Home Latest Stories Ocean City’s “Miracle on Asbury Avenue”

Ocean City’s “Miracle on Asbury Avenue”

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JT greets children during Miracle in the Downtown in November of 2022 at Mark Soifer Park.

By MADDY VITALE

Carolers dressed in Victorian-era inspired clothing and sang favorite holiday classics Friday as horses clip-clopped along Asbury Avenue in Ocean City with passengers who waved while aboard carriages.

Shoppers strolled out of shops with bags filled with gifts. Singer Keith Hickman serenaded the crowds from the lawn at City Hall and Santa spent some time in Mark Soifer Park to the delight of children who lined up to give the big guy their long wish lists.

This is how Ocean City does its Black Friday each year that it better known as, “Our Miracle on Asbury Avenue.”

The shopping event between Sixth Street and 14th Street went from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and was capped off with caroling on City Hall steps and a tree lighting with help from Santa and the Ocean City Fire Department’s ladder truck.

Performer Keith Hickman sings “Silver Bells.”

Dan and Leslie Durkin, of Upper Dublin Township, Pa., brought their children, Charlie, 6, Henry, 5, Jack, 2, and nine-month-old daughter, Scarlett, to the grandparents Ocean City home for the holiday weekend.

The family waited in line for photos with Santa. When it came time, the boys happily walked up to Santa and told him what they wished for.

“It’s a great place to spend the holiday. It is family friendly and affordable,” Dan Durkin said, noting that some of the events, such as photos with Santa and the horse and carriage rides are free.

“I like spending time with family,” Henry’s big brother, Charlie, said.

Children can slip their wish lists into the slot of Santa’s Mailbox at the corner of Ninth Street and Asbury Avenue.

Henry had a particular wish in mind. But he wouldn’t divulge his wish, after meeting with Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick.

He even wrote Santa a letter that he dropped in the mail slot of Santa’s Mailbox, conveniently located at the entrance to Mark Soifer Park.

“It’s a secret!” Henry exclaimed, without even giving a hint of what he wanted under the tree.

“Henry loves everything about Christmas,” Leslie Durkin said with a smile.

Grandparents, Mary Jane and Charlie Durkin, of Ocean City, laughed and noted that their grandchildren enjoyed the holidays in Ocean City.

“It’s a magical time of the year for children,” Charlie Durkin said. “The kids really love it.”

Carolers sing holiday classics wearing Victorian-era inspired clothing.

Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, said it is indeed a special time of year.

“Miracle on Asbury Avenue is a magical event that brings our city together to celebrate the Christmas holiday season with welcoming Santa and the official lighting of the Christmas tree,” she said. “Today gives us all the opportunity to see life through a child’s eyes. We are so lucky to be part of such a special community.”

From left, Abby Kearns, Alex Thompson and Jackie Spring get in some holiday shopping.

Friends Abby Kearns, 21, Jackie Spring, 20, and 20-year-old Alex Thompson, all from Doylestown, Pa., took advantage of some deals and by 3 p.m. they already had bags stuffed with gifts.

“I got some cool jewelry and bags,” Kearns said.

“Ocean City is the place to be today,” Thompson said, as she held up her bag of clothing. “We love Ocean City.”

“We went to a great consignment shop and bought a bunch of things,” Spring added.

Kristy and Don DeSanto, of Moorestown, N.J., who have a second home in Ocean City, and their daughters, Adeline, 10, Emelia, 11, and 12-year-old Lea, enjoyed some shopping in the downtown.

“It’s a beautiful day,” Kristy DeSanto said. “After some more shopping, we are going to go on some carriage rides.”

Kristy and Don DeSanto, of Moorestown, N.J., with their daughters, from left, Lea, Adeline and Emelia.

And each of the girls had their ideas about what they liked the most about the holiday season.

“I like building snowmen,” Adeline said.

“I just like snow,” Emelia chimed in.

And the oldest DeSanto daughter, Lea, said with a big smile, “I like decorating and everything!”

The Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Merchants Association and the City of Ocean City sponsored the event.

For information about the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce visit www.OceanCityVacation.com or visit the Chamber on Facebook.

Crowds gaze at the illuminated City Hall. (Photo courtesy of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce)
Carolers sing from City Hall steps. (Photo courtesy of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce)
Horses take passengers for a ride along Asbury Avenue.
The holiday tree just hours from tree lighting time.