In a long-standing Ocean City tradition, city officials will turn a ceremonial wooden key to officially “unlock the ocean” for the season at noon Friday, May 24. The free public event provides an early start to Memorial Day Weekend and welcomes a long-awaited summer.
The Ocean City Beach Patrol will begin providing guarded beaches on Saturday, and boardwalk and downtown businesses will be open and ready for the holiday weekend. After a cool and wet spring, the forecast for the weekend looks sunny and warm.
The “Unlocking of the Ocean” includes a newer tradition: The march of fully clothed business persons into the chilly Atlantic Ocean for the first swim of the summer (to the strains of the Ocean City High School marching band playing “Pomp and Circumstance”). Everybody is invited to participate in the Business Persons Plunge. It’s a chance to get some exposure for your business or organization or just to start Memorial Day Weekend with a splash. Groups and individuals can sign up in advance at www.ocnj.us/bizplunge.
The Unlocking of the Ocean and the Business Persons Plunge take place on the beach adjacent to the Music Pier. Participants are encouraged to muster at 11:30 a.m. This year’s ceremony will include recognition of a donation from the local Coast Guard Auxiliary of a defibrillator to be housed on outside of the Music Pier. Call 609-399-6111 for more information.
Saturday morning (May 25) brings the Memorial Beach Challenge, a spectacle to behold as athletes complete a 2.5-mile obstacle course that covers much of the beach between Fifth Street and 14th Street. Proceeds from the event benefit The 31 Heroes Project, an organization that specializes in creating programs, financial support systems and future opportunities for service members, veterans and their families. The race begins at 8 a.m. near the Ocean City Music Pier and is followed by a kids fun run. Visit memorialbeachchallenge.com for more information on the races and for registration.
Ocean City’s Memorial Day Service starts at 11 a.m. May 27 at the Ocean City Tabernacle (550 Wesley Avenue). All are encouraged to attend. The keynote speaker will be Staff Sergeant Patrick Carney, a U.S. Army veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq. Carney sustained multiple injuries and now advocates for veterans as a Department of Veterans Affairs employee.
The National Moment of Remembrance is also set for May 27. Established by Congress, the event asks Americans, wherever they are at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, to pause in an act of national unity for one minute. Greg Murphy of Buglers Across America will sounds Taps from the Ocean City Music Pier to commemorate the moment. The performance will be broadcast on the boardwalk public address system.