By MADDY VITALE
There was more than enough to please shoppers Saturday during Ocean City’s annual “Market Madness,” which brought Boardwalk and downtown merchants together for the third and most successful version of the huge shopping event.
The Ocean City Music Pier featured vendor tables from a sampling of more than 30 shops and boutiques from the boards to Asbury Avenue.
Clothing, toys, jewelry, artwork, amusement park tickets, household and other items at discounts and deals gave crowds a plethora to choose from.
The spring preview was a great excuse for six sisters to spend the weekend at their one sister’s vacation home in Ocean City.
Nancy Morales, who has a condominium in Ocean City, invited her five sisters down for a weekend of fun.
Morales and siblings, Kim Swentkowski, of Langhorne Pa., Susan Ireland, of Roxbury, N.J., Jackie Burrini, of Mount Olive, N.J., Marianne Hubbert, of Wayne, Pa., and Chris Day, of Hackettstown, N.J., meandered through the Music Pier before stopping to check out some clothing on Jilly’s Shops clothing racks.
“We do sisters weekend two to three times a year,” Swentkowski said. “We always come down to the shore for a week in the summer. We’ve been doing it for 30-plus years.”
And for the past few years, the weekend of Market Madness has been a way for the sisters to get together in the offseason and have a blast shopping and just catching up, they noted.
“It’s great to see all of the different vendors on the Boardwalk and the downtown together,” Ireland said.
“It’s one-stop shopping,” Burrini added.
Diana Haugh, of Somers Point, was celebrating her birthday weekend and decided to make a family affair out of Market Madness.
She brought along her daughter, Lyla, 4, for some fun on the rainy, chilly day.
Haugh also brought along her mother, Susan Reitz, and sister, Brooke, Reitz, both of Reading, Pa., for the big shopping day.
“There are some good deals and good sales on spring and summer clothes,” Diana Haugh said.
Meanwhile, Lyla was busy eyeing up a yummy pink cupcake from Mallory’s Eats, a shop in Stainton’s Gallery of Shoppes.
The family also checked out some shiny hand-crafted pieces courtesy of Lynn Harrington, owner of A.S.O.M. Studio, another store in Stainton’s Gallery of Shoppes.
Ocean City’s Boardwalk Merchants Association and Downtown Merchants Association created the event in 2020 to kick off the spring and summer seasons.
Ocean City Councilman Jody Levchuk, who is also the co-owner of Jilly’s Boardwalk and downtown shops, watched as shoppers browsed the vendor tables and sales racks.
“It’s an amazing turnout today, regardless of the weather, and I am confident next year will be sunny and 60 degrees or above,” Levchuk said with a chuckle.
Connie Vance, of Ridgewood, N.J., and her friends, Linda Caporino, also of Ridgewood, Bette Condron, of Glenolden, Pa., and Louise Tarantino, of Hopewell Junction, New York, came down for the weekend.
Each of them had shopping bags filled with toiletries, clothing and some gifts for friends and family.
“We have all been friends for a long time and we love coming down to Ocean City for the weekend,” Vance said. “This event is a nice way to get a taste of the town.”
Caporino was happy with some of her finds.
“I bought gifts for my grandchildren and some body lotion and gloves,” she said.
Like Levchuk, who said the day was a success, merchants agreed it was a fantastic event.
Lisa Catrambone, owner of White Lotus, a new boutique on Asbury Avenue that features women’s clothing and other items, called the event awesome.
“It’s been awesome. We’ve been busy since we opened. We expected to be busy, but this is wonderful,” Catrambone said, as shoppers browsed her scarves, sweatshirts and other apparel. “We are so excited.”
Wes Kazmarck, head of the Boardwalk Merchants Association, said the event was such a success that the merchants from both the Boardwalk and the downtown agreed to hold the event again Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Music Pier. He sent out email blasts to alert people about the extra day.
“The downtown and the Boardwalk businesses really came together, and I think that is what has made it such a success — especially this year,” Kazmarck said. “It’s really the best of Ocean City.”