1 of the series on March 23 will introduce the Concept of Improvisation, which is a form of spontaneous musical composition, created and performed by jazz musicians. During this first of three parts Dr. Michael Pedicin and Chris Simonini, piano, Lee Smith, piano and Vick Stevens on drums will discuss, present, demonstrate and perform how this is accomplished. Musical samples and educational material will be presented to an audience of both non-musicians and musicians in simplistic terms that all can understand. Jazz will be played.
Tuesday, March 25
Free Air Force Band Concert: The United States Air Force Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble will perform a free concert at the Ocean City Music Pier at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 25. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. In order to attend the concert, you must pick up free tickets in advance.
Free tickets are available at the information desk on the second floor of City Hall facing the main entrance. Tickets may also be purchased in advance at the adjacent Community Services Office for the Mr. Mature America Pageant. City Hall hours are 9:45 a.m. till 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, call (609)-525-9300.
The Air Force Ensemble features 17 professional musicians whose commitment to excellence has earned world- wide acclaim and military distinction. The Band delivers a wide array of jazz and fusion from big band swing to cutting edge contemporary music.
Activated in 1941, the Ensemble has a rich history of inspiring public patriotism and highlighting all of the U.S. military branches. The band travels throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region presenting over 300 events annually for the general public and in support of Air Force morale and protocol events.
Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6
Spring Festival of Fine Arts and Crafts: The event is set for the Ocean City Music Pier from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. This event features some of the finest artisans on the East Coast exhibiting and selling a variety of one of a kind crafts. The show is produced by Joanne and Norman Schaut who have raised thousands of dollars for local charities with the proceeds. There is free parking at nearby City lots. A $3 contribution benefits these charities. For information, call 800-822-4112.
Saturday, April 12
Doo Dah Parade: The 29th Annual Doo Dah Parade starts at noon and goes from 6th to 12th Sts. on Asbury Ave. and then to the Boardwalk ending at Music Pier. Following the Parade the Annual PieAsco will be held during which folks sit in grandstands and smush each other with shaving cream pies, the kind Soupy Sales used during his syndicated TV shows years go. Trudy Sales, Soupy’s widow, starts the event by plastering Mr. Pie in the Face, Neil Regina.
The Parade features a 500 basset hound waddle, humorous brigades and individuals, bands, impersonators of legendary comedians and many costumed characters.
Doo Dah offers a weekend of events including the entertaining Basset Hound Olympics at the Tabernacle grounds on Fri., April 11 at noon, free. Dr. Joel Goodman will present a free program on Humor at 2 p.m. Friday at the Ocean City Free Public Library, 17th and Simpson Ave. Grand Marshal of the Parade will be Peter Funt of Candid Camera, who will do a retrospective of the popular TV program at the Music Pier, 7 p.m. Friday.
Following the Parade on Saturday, there will be a tribute to Abbott and Costello featuring Abbott and Costello impersonators and a movie. This will be held at the Ocean City Library starting 3-30 p.m., admission free.
To register for the Parade or for more information, call (609) 525-9300, after hours (609) 364-4010 or email email@example.com.