A guide to Ocean City’s First Night 2014

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Submitted / First Night committee member Jean Jacobson and event chairwoman and Chamber of Commerce executive director Michele Gillian inspect the Ocean City High School observatory located at Carey Stadium, Sixth Street off the boardwalk. The observatory will be open 5-9 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Submitted / First Night committee member Jean Jacobson and event chairwoman and Chamber of Commerce executive director Michele Gillian inspect the Ocean City High School observatory located at Carey Stadium, Sixth Street off the boardwalk. The observatory will be open 5-9 p.m. on New Year's Eve.

OCEAN CITY — Now is the time to get your First Night Admission buttons. The annual New Year’s Eve event in Ocean City features entertainment from 4 p.m. to midnight, capped by a fireworks display. The cost is $15 per person, children 2 years and younger are free.

Buttons can be purchased at www.firstnightocnj.com, ordered by calling 609-399-1412 and are available 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily at Stainton’s Square, Eighth Street and Asbury Avenue.

The first First Night was 22 years ago and attracted 1,000 visitors. The event grew rapidly over the years and now is capped at 10,000 visitors. The program is geared to entertain all ages with a special emphasis on families.

Children will be delighted with events at the football field, Sixth Street off the boardwalk, and adjacent Sports and Civic Center including the world’s tallest snowman, a 30-foot tall bouncy; the Dixie Dragonfly Swing ride, fun for ages 5 and up; trackless train tide, the Peanut Elephant ride and pony rides from 5-9 p.m.

The Sports and Civic Center will feature a four-lane horse derby inflatable, Polar Extreme obstacle course, Jungle World play center and Circus Train Adventure. There will be a Dinosaur Zoo at the Ocean City High School featuring museum-quality dinosaur fossils and other prehistoric items to see and touch.

As a special feature, there will be an 80-by-40-foot ice skating rink located in the Fifth Street parking lot. It is the largest ice rink south of Rockefeller Center. It accommodates up to 100 skaters at a time. Skates are supplied or you can bring your own.

In addition, First Night offers an extensive program of entertainment including the children’s show “Rapunzel” and the Broadway hit “Smokey Joe’s Café”; juggler Chris Ivey; magician Chad Juros; Jungle John animal show; Broadway By Request; Grease Band; Norris Tones doo wop performers; Ocean City Pops Orchestra; Mainstage Singers; Allo magic and fun; Turtle Singers; Dan Chain, mentalist; Lucky Guess Game Show; Abbott and Costello performers; a barber shop quartet; Bubba Fan Gospel Group; Paisley Pickles; telescope observation of the skies at the high school observatory; VeggieTales movies shown hourly 6-11 p.m. at the Moorlyn Theater; and more.

The Ocean City Restaurant Association will offer “A Taste of the Jersey Shore” with hourly seating from 4-8 p.m. in the high school cafeteria, Sixth Street. Book reservations and see a menu at www.EatInOCNJ.com.

During First Night there will also be a preview of Fred and Susan Miller’s latest Ocean City history book featuring Ocean City’s historic hotels, 5 p.m. in the community room of the library, 1735 Simpson Ave. The book will be published by Arcadia Publishing and be available May 24, 2014. This is the sixth history book about Ocean City the Millers have written for Arcadia.

There will be free parking at city lots and a free jitney service to take attendees to entertainment spots. Complete information will be in the program book provided to all First Night button holders.

First Night will be followed by First Day at the Beach featuring a First Dip in the Ocean at 2 p.m., preceded by First Run, a 5K boardwalk run at 1 p.m. beginning at the Music Pier, plus First Day shopping bargains all day in the downtown. For information, call 609-525-9300.


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