Bobby Rydell honored at Wildwood’s summer kickoff

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Bobby Rydell, left, was honored at Wildwood’s Unlocking of the Ocean ceremony on May 23. Here, he waves to the crowd while North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello and Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano join him. Bobby Rydell, left, was honored at Wildwood’s Unlocking of the Ocean ceremony on May 23. Here, he waves to the crowd while North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello and Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano join him. WILDWOOD—The Wildwoods kicked off the summer of 2014 by honoring Bobby Rydell, the man who made the song “Wildwood Days” famous, on May 23. 

A huge mural of Rydell on the Monster Truck Building at Roberts Avenue was unveiled and “Wildwood Days” was named the official song of the city of Wildwood by Mayor Ernie Troiano and Commissioners Pete Byron and Tony Leonetti. The unveiling was held in conjunction with the annual Unlocking of the Ocean ceremony.

Rydell said that when he was growing up in South Philadelphia, Wildwood was a second home.

“When you said you were going to the shore, the shore meant Wildwood,” Rydell told the crowd. “There was no other place.”

He recalled days spent at the beach and nights spent at the Starlight Ballroom, and performed an improtu version of “Under the Boardwalk.” He then admitted that some of his favorite memories of the shore happened there, to roars of laughter from the crowd.

Troiano said that although Rydell grew up in South Philadelphia, he was considered a “son of Wildwood.”
“We truly honored to have you here today,” Troiano said.

The mural of Rydell is the first in a planned series of murals that will be dedicated to Wildwood icons around the island. They will feature key individuals or local treasures that have contributed to Wildwood’s history and culture.

John Siciliano, executive director of the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority, said that Rydell was the best choice for the first mural.

“We had no trouble deciding what we would do first,” he said.

So far, a second mural subject and location have not been chosen.

North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello said he remembered being a child and sitting outside of Moore’s Inlet, a North Wildwood nightclub and restaurant, and listening to Rydell perform.

“It really has been the theme song of this island for generations,” Rosenello said of “Wildwood Days.”

Email Christie Rotondo at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or comment on this story at thewildwoodleader.com.

 


Local dignitaries and Bobby Rydell, center, “unlock” the ocean for summer 2014. Local dignitaries and Bobby Rydell, center, “unlock” the ocean for summer 2014.

Local dignitaries and Bobby Rydell, center, “unlock” the ocean for summer 2014.


North Wildwood Mayor Pat Rosenello flies a kite as part of the International Kite Festival, held on Wildwood’s beach. North Wildwood Mayor Pat Rosenello flies a kite as part of the International Kite Festival, held on Wildwood’s beach.

North Wildwood Mayor Pat Rosenello flies a kite as part of the International Kite Festival, held on Wildwood’s beach.


Wildwood Commissioner Pete Byron presents a proclamation from the borough West Wildwood to Bobby Rydell. Wildwood Commissioner Pete Byron presents a proclamation from the borough West Wildwood to Bobby Rydell.

Wildwood Commissioner Pete Byron presents a proclamation from the borough West Wildwood to Bobby Rydell.


The first Wildwood Icon wall mural, which depicts Bobby Rydell, was unveiled at Friday’s unlocking ceremony. The first Wildwood Icon wall mural, which depicts Bobby Rydell, was unveiled at Friday’s unlocking ceremony.

The first Wildwood Icon wall mural, which depicts Bobby Rydell, was unveiled at Friday’s unlocking ceremony.


Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano presents Bobby Rydell with a proclamation, declaring “Wildwood Days” as the city’s official song.   Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano presents Bobby Rydell with a proclamation, declaring “Wildwood Days” as the city’s official song.

Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano presents Bobby Rydell with a proclamation, declaring “Wildwood Days” as the city’s official song.


Local school kids filled the bleachers at Friday’s unlocking. Local school kids filled the bleachers at Friday’s unlocking.

Local school kids filled the bleachers at Friday’s unlocking.


Kites, like this giant scuba diver, filled Wildwood’s beaches Friday. Kites, like this giant scuba diver, filled Wildwood’s beaches Friday.

Kites, like this giant scuba diver, filled Wildwood’s beaches Friday.


Dana Shaw, a second grade student at Cape Trinity Catholic, runs to get her kite in the air. Dana Shaw, a second grade student at Cape Trinity Catholic, runs to get her kite in the air.

Dana Shaw, a second grade student at Cape Trinity Catholic, runs to get her kite in the air.


Sireyana Springer, Ashley Vargas, Harley Buscham and Jorge Cruz, all second grade students at Glenwood Avenue Elementary, pose with their kites. Sireyana Springer, Ashley Vargas, Harley Buscham and Jorge Cruz, all second grade students at Glenwood Avenue Elementary, pose with their kites.

Sireyana Springer, Ashley Vargas, Harley Buscham and Jorge Cruz, all second grade students at Glenwood Avenue Elementary, pose with their kites.


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