Celebrate the New Year in Ocean City!

Photo by Donald B. Kravitz

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City’s gala New Year’s Eve celebration, First Night, is just a few days away. Welcome 2017 in a safe, non-alcoholic environment! The event offers professional family entertainment from 4 p.m. until midnight with a giant fireworks display scheduled to welcome the New Year. This is the best entertainment value at the Jersey Shore!

Entertainment includes Salazar Magic and a tribute to Neil Diamond at the Music Pier, inflatables and the Fabulous Greaseband at the Civic Center, and rides at Wonderland Pier. The lineup also includes ice skating adjacent to the Civic Center, Pinkalicious and Let’s Rock in the Ocean City High School auditorium, Japanese Drummers and the Juliano Brothers in the high school gym, popular magician Chad Juros in the high school auxiliary gym, and Andrew Hink, the Billy Tucker Trio and Carl Howell’s folk and rock music in the high school Community Room. The high school observatory will be open for the public to view the night sky.

New this year: The skate park will be open with a DJ playing music (safety equipment required).

The Primary School will feature the One Man & One Dog Comedy Show and Jungle John. St. Peter’s Sanctuary will showcase the Cape Shore Chorale and Sounds of Broadway. In St. Peter’s Stainton Room, Chanteuse and Abbott & Costello will be featured. The Aquatic and Fitness Center’s pool will be open. The Library Community Room will present Ocean City History, the Horse Play Game Show and the St. Augustine’s Prep Boys Choir. The Ocean City Historical Museum will also have an open house.

The Ocean City Senior Center will feature Keith Hickman with dance music from line dancing to Sinatra and mentalist Dan Cain. The Ocean City Tabernacle will present the Harmony Show Choir and the Ocean City Pops Orchestra. The Tabernacle’s Kull Youth Center lists the Allo Puppets with magic and fun and the Give and Take Jugglers. The film Little Red Riding Hood will be shown at the Moorlyn Theatre.

All First Night button holders will be given programs with complete information on entertainment locations, food availability, parking and free jitney transportation.

First Night has an Angel Fund to assist those who cannot afford buttons. For information about the Angel Fund, contact Mark Soifer, Room 214 at City Hall, (609) 399-6111.

First Night admission buttons are now on sale for $20. Admission buttons are available at the City Hall Welcome Center, 9th and Asbury Ave.; the Roy Gillian Welcome Center on the Ninth Street Causeway; and at Stainton’s, 810 Asbury Ave.

For more information, visit www.firstnightocnj.com, where you will find the entire entertainment schedule and also be able to purchase buttons online.

The following day, start your New Year’s Day with Ocean City’s 5K Boardwalk Run. The race starts at 1 p.m., travels north and extends beyond the boardwalk due to a boardwalk reconstruction project. Pre-register for $20 through Dec. 30 at 9 p.m. at jbsportstiming.com. Race day registration is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Ocean City Civic Center, just off the boardwalk at Sixth Street, and is $30. This year’s event includes chip timing.

If you prefer swimming over running, visit the beach near the Ocean City Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace, at 2 p.m. for Ocean City’s First Day at the Beach, featuring the first dip in the ocean of the year. Visit herocampaign.org to reserve your commemorative long-sleeved T-shirt with a $20 donation to the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers, and to learn more about how to help the campaign. Event-day registration starts at noon at the Music Pier. Register and get your BEACH NUT CERTIFICATE that certifies, “Yes! I have plunged into the waters on New Year’s Day!” You also can take part in the HERO plunge/pledge for designated drivers.

After you’ve welcomed the New Year with a brisk run or a cool dip in the water, take advantage of downtown shopping specials during the First Day Shopping Extravaganza, plus enjoy free horse-and-carriage rides from noon to 3 p.m. starting at City Hall.

For more information about Ocean City’s New Year’s events, call 1 (800) BEACH-NJ.