Memorial Day Festival Honors Military Families in Wildwoods

First-ever 'Celebration of Heroes' weekend beach festival will salute America’s Military Servicemen, Women & Families

If you’re headed to the Jersey Shore this Memorial Day weekend, you’ll want to make sure to visit the Wildwoods.

The city known for its boardwalk, named the Best in America by Family Vacation Critic earlier in 2012, is set to play host to the first annual Celebration of Heroes, a three-day festival featuring live music, celebrity entertainment, food, beach games and much more. There are many highlights to the weekend (see the full schedule of events below) but Sunday night’s USO-Style Variety Show and Headliner Concert at the Wildwoods Convention Center’s Oceanfront Arena at 8 p.m will certainly be the big one.

Starring Joe Piscopo, Michael Longoria, Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler and more, Sunday night’s concert tickets start at just $25 and are available at all Ticketmaster Outlets, or charge-by-phone at 800-745-3000.

 “This new family-friendly festival, for the military and general public, will ensure that Memorial Day Weekend in the Wildwoods is unforgettable in every sense of the word, and will attract visitors to the Wildwoods Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall,” said John Siciliano, Executive Director of the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority (GWTIDA).

Over 250,000 families of active duty servicemen, women, veterans, first-responders and their families have been invited to participate in the weekend’s activities, which kick off Friday morning with the graduation of 70 new U.S. Coast Guard recruits at the Wildwoods Convention Center. Military personnel, veterans and their families are being offered special discounts at a long list of hotels and motels when you provide military I.D.

NBC10 is proud to be the official TV partner of the event, along with WHYY and NJTV. For more detailed event information, visit A full schedule of events is listed below (click here for a printable version).


11 A.M. – U.S. Coast Guard Recruit Graduation – More than 70 new military service members from the Training Center Cape May (our nation's only Coast Guard enlisted accession point and recruit training center) will graduate basic training and begin their military careers. Open to the public.
Location: Wildwoods Convention Center, 4501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, NJ 08260

7 P.M. - Motorcycle Caravan - Motorcycle enthusiasts comprised of veterans representing the TriState area motorcycle clubs will form a dramatic drive-up caravan, leading to a moving memorial ceremony at 7 p.m.

SUNSET Ceremony - More than 100 Coast Guardsmen will commemorate the service and sacrifice of all military members during a Sunset Ceremony including a firing party, a color guard and a bugler
Location: Burk Avenue and the Boardwalk at sunset.

8 P.M. - VIP Hospitality Reception
Location: Wildwoods Convention Center

10 P.M. - Fireworks Display – The evening culminates with a spectacular fireworks display at 10 p.m. originating from Pine Avenue.


10 A.M. – 3 P.M. - The Ford Family Beach Games. A daytime series of family and celebrity-interactive competitions on the beach at Wildwood Avenue - soccer matches, softball, frisbee throw, treasure hunt and obstacle courses.
Location: Beach at Wildwood Avenue

12 P.M. – 9 P.M. - ‘Taste of Wildwoods’ Food & Music Festival. Featuring the sights, sounds and flavors of many of the Wildwoods’ famous food festivals, the event will also include live music performances and radio appearances.
Location: Fox Park, Ocean Avenue between Burk and Montgomery Avenues


1 P.M. - Celebration of Heroes Military Procession & Remembrance Ceremony along with an Air Force and Coast Guard “Fly Over.” A Memorial Day procession of military service heroes, veterans, celebrities, and marching bands, including the Coast Guard Recruit Marching Band, ending at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.
Location: Wildwoods Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, Fox Park, Ocean Avenue between Burk and Montgomery

11 A.M. – 3 P.M. - ‘Taste of Wildwoods’ Food & Music Festival. Featuring the sights, sounds and flavors of many of the Wildwoods’ famous food festivals, the event will also include live music performances and radio appearances.

8 P.M. - USO-Style Variety Show and Headliner Concert. Starring former SNL star Joe Piscopo and his 17-piece orchestra; Grammy Winner Lee Greenwood; Michael Longoria, original cast member (Frankie Valli) of the hit Broadway Show The Jersey Boys; Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler; and American Idol finalists Michael Sarver and Haley Scarnato


Comcast Connect Military Call Center & Mail Call - Families, friends and attendees can offer thanks and video Skype live Saturday and Sunday, noon- 2 p.m., with active duty troops and officers based in Afghanistan, via the Liberty USO.  A mail call will also be operated onsite by the Philadelphia National Constitution Center, for those attendees interested in mailing a postcard to troops overseas.

Interactive Military Display Area - Attendees can experience some of the U.S. Armed Forces military technology, and interact with active duty troops, officers and service organization volunteers throughout the entire weekend.

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