Ocean City events

DOO DAH PARADE, EGG HUNT AND MR. MATURE AMERICA PAGEANT ON SATURDAY

Ocean City welcomes spring and celebrates humor on Saturday (April 8, 2017) with three inimitable events: the Doo Dah Parade, the Great Egg Hunt and the Mr. Mature America Pageant.

Hundreds of basset hounds provide a grand finale to the Doo Dah Parade in their annual “Board Waddle.”

Regis Philbin will be grand marshal for the 32nd annual Doo Dah Parade, which starts at noon Saturday. A massive Egg Hunt for children ages 7 and under takes place on the beach between 11th Street and 14th Street at 2:30 p.m. Philbin returns Saturday evening to host the fourth an­nual Mr. Mature Pageant at 7 p.m. on the Ocean City Music Pier.

Pageant tickets ($25 to $35) are still available at oceancityvacation.com/ boxoffice, by calling 609-399-6111, or in-person at the City Hall Welcome Cen­ter or the Roy Gillian Welcome Center on the Route 52 causeway. They also will be available at the Music Pier Box Office on the evening of the event.

MAYHEM, BANDS AND BASSETS HIGHLIGHT DOO DAH PARADE – EGG HUNT FOLLOWS

The Doo Dah Parade was first held in Ocean City in 1986 as an event to herald the end of income tax season. It’s also a traditional start to the season of special events in Ocean City. The route has al­ways been the same. The parade starts on Asbury Avenue at Sixth Street, proceeds to 12th Street and turns east to the Board­walk. It concludes in front of the Music Pier at Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace.

For more than a decade, the pa­rade has been anchored by hundreds of dogs from the Basset Hound Rescue League. This year’s parade lineup also will include the University of Pennsylvania Pep Band, the Hobo Band, the Atlantic City Fire Depart­ment Sandpipers and marching bands from Pleasantville High School and Ocean City High School. The Cres­cent Shriners will drive their minia­ture clown cars.

The Pie-asco follows the Doo Dah Parade in front of the Ocean City Music Pier.

Emcees will announce parade en­tries at two separate viewing areas: in front of City Hall (Ninth Street and Asbury Avenue) and in front of the Ocean City Music Pier (Boardwalk at Moorlyn Terrace). Dietz and Watson returns as a sponsor for the event.

The Pie-asco – which invites all parade-goers to smoosh a friend or loved one with a shaving-cream pie – follows the parade and goes off in front of the Music Pier.

The Basset Hound Olympics will be held on the practice field adjacent to Ocean City High School (just off the Boardwalk at Sixth Street) after the Pie-asco. The hilarious event fea­tures the ear-flapping hounds com­peting in sprints, hurdles, high-jumps and obstacles. As event founder Mark Soifer always put it: “Most then flop down for a nap.”

The first of two Great Egg Hunts on the beach starts promptly at 2:30 p.m. Saturday (April 8). Thousands and thousands of eggs will be placed in areas of the beach between 11th Street and 14th Street. Age cate­gories include: 2-and-under (at 11th Street), 3 years old (at 11th Street), 4 years old (at 12th Street), 5 years old (at 12th Street), 6 and 7 years old (at 13th Street). Rain date is April 9. The second Egg Hunt is scheduled for Saturday, April 15. For more infor­mation, visit www.oceancityvacation. com or call 1-800-BEACH-NJ.

Philbin will serve as emcee for the Mr. Mature America Pageant, Ocean City’s tribute to men ages 55 and older, on Saturday evening.

The pageant opens with a rau­cous production number featuring the debonair (and fully covered by Medicare) array of contestants. It in­cludes competition in talent, judge’s interview, poise and appearance, and on-stage question. Philbin will conduct the on-stage interviews with contestants.

This year’s hopefuls include:

  • Rich LaLena: A 60-year-old singer from Berlin, N.J., who has served as the “town crier” for the N.J. League of Municipalities.
  • William Andrew Dowling: A 65-year-old Christopher Walken fan from Ventnor who will read his self-authored poetry.
  • Frank Formica: A third-gener­ation owner of the famed Atlantic City bakery and an Atlantic County freeholder, 65, who will sing and play guitar.
  • Jack Byrne: An 88-year-old co­median from Cherry Hill and Ocean City
  • Matthew Allen: A 64-year-old singer from Newtown, Pa., whose brother was an astronaut on three space shuttle missions.
  • Jay Keally: A storyteller in an elf outfit, 58, from Ocean City.
  • Joseph Stefano: An 85-year-old saxophonist from Ocean City.
  • Tom Troncone: A 64-year-old from Pennsauken, N.J., who will take the stage with his voice, a microphone and a pair of 40-pound dumbbells.
  • James Rago: A 69-year-old co­median from Linwood, N.J.
  • Gregg Clayton: A 58-year-old guitarist and singer from Somers Point, N.J., who will perform “The Purple People Eater.”

The event is the first and only pageant of its kind in the United States. The historic Flanders  Hotel returns as a founding sponsor.

Celebrity judges will include Miss New Jersey Brenna Weick, QVC on-air host Bethanie Lori, and Jack McDade, who was Dick Clark’s first musical guest on “American Band­stand” in the 1950s. McDade will perform as part of the show.

Mark Soifer, the founder of the pageant and of many other special events in Ocean City, will be hon­ored with a “Lifetime Achievement Award.” Soifer retired at the end of 2016 at the age of 84, after a 45-year career as public relations director for the city.

MORE SPRING EVENTS

EDIBLE BOOK FESTIVAL (April 5): Book lovers and food lovers are invited to come see and vote on entries in a contest that includes food creations that play on book titles. Voting is from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with sampling of the treats until 3 p.m. Call 609-399-2434, ext. 5222 for more information and to register an entry.

OC POPS BRASS (April 7): The first in a series of concerts featuring Ocean City Pops members includes the OC Pops Brass. Free admission to the 7 p.m. performance at the Ocean City Free Public Library.

THE GREAT EGG HUNT (April 15): The second of two egg hunts on the beach between 11th and 14th streets. Starts at 2:30 p.m.

EASTER SUNRISE SERVICE (April 16): Traditional nondenomi­national service starts at 6:30 a.m. on the Ocean City Music Pier.

EASTER FASHION PROME­NADE (April 16): Judging begins at 1 p.m. in front of the Ocean City Music Pier. The Philly Keys, a dueling piano show, will start at noon.