Ocean City Happenings: Unlock the Ocean Memorial Day Weekend, Take the Plunge

Ocean City Happenings: Unlock the Ocean Memorial Day Weekend, Take the Plunge

Get ready for summer as Ocean City "unlocks the ocean" Memorial Day weekend. (Photo courtesy City of Ocean City)

In a long-standing Ocean City tradition, city officials will turn a ceremonial wooden key to officially “unlock the ocean” for the season at noon Friday, May 24.

The free public event provides an early start to Memorial Day Weekend and welcomes a long-awaited summer.

The Ocean City Beach Patrol will begin providing guarded beaches on Saturday, and Boardwalk and downtown businesses will be open and ready for the holiday weekend. After a cool and wet spring, the forecast for the weekend looks sunny and warm.

The “Unlocking of the Ocean” includes a newer tradition: The march of fully clothed business persons into the chilly Atlantic Ocean for the first swim of the summer (to the strains of the Ocean City High School marching band playing “Pomp and Circumstance.”

Everybody is invited to participate in the “Business Persons Plunge.” It’s a chance to get some exposure for your business or organization or just to start Memorial Day Weekend with a splash.

Groups and individuals can sign up in advance at www.ocnj.us/bizplunge.

The Unlocking of the Ocean and the Business Persons Plunge take place on the beach adjacent to the Music Pier.

Participants are encouraged to muster at 11:30 a.m.

This year’s ceremony will include recognition of a donation from the local Coast Guard Auxiliary of a defibrillator to be housed outside of the Music Pier. Call 609-399-6111 for more information.

Retired Ocean City Public Relations Director Mark Soifer officially unlocks the ocean in May 2018.

Saturday morning (May 25) brings the Memorial Beach Challenge, a spectacle to behold as athletes complete a 2.5-mile obstacle course that covers much of the beach between Fifth Street and 14th Street.

Proceeds from the event benefit The 31 Heroes Project, an organization that specializes in creating programs, financial support systems and future opportunities for service members, veterans and their families.

The race begins at 8 a.m. near the Ocean City Music Pier and is followed by a kids fun run. Visit memorialbeachchallenge.com for more information on the races and for registration.

Ocean City’s Memorial Day Service starts at 11 a.m. May 27 at the Ocean City Tabernacle (550 Wesley Avenue). All are encouraged to attend. The keynote speaker will be Staff Sergeant Patrick Carney, a U.S. Army veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq. Carney sustained multiple injuries and now advocates for veterans as a Department of Veterans Affairs employee.

The National Moment of Remembrance is also set for May 27. Established by Congress, the event asks Americans, wherever they are at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, to pause in an act of national unity for one minute. Greg Murphy of Buglers Across America will sound Taps from the Ocean City Music Pier to commemorate the moment. The performance will be broadcast on the boardwalk public address system.

American Legion Post 524 Adjutant Jack Hagan explains the symbolism of the empty table during the Memorial Day ceremony at the Ocean City Tabernacle in 2018


The Ocean City Beach Patrol will guard the following beaches starting Memorial Day Weekend (May 25): St. Charles Place, Brighton Place, 8th Street, 9th Street, 10th Street, 11th Street, 12th Street, 26th Street, 34th Street and 58th Street. OCBP strongly urges bathers to swim only at guarded beaches.

Beaches are guarded from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. weekends and holidays and from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on weekdays. More beaches will be added throughout the following weeks.

Also, a reminder: Seasonal beach tags will be on sale for a discounted $20 only through May 31 (the price goes up to $25 on June 1). Tags are available online at www.ocnj.us/beachtags and at eight locations in Ocean City. Follow the same link for details.


GRACE KELLY TEA (May 29): The Ocean City Historical Museum will host an afternoon high tea at the Flanders Hotel with guest speaker Al Crescenzo making a presentation on Grace Kelly in the movies. Kelly’s family owned a home in Ocean City, and she was a regular visitor. Call 609-399-1801 for tickets and information.

Grace Kelly photos fill a section of the Ocean City Historical Museum.

OCEAN CITY FLOWER SHOW (May 31 to June 2): See beautiful commercial, amateur and kids displays at the Ocean City Music Pier. Show times are 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 609-399-6111.

O’NEILL EAST COAST GROM TOUR SURFING CONTEST (June 1): Youth 17-and-under, 7th Street Beach. 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kids will surf for a chance to win prizes from O’Neill, Dragon, Sun Bum and Heritage Surf Shop. www.eastcoastgromtour.com

WONDER’S BIRTHDAY BASH AT WONDERLAND PIER (June 6): Free fireworks show following an evening of discounted rides at Wonderland Pier, Sixth Street and Boardwalk. The company is celebrating 90 years of rides on the Ocean City Boardwalk.

ARTISANS FAMILY WEEKEND (June 7 to 9): The Artisans Order of Mutual Protection will hold their 74th annual Family Weekend in Ocean City. The highlight of the weekend will be the Miss Artisan Pageant and a show by the Original Hobo Band to be held at the Music Pier on June 8. The Hobo Band will perform at 7 p.m. followed by the Miss Artisan Pageant at 8 p.m. Admission is free.

RESTAURANT WEEK (June 7 to 14): Fixed-price specials at participating Ocean City restaurants. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and special treats for the whole family. Visit www.eatinocnj.com for list of participating restaurants and specialty shops.

The Ocean City Skate Park’s big bowl gives skaters plenty of room to show off their moves. (Photo courtesy Jaime Pustizzi)

SKATO WITH KATO (June 7): OC Skate Park, 5th & Asbury Ave. 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Humane Society of Ocean City. For more information call 609-398-9500 ext. 4 or visit www.hsocnj.org.

COP CHASE (June 8): 5K Footrace, 2 Mile Fitness Walk on the Ocean City Boardwalk. Proceeds from the Ocean City Police Chase will benefit the Ocean City Police Benevolent Association who support scholarships for high school seniors, The Christmas toy drive, and distribution of free bike helmets with the funds they raise throughout the year.

For more info, call 609-525-9108 or visit www.ocpba.com.