Event honors beloved entertainer Saturday

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NORTH WILDWOOD — A huge community sing-a-long will take place here on Saturday afternoon as part of an outdoor memorial ceremony honoring the late Cozy Morley.

Morley, known by locals as the “Bob Hope of the Jersey Shore,” died last week.

The Cozy Morley Tribute will begin at 3 p.m. in front of Westy's Pub.

Roberta Morley, Morley’s wife, along with other family members will attend. North Wildwood Mayor Bill Henfey and former Mayor Aldo Palumbo will also be there. Morley's friends and fellow performers like Carmen Dee will also come to share stories of Morley's musical talent and sense of humor.

The public is invited to share their memories at that time. They are also welcome to bring flowers, photos, or memorabilia to place at Morley's statue.  

The audience, expected to number in the thousands, will be asked to sing Cape May County’s unofficial anthem “On The Way to Cape May,” which comedian-musician  Morley made famous in his nightclub act. The ceremony will take place at the life-sized statue of him on Olde New Jersey and Spruce avenues, where Morley’s Club Avalon once stood.

Many North Wildwood residents, as well as visitors from Philadelphia and along the Jersey Shore, remember enjoying Morley’s song-and-joke vaudeville act at his Club Avalon. Today, Club Avalon is gone, and Westy's Irish Pub stands on the spot at Olde New Jersey and Spruce avenues. There, a life-size statue of Morley stands outside, holding a microphone as though in the middle of a song.

Westy’s Irish Pub, is hosting the program along with the city of North Wildwood and the Mummers String Band Association.

The Duffy String Band, which makes North Wildwood its home, will accompany the chorus that is expected to be augmented, weather permitting, by the thousands who will attend that day’s annual string band parade. 

Morley once performed with the Fralinger and Quaker City string bands which finished first and second respectively in this year’s New Year’s Day parade in Philadelphia and will be among nine string bands that will parade in the North Wildwood event following the ceremony.

“We do not expect the Mormon Tabernacle Choir,” said city entertainment director Joe Quattrone who is arranging the program, “But we anticipate that our version will sing with the enthusiasm and dedication that the honoree deserves.”

Quattrone suggested that those who wish to speak at the program should call him at  374-0562 so their names can be included in the program. An informal jam session of Mummers musicians will precede the formal programming at 2 p.m.

Immediately following the tribute, Duffy String Band and the Philadelphia Mummers Chorus will perform, among other tunes, Morley’s signature song, “On the Way to Cape May.”

The Mummers Strut Contest will follow at approximately 4 p.m., where all are invited to compete. Then the parade, featuring the top nine String Bands from this year’s New Year’s Day Parade in Philadelphia, will march down Olde New Jersey Avenue.

Mummers String Band Saturday is sponsored by the city of North Wildwood and the Philadelphia Mummers String Band Association. Westy’s Irish Pub is hosting the Commemoration. For more information call (609) 374-0562.

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