Spend a Night in Venice Without Leaving Jersey

Ocean City holds its annual boat parade

Venice may be a great city, but who needs to go all the way to Italy when you can experience Venice right at the Jersey Shore?

Ocean City is gearing up for their 56th year of Night in Venice -- one of the longest running boat parades in the world -- on Saturday night.

Boaters decorate their crafts or homes to compete for a chance to win cash prizes. $1000 will be awarded to the best-decorated house and boat while three runners-up in both categories will win $500.

And all boaters are winners. Any boater who enters the contest will get $50 for decorations, a Captain’s hat and photo of the boat in the parade to remember the event. All contestants will get a commemorative mug.

Decorators can follow the theme -- “Some Enchanted Evening” -- or think of their own.

Thousands come to watch the parade every year. It begins at 7:30 at the Longport Bridge and continues along the bay to 23rd Street and South Harbor. Seating will be set up to watch and it’s free.

And there is more. Twelve young ladies compete to win the title of Miss Night in Venice and lead the parade. The girl who raises the most money for local charities wins the title and honor.

The Night in Venice has gone on for the past 55 years. The weather is looking promising for Saturday night, so the 56th year should be a success.

The party starts a night early. On Friday the Merchants of Venice Seafood Festival goes from 5 to 9 p.m.

Walk from 6th to 9th Street on Asbury Avenue to buy seafood from over 40 vendors and check out the crafts and entertainment.

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