Tens of thousands of spectators and partygoers lined the bayfront on Saturday night for Ocean City’s Night in Venice.
Clear skies and relatively cool weather helped draw big crowds to the annual boat parade and house decorating contest.
Ocean City Public Relations Director Mark Soifer said about 70 boats participated — with 65 registering in advance and another five arriving in time for the pre-event captains’ meeting.
Last year’s lineup included 72 entries. The 2012 parade had 50 entries, and the 2011 parade saw 58 boats.
This year’s theme was “A Night at the Oscars,” with owners decorating their boats to fit the theme. One highlight was a “Jaws”-themed entry — with Robert Shaw’s shark-hunting Quint narrating and a shark fin in tow.
The parade set out from the Ocean City-Longport Bridge at 7:30 p.m. and made the trip along Ocean City’s bayfront, in and out of lagoons along the way, to the end of the parade route at Tennessee Avenue.
The home-decorating contest and private parties along the entire parade route make Night in Venice one of the highlights of the summer season in Ocean City.Crowds line the railing of the pedestrian/bike lane on the Ninth Street Bridge for the annual Night in Venice Parade in Ocean City, NJ.