It's finally here... Memorial Day Weekend, the start of the Jersey Shore's summer season. Time to don those vacation togs, book some time off and pull out those favorite summer salad or barbecue recipes.
Several shore towns officially opened their beaches and/or "unlock the ocean" with ceremonial events. Stone Harbor got things started at its 95th Street beach on Thursday. In Ocean City, "Pomp and Circumstance" played as folks dressed in business attire took a plunge into the sea on Friday. Also on Friday, at noon, Wildwood unveiled its Wildwood Icon Wall Mural at Roberts Ave. and the beach and "unlock" the ocean with Special guest, Bobby Rydell.
As you would expect, parties and concerts abound at the shore points. Heralding the start of the tourist high season is a cause for celebration. Recovery from Sandy is still ongoing and some towns (Seaside Park, Sea Isle City) have had major fires to contend with since the hurricane ravaged the state. These towns rely on robust tourism as a significant part of their economy.
Remember the fallen on Memorial Day
Of course, Memorial Day wasn't created to kick off the summer season. It was established after the Civil War to honor the men and women who died in the service of the USArmed Forces. From New Jersey, there have been 152 servicemen and women killed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, 1484 killed in Vietnam and 793 who perished in Korea.
On Memorial Day, many towns along the Jersey shore will pay tribute to the fallen with ceremonies and parades. These hometown heroes from the shore points will certainly be among those commemorated:
Killed while serving in Afghanistan
LCpl. Gregory T. Buckley of Ocean City, Sgt. James W. Harvey II of Toms River, Sgt. Ronald A. Kubik of Brielle, Sgt. John A. Lyons of Seaside Park, Petty Officer (Navy Seal) Denis C. Miranda of Toms River, Cpl. Christopher M. Monahan Jr. of Island Heights, Maj. James M Weis of Toms River
Killed while serving in Iraq
PFC Ryan Christensen of Spring Lake Heights, PFC Vincent Frassetto of Ocean, Cpl. Kareem Khan of Ocean Acres, Cpl. Eric Palacios Rivera of Atlantic City, Sgt. Sameer Rateb of Absecon, Cpl. Thomas E. Saba of Toms River, Spec. Marc Scott Seiden of Brigantine, Sgt. Alan Sherman of Brick,
Sgt. Stephen Sherman of Neptune, Spec. Stanley J Sokolowski III of Ocean
Memorial Day Weekend happenings
Here's a run down of what's happening this holiday weekend Down the Shore:
A Memorial Day service will be held in Memorial Park, Bay Blvd. and Brooklyn Ave. on Monday at 11 a.m.
The town will host Memorial Day Concerts on both Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m. The show, featuring oldies cover band, ReUnited and doo wop group, The Hi-Fives, will take place at the Barnegat Public Dock. Rain location will be at the Brackman Middle School.
For the first time since Superstorm Sandy hit, all Toms River beaches will be open by Memorial Day. Last summer only three blocks of Ortley Beach were open.
Since 1976, Beach Haven has held a community Memorial Day parade and service. Starting point will be at Taylor Ave., marching down Bay Ave. to Engleside Ave. The commemoration ceremony will take place at Veterans Bicentennial Park, 30 E. Engleside Ave. Monday, May 26, 10-11 a.m.
The VFW honor guard will lead Absecon's Memorial Day Parade from the American Legion Post #28 to Veteran's Park. Count on floats, fire trucks and marching bands to commemorate fallen soldiers and sailors. World War II veteran, Bob Knoeble will serve as the parade's grand marshall. Mon, May 26, 9:30-11:30 a.m. - American Legion, 560 New Jersey Ave., Absecon, N.J.
Mixing nostalgia and current hit makers, AC's casinos have several big acts in store for the holiday weekend.
Friday, the three remaining members of The Monkees (singer Davy Jones died in 2012) bring their reunion tour to the Borgata Hotel and Casino. But who, oh who, will sing "I Wanna Be Free" and "Daydream Believer"? Tickets range from $89 to $95. May 23, 9 p.m. - Music Box, 1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, N.J.
Hard to believe, but it really was 40 years ago that Deborah Harry and Chris Stein formed the seminal new wave band, Blondie. The band is still recording fresh music and their newest album, Ghosts of Download was just released earlier this month. The Blondie 4(0) Ever tour comes to the Tropicana Casino on Saturday. Tickets cost $133.75. May 24, 8 p.m. - Tropicana Showroom, 2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, N.J.
Sunday, electronic dance music (EDM) duo, The Chainsmokers will host a 12 hour non-stop pool party dubbed #selfiesunday at Harrah's Resort. General Admission price is $50. May 25, 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. - The Pool After Dark, Harrah's Resort, 777 Harrah's Blvd., Atlantic City, N.J.
Grammy winner, John Legend will also be performing this Sunday at the Borgota. Tickets are $100. May 25, 9 p.m. - Music Box, 1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, N.J.
On Monday, at 10 a.m., a Memorial Day Parade will proceed along Ventnor Avenue.
A parade of antique and classic cars, military vehicles, marching bands, Scouts and veterans will all be a part of the Somers Point Memorial Day festivities on Monday at 10 a.m. The route has its start at Dawes Avenue School and heads down Shore Road to Patriots Park at Bethel Road and 1st Street. A memorial ceremony will follow.
Ocean City has two concert choices taking place this weekend. The music of Glenn Miller and Gershwin will be a part of Memorial Day Weekend performances by Linda Gentille and the Jersey Shore Pops in their America Tribute to Heroes show. Tickets range from $25 to $35. Fri, May 23 and Sat, May 24, 7 p.m. - Music Pier, Ocean City, NJ.
A free concert in front of Music Pier by the 35-member Bucks County Singers will feature selections from musicals such as the Sound of Music, Oklahoma, South Pacific as well as patriotic selections and pop standards. Saturday, May 24, 3:30 p.m. - Music Pier, Ocean City, NJ.
StandUP4SEALs will hold its second annual beach challenge to honor Navy SEALS and assist surviving families of fallen military vets. Participants can join in as teams or individuals in a stand-up paddle board competition, SEAL approved obstacle course and a kids fun run. There will be a special patriot ceremony to honor veterans. Sat, May 24, 7:30 a.m. - 8th Street Beach, Ocean City, N.J.
On Monday, at 11 a.m., Ocean City will hold a Memorial Day service at Veterans Memorial Park, 5th and Wesley Ave.
Sea Isle City
Sea Isle's Memorial Day ceremony takes place on Monday from 10-11 a.m. in Veterans Park.
Avalon's Memorial Day parade will proceed from 32nd and Dune Dr. to Veterans Plaza, 21st and Dune Dr. Monday, May 26, 9-11 a.m.
The annual Memorial Day Parade will commence at noon from 96th Street. A ceremony will follow just outside the Women's Civic Club at 96th and the beach. Mon, May 26, 12 noon - 2 p.m.
Billed as the largest kite festival in North America, the International Kite Festival returns to Wildwood for the entire Memorial Day Weekend. Highlights include giant show kites, an illuminated kite fly on Friday at 9 p.m. on the beach at Rio Grande Ave., the East Coast Stunt Kite Championships on Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m., and the World Indoor Kite Competition - where fliers will demonstrate their ability to fly a kite without wind - from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. inside the Wildwoods Convention Center. The entire four-day event is free for spectators and offers kite exhibits, workshops and an auction. Fri, May 23 through Mon, May 26 - Wildwood, N.J.
On Saturday, a candlelight vigil will take place to honor active, fallen and stateside troops and veterans at the Wildwoods Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. There will be a motorcycle procession as part of the ceremony, leaving from Rio Grande to Wildwood at 7:15 p.m. May 24, 8 p.m. - Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, Ocean Ave., Wildwood., N.J.
On Monday, Memorial Day ceremonies will be at the Wildwood American Legion Post. Remembrance of the deceased will feature speakers, a firing squad, a playing of "Taps" and wreath laying at the Post, Memorial Walk and Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. There will also be a wreath laying in the ocean behind the Convention Center by Police Explorers. May 26, 11 a.m. - American Legion Post #184, 4200 Atlantic Ave., Wildwood., N.J.
A Summer Kickoff Concert with free outdoor dance and party hits performed by The Fabulous Greaseband happens on Sunday at Centennial Park. Attendees are encouraged to bring a beach blanket or chairs. May 25, 7:30 p.m. - Centennial Park, Ocean Ave., Wildwood Crest, N.J.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops Tickets will launch the summer season for the third time in Cape May with their orchestral versions of popular swing, blues and Broadway standards. Tickets are $75. Sat, May 24, 8 p.m. - Cape May Convention Hall, 714 Beach Ave., Cape May, N.J.
Now in its 25th year, the Cape May Music Festival concert series begins on Sunday with a free performance by the 35-piece Atlantic Brass Band. The entire series runs until June 12. May 25, 8-10 p.m. - Rotary Bandstand, Lyle Lane, Cape May, N.J.
For something with a more military tone, why not check out the US Coastguard Sunset Parade?
Held at the USCG Training Center in Cape May, the free ceremony commences with a regimental review of basic training recruits and is followed by performances by the Recruit Silent Drill Team and Band, marching troops and cannon fire. Afterwards, the ceremony draws to a close with a lowering of the U.S. Coast Guard flag and a Coast Guard helicopter flyover. Visitors are encourage to arrive early for event security screening. Photography is permitted, however, no bags of any kind (including camera bags and purses) are allowed. Sunday, May 25, 7:40 p.m. - 1 Munro Ave., Cape May, NJ.
Cape May will hold two Memorial Day observances on Monday. The first will be a recognition service at the Columbia Avenue Monument at 9 a.m. The second, a Memorial Day ceremony, will be held on Mon at 11 a.m. at the Cape May Convention Hall, 714 Beach Avenue.