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Ocean City to “Unlock the Ocean” and Take “the Plunge”

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The Business Persons Plunge is a wacky tradition to kick off the summer season in Ocean City. (Photo courtesy of Ocean City)

After a long winter and chilly spring, city officials will finally turn a ceremonial wooden key to “unlock the ocean” for the season at noon Friday, May 26.

The free public event provides an early start to Memorial Day Weekend and welcomes a long-awaited summer. It takes place on the beach, between the Ocean City Music Pier and Ninth Street.

With the ocean officially open, a fully clothed entourage will then march into the chilly ocean to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Business Persons Plunge. The Ocean City High School band will play “Pomp and Circumstance” and a banner plane will fly by as local business owners and employees take the first swim of the summer.

The Business Persons Plunge has grown in popularity since it first started in 2004. Everyone is invited to participate. It’s a chance to get some exposure for local businesses or organizations or just to start Memorial Day Weekend with a splash.

Participants are asked to gather on the beach at 11:30 a.m. for instructions from long-time event organizer and promoter John Walton.

Ocean City officials “unlock” the ocean in 2022.

The Ocean City Beach Patrol celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, and members and alumni will be on hand to share information about the history of the patrol. Rescue craft representing different eras of the OCBP will be on display.

The daily Boardwalk flag-raising ceremony – a beloved tradition in Ocean City – will begin for the 2023 season at the Ocean City Music Pier starting on Friday, May 26. The event includes the playing of the national anthem and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” The ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. every morning through Sept. 11.

Saturday morning, May 27, brings the Memorial Beach Challenge, a spectacle to behold as athletes complete a two-mile obstacle course that covers much of the beach on both sides of the Music Pier.

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. It also includes a Kids Fun Run and Memorial Paddle Out. Visit memorialbeachchallenge.com for more information on the races and for registration.

Veterans Fred Distell and George Meyers place the wreath at the Memorial Day service in 2022.

Ocean City’s Memorial Day Service starts at 11 a.m. Monday, May 29 at Veterans Memorial Park (500 block of Wesley Avenue). All are encouraged to attend. The keynote speakers will be local VFW Post Commander Mike Morrissey and American Legion Commander Bob Marzulli.

The National Moment of Remembrance is also set for May 29. 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 Music Pier to commemorate the moment. The performance will be broadcast on the Boardwalk public address system.