The Weekend from Friday, May 25 – Memorial Day Monday, May 28 is packed with festivities to welcome 2012 summer – and events honoring our military heroes
The Wildwoods, NJ – May 18, 2012 – The arrival of Memorial Day Weekend means four jam-packed days of fun and festivities in the Wildwoods with celebrations, events, and this year, highlighted by elaborate tributes to all of those whom Memorial Day is meant to honor.
Official Unlocking of the Ocean Ceremony: It all kicks off on Friday, May 25 with the annual Unlocking of the Ocean Ceremony at 12:30 p.m., on the beach at Burk Avenue next to the Wildwoods Convention Center. Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler, Harlem Globetrotter Blenda Rodriguez and New Jersey Executive Director of Travel and Tourism Grace Hanlon will join state, county and local officials in kicking off the 2012 summer season.
Also joining the ceremony will be Captain Kelly (USCG) and Lt. Commander Scott Rea (USCG), who will be in the Wildwoods for the Coast Guard Recruit Graduation. This impressive and emotional military ceremony will be open to the public at the Wildwoods Convention Center Friday, May 25, at 11 a.m.
Wildwoods’ International Kite Festival: The Wildwoods’ International Kite Festival, the largest kite festival in North America, takes place starting Friday, May 25 through Monday, May 28 on the Rio Grande Avenue Beach. It begins with a night-time illuminated kite fly at 9 p.m. on Friday. The East Coast Stunt Kite Championships take place all day Saturday and Sunday on the beach, as well as kite exhibitions and workshops. The Festival ends Monday in the Wildwoods’ Convention Center with a choreographed indoor kite fly, free to spectators.
Celebration of Heroes Festival: The highlight of the Memorial Day weekend is the premier of the Celebration of Heroes Festival. This three-day festival focuses on the holiday’s true meaning by paying tribute to our veterans, military and first responders, who are being offered discounts and specials at hotels, restaurants and amusements. All weekend long, military families can get in touch with their loved ones at the Xfinity Interactive Center via satellite through Skype and text message centers, or send postcards through a mass mail-call courtesy of The National Constitution Center.
The Festival kicks off Friday morning with the Coast Guard Graduation Ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Wildwoods Convention Center, and continues Friday evening at 7 p.m. with a Veterans Motorcycle Caravan comprised of cycle enthusiast representing Tri-State area veterans motorcycle clubs who will form a dramatic ‘drive-up’ caravan, leading to a moving flag-planting ceremony and memorial sunset ceremony at Burk Avenue and the Boardwalk. More than 100 Coast Guardsmen will commemorate the service and sacrifice of all military members including a firing party, a color guard and a bugler. The day’s events culminate with a 10 p.m. free Fireworks Show.
The Celebration of Heroes continues on Saturday, May 26 with the Ford Family Beach Games from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on the beach at Wildwood Avenue featuring fun, action-packed beach games including family soccer matches, softball, frisbee throw, treasure hunt and obstacle course action all day.
Saturday’s fun continues with the “Taste of Wildwoods” Food & Music Festival at Fox Park from noon-9 p.m. and on Sunday, May 27, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Food and merchandise vendors, military displays, the Ford Experience Exhibit, live music performances and radio station broadcasts will be present. There will also be autograph sessions with former NFL Eagle, Vince Papale and Philadelphia Flyer, Bernie Parent from 1pm – 3pm in Fox Park and a special performance of the “Cheesteak Anthem“by none other than Philadelphia Cheesteak King, Tony Luke, Jr.
“Foodies” who like to live on the edge will be especially interested in the Dangerous Wines attraction at this Festival. Stop by and try some Dangerous Nutz, Dangerous Crab Cakes and Dangerous Wine samplings. Their Dangerous Chef will be doing demos every 2 hours starting at noon each day; and Russ Newberry from the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” will appear at the Dangerous booth area each day to sign autographs and share crabbing stories. Proceeds from Dangerous Wines sales go to help wounded troops.
The Celebration of Heroes’ Military Procession & Remembrance Ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 27 at 1 p.m., a procession of military service heroes, Veterans, celebrities and the Coast Guard Recruit Marching Band. The Procession ends at the Wildwoods Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall (Columbus Park across from the Wildwoods Convention Center) where the solemn Heroes Remembrance Ceremony and Air Force and Coast Guard “Fly Overs” will take place.
On Sunday at 8 p.m. the Wildwoods Convention Center’s Oceanfront Arena will host the culminating event of Celebration of Heroes Memorial Day Weekend Beach Festival: the Wildwoods Celebration of Heroes (COH) Benefit Concert, a compelling homage to the immensely popular USO Variety Show concerts hosted for decades by legendary comedian, U.S. military supporter and humanitarian Bob Hope.
The Wildwoods’ COH Benefit Concert performers scheduled to appear include Saturday Night Live star alum Joe Piscopo with Musical Director Joe Muccioli and his all-star 17 piece jazz 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.
Tickets start at $25 and are available through Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000, online at www.ticketmaster.com or the Convention Center Box Office.
Memorial Day Ceremony: A Memorial Day Ceremony will take place on Monday, May 28 at Veterans Monument, 1st and New York Avenues, North Wildwood at 10 a.m. The event then moves to American Legion Post 184, 4200 Atlantic Ave., where a wreath laying ceremony at Post 184, a memorial walk and the Police Explorer troop wreath laying in the ocean behind the Wildwoods Convention Center at Burk Avenue will take place at 11 a.m.
And there’s more …
Here’s the complete list of all of the Wildwoods’ Memorial Day 2012 Schedule of Festivities:
May 25 – Coast Guard Recruit Graduation at the Wildwoods Convention Center (11 a.m.)
May 25 – Unlocking of the Ocean Media Day Event (12:30 p.m.)
May 25 – 28 – Wildwoods International Kite Festival
May 25 – 27 – Celebration of Heroes Festival :
~Motorcycle Caravan and Sunset Ceremony at Burk Avenue (Friday, 7 p.m.)
~Free Fireworks Show (Friday, 10 p.m. on the beach at Poplar Avenue)
~Ford Family Beach Games (Saturday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
~“Taste of Wildwoods” Food & Music Festival at Fox Park (Saturday, noon-9 p.m. & Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
~Celebration of Heroes’ Military Procession & Remembrance Ceremony (Sunday, 1 p.m.)
~ Wildwoods Celebration of Heroes Benefit Concert (Sunday, 8 p.m.)
May 26 – Boardwalk Craft Show
May 26 – New Jersey State Gymnastics Championships
May 27 – Wildwood Crest Summer Kickoff Concert
May 28 – Memorial Day Ceremony starting at Veterans Monument
*Please note that the information and dates above are subject to change.
In addition to the events above, the Wildwoods’ also host a FREE Summer Concert Series featuring the region’s top acts and some of the most entertaining FREE live entertainment to be found at the Jersey shore in 2012. Taking place at venues throughout the five-mile island including North Wildwood’s Lou Booth Amphitheatre, concerts on the beach in Wildwood and the Centennial Park Amphitheatre in Wildwood Crest – musical stylings for the concerts range from Doo-Wop and rock ‘n roll to Motown and tribute bands.
All of these concerts are FREE and take place almost every night of the week throughout the summer months.
For more information about summertime events and concerts in the Wildwoods, visit www.WildwoodsNJ.com or call 1-800-992-9732.