Thursday, March 26, 2015

WILD Weekend: Ocean Drive Marathon, a celebration of Special Olympics, and, oh yeah... MACK's Pizza!


It's hard to believe that we're about to enter the last weekend of March...

Yet, here we are - a mere 8 weeks away from Memorial Day Weekend and just one week out from Easter Weekend, and the "unofficial opening" of the Boardwalk for the 2015 season (which, of course, includes Opening Day at Mariner's Pier).

Signs of Spring are everywhere, as the island begins to come alive. More and more shops on the Boardwalk are beginning to open, while others are making their annual preparations.

Tomorrow (Friday) at 11 a.m., Mack's Pizza will open its doors to kick off it's 62nd season at Wildwood Avenue.

If that isn't a sure sign that Summer is right around the corner, we don't know what is!

Here's what else is going down this weekend in the 'Woods...

***************

Overview

* Mack's Pizza - Opening Weekend! (Friday - Sunday)
* Ocean Drive Marathon and Health & Fitness Expo (Saturday & Sunday)
* Special Olympics NJ Basketball Finals (Saturday & Sunday)

***************

Ocean Drive Marathon and Health & Fitness Expo

A Health & Fitness Expo will be held at the Wildwoods Convention Center on Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm in advance of the Ocean Drive Marathon the next day. Admission is open to the public and FREE.

The 26.2 mile marathon as well as a 10 mile run will start at 9 am on Sunday, and take place through the scenic barrier islands of Cape May County. A portion of the course will include the entire length of the Wildwoods Boardwalk.

Also included are a 5K run and a 1.5 mile fun run.

For more info, call 609-523-0880 or visit www.odmarathon.com.



Special Olympics NJ Basketball Finals

A two-day celebration will feature over 1,000 Special Olympics athletes from the Garden State competing in basketball competitions.

Multiple venues will take part, including the Wildwoods Convention Center, Crest Pier Recreation Center, Wildwood High School, Wildwood Catholic High School, North Wildwood Community Center, and the Byrne Community Center.

Events will be held Saturday from 10 am - 6 pm and Sunday from 9 am - 2 pm.

Admission is FREE to all games.

For more info, call 609-896-8000 or visit www.sonj.org.

Zip lines could be coming to the beach this summer

Beach "ziplining" has become popular in destinations like Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Around this time last year, there was talk that zip lines might be coming to the Wildwood beach. The subject has surfaced again, according to a report from 98.7 The Coast.

Should it happen, the area designated for this activity would most likely be adjacent to the Boardwalk, south of the Wildwoods Convention Center.

Early last month, we noted that zip lines were being planned as part of the Cape May County Zoo's "aerial adventure course," which is targeting an early Spring 2016 opening.

Of course, the zoo's ability to construct platforms that would allow users to "swing" from tree to tree is a luxury the beach wouldn't offer. Some sort of tower or other non-permanent structures would have to be implemented.

Zip lining, in general, has become a popular trend across the country.

Beach resort destinations that have launched successful zip line operations include Cabo San Lucas (pictured above) and Cozumel, Mexico, and Catalina Island, California.

A 750-foot zip line debuted at Venice Beach in Los Angeles two summers ago.

What do you think about this idea for Wildwood?

Is this something you would be excited about seeing and trying out?

Wildwood Business Improvement District awards grant to bring antique clock back to Downtown Wildwood


PRESS RELEASE

In conjunction with the Wildwood Business Improvement District's facade enhancement initiative in Downtown Wildwood, the WBID has given the Wildwood Historical Society the funding needed to install an antique clock in front of the George F. Boyer Museum at 3907 Pacific Avenue in Downtown Wildwood.

The "Center City Plaza" clock once stood at the corner of Atlantic & Oak Avenues, in front of the Casino Arcade that was located one block south of the Post Office.

The clock was in storage for 25 years until A.B.S. Sign Company picked it up last July and began donating their services to bring it back to working order.

When approached by Al Brannen of the Wildwood Historical Society about a grant to fund the clock project, John Donio, President of the WBID Board of Directors, enthusiastically supported the request, emphasizing the WBID's focus on improving the Downtown Wildwood Business District with the objective of attracting businesses and customers.

"The history of a community is important to today's travelers. They want to know that the place they are visiting has an authentic past that they can feel a part of. It's also important to local residents to feel that they are connected to their city's rich history. So, we felt it was vital for the Downtown Wildwood BID to fund this project," added Donio.

It is expected that the refurbishment and installation will be completed this Spring, in time for everyone to see as they visit Pacific Avenue this summer!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mayor Rosenello: Tram Car designs NOT changing; stock unit being used to test new engine components


We just got off the phone with North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello, who confirmed that the design for the Boardwalk's iconic Sightseer Tram Cars will NOT be changing.

Earlier today, a "stock vehicle" was seen pulling a Sightseer train along the promenade.

"This is a unit we bought, basically, off the shelf, for testing," Rosenello explained. "All we're doing is checking to see if the components of this unit work on the Boardwalk.

"Today was the first run with this. We're testing the motor, the battery, the turning radius, wheel base, and pulling power of the engine."

Told about concerns from our readers over the look of testing unit, Rosenello was actually delighted.

 "Honestly, it's great that people are so interested in it. It's great to see that people are so passionate about it and that they care so much. This is one of our great icons, and it's clearly loved by many, many people."

Test unit prowling the boards earlier today
Rosenello said that we may see the test unit make several runs before the Sightseer fleet launches for the season on Friday, May 1.

"What we're doing now is testing the mechanics. We had two tram engines go down at the end of last summer. They were out of commission for weeks because the parts were no longer available. We scoured the country looking for parts to get them up and running.

"At this point, we're looking at a scenario where we may have to start looking at reducing the fleet and cannibalizing some of the existing engines to keep the remaining ones going."

There are presently eight tram engines and eight trains in the Sightseer fleet. Two of the trains are new, entering their second season after being replicated last year.

"Watch the... wait, WHAT?!": Prototype Tram Car engine gets a test run


[UPDATE: Tram Cars NOT receiving makeover; stock unit being used for testing]

Original...

Signs of Spring are showing up all over the island, as businesses are in the process of preparing for the upcoming season.

However, we did not expect to see the Boardwalk's iconic Sightseer Tram Car out for a test run this early - with a different look than we're used to!

According to the equally-legendary John "Gigi" Gigiotti, the official Sightseer Ambassador, this tram was making a practice run with a brand new prototype engine.

The important word here is "prototype."

At this point, we don't know whether this is the intention for a permanent design or simply a sample vehicle to test a new engine. Our suspicion is the latter, but we'll follow up to be sure.

At any rate, how WEIRD does this look...?



Sunday, March 22, 2015

Morey's Spring Sale is ON!


Morey's Piers' annual SPRING SALE begins today and will run through April 10th.

This is Morey's second-biggest sale of the year, after the Holiday Sale, and brings with it some big-time savings just as we head into another season.

Pick up a Wild Pass (formerly Season Pass) for $315, slashed down from $450, or a Wild Pass Lite (for riders 42" or adults over 25) for $235, down from the regular price of $325.

Morey's is also offering, for the very first time, a "Forever Wild Pass" for guests 65 and old at an introductory rate of just $50!

Check out the Spring Sale savings page for more info on this, and additional savings on water park packs, Breakfast in the Sky, Mirror Maze, and Tram Car tickets, as well as gift cards.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

WILD Weekend: Spring Bridal Fair (...yes, we said "Spring!"), Greek Independence celebration, Passport Around the Word, and a trip back to the 80's...


A major mile marker on the road to summer has been passed, now that St. Patrick's Day is in the rear view mirror.

This loooong winter finally ends (technically, at least) with the Spring Equinox at 6:45 p.m. Friday evening.

In other words - We're gettin' there, folks!

While a potential mix of snow and rain is expected to hit the region Friday, the outlook for Saturday and Sunday looks good.

Here's what's going down this weekend in The 'Woods...

***************

Overview

* Men's Retreat - "Success That Matters" (Friday - Sunday)
* Greek Independence Day Celebration (Saturday)
* Passport Around the World (Saturday)
* Echo's 80s Night (Saturday)
* Spring Bridal Fair (Sunday)


***************

Spring Bridal Fair

The Wildwoods Convention Center will be a busy place this weekend, with the "main event" being the annual Spring Bridal Fair on Sunday afternoon. The showcase will be held from noon - 4 p.m. in the Oceanfront Exhibit Hall.

Brides-to-be will have the opportunity to meet with wedding professionals to find everything possible to create a dream wedding. A fashion show featuring the latest bridal fashions will take place from 1 - 2 p.m.

The fair will also include wedding vendors, including photographers, videographers, florists, salons and spas, honeymoon destinations, DJ's and entertainment, menu sampling, and more.

For more information call 609-465-7181 or visit www.wildwoodsnj.com/Bridal-Fair/


Echo's 80's Night

Bust out your high tops, acid wash jeans and neon colors as Echo's Bar (100 W. Walnut Ave.) will host its annual 80's Night on Saturday, starting at 8 p.m.

Admission is $15, with proceeds benefiting Wildwood Catholic High School.

Dance the night away with live music by Members Only. Prizes will be awarded for the best dressed.

For more info, see the event's Facebook page HERE.


Greek Independent Day Celebration

Greek Independence Day will be celebrated with a special ceremony and flag raising outside of the North Wildwood Recreation Center (900 Central Avenue) on Saturday afternoon at noon.

All are welcome to attend.


Passport Around the World

Girl Scouts will present displays for countries around the world at the Wildwoods Convention Center, from 1 - 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Travel from table to table and experience activities from different countries, such as crafts, games, songs, traditions, foods and beverages.

For more info, call 856-795-1560 or visit www.gscsnj.org.


Men's Retreat - "Success That Matters"

Living Faith Alliance Church presents a men's retreat at the Wildwoods Convention Center featuring various sessions, workshops, guest speakers, worship, and concert.

Session will be held Friday (2 - 8 p.m.), Saturday (8 a.m. - 9 p.m.) and Sunday (8 a.m. - 10 a.m.).

For more info, visit www.lfachurg.org.




Wildwood presents '70s Dance Party & Concert on April 25th


The City of Wildwood will host the first ever '70s Dance Party & Concert on Saturday, April 25 at the Wildwoods Convention Center.

The all-day festivities kick off with a '70s Street Fair at Fox Park, on Ocean Avenue between Burk & Montgomery, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The FREE family fair will feature food, crafts, merchandise, vendors and continues live entertainment.

The Dance Party & Concert will begin across the street at the Wildwoods Convention Center at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30.

Featured performers include Tavares, Evelyn Champagne King, MFSB, The Ritchie Family, Denise Montana, and Purple Reign.

Admission for bleacher and floor seating is $30; VIP seating is $40 (1st 5 rows).

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com, and can also be purchased at City Hall (4400 New Jersey Ave, Wildwood: Mon-Fri, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).

Tickets will also be available at the Convention Center Box Office the day of the show.

For more information call 609.522.2444 or visit www.WildwoodNJ.org.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Rita's returns to the Boardwalk this summer


After a 10-year absence, Rita's will make it's return to Wildwood this summer.

The new store will be located at 2912 Boardwalk; a grand opening date is expected to be announced soon.

The address 2912-2914 is the former location of the Wildwood Casino, which in recent years has been divided into three separate game stands. How much of that space the new Rita's will occupy remains to be seen.

Last year, this address was bordered by the Cook's Shoppe to the north and Boardwalk's Best Gift & Variety Store to the south (on the Glenwood corner).

Back on the Boardwalk for the first time since its previous location under the Shore Plaza Motel was lost to fire in December 2005, Rita's will be right in the middle of the action.

There it will find no shortage in competition, most notably going right up against the five TLC Polish Water Ice locations and four Dairy Queens on the boards.

Rita's also has a nearby shop offshore in Rio Grande (3905 Route 9 South), which is already open for the season.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Inaugural Wildwood Beer Fest comes to Fox Park, June 13th & 14th


When better than St. Patrick's Day to brew some conversation about another new event coming to the island this year - the inaugural Wildwood Beer Fest (Facebook / Official Website)!

The two-day event - June 13 & 14 - will be held at Fox Park, directly across from the Wildwoods Convention Center.

The official Facebook event page for the festival launched today, providing more information on what we can expect.

Here's what we've learned:

* The Wildwood Beer Fest will be "a beer tasting event to celebrate the art of localy brewed craft beer." Love the emphasis on local breweries!

* A ticket to the event will grant each guest access to over 100 brews, a commemorative tasting cup, live music, food and craft vendors. Beer sampling will be UNLIMITED with a ticket, food and merchandise available for purchase.

* The festival will be broken into three separate sessions (two on Saturday, June 13 and one on Sunday, June 14). A ticket will allow entrance into a specific timed session - guests will only be permitted to attend one of the three sessions.

* The event (all three sessions) will be held, RAIN or SHINE.

* Tickets are available through Eventbrite.

ALL attendees must be 21 or over to enter the festival grounds and be able to present valid ID.

For more info, call 609-729-8870 or email juli@wildwoodbeerfest.com.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Greater Wildwoods Tourism & Development Authority (GWTIDA) Wins 2015 New Jersey Tourism Excellence Award


PRESS RELEASE

WILDWOOD – The Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority (GWTIDA) received a 2015 New Jersey Tourism Excellence Award for Advertising from the New Jersey Tourism Industry Association (NJTIA) at this year’s New Jersey Conference on Tourism held at the Golden Nugget Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.

John Siciliano, executive director of GWTIDA, accepted the award along with Ben Rose, director of marketing and public relations for GWTIDA, during the March 12 conference.

“The Wildwoods are richly deserving of this prestigious award,” said Sharon Franz, President of the New Jersey Tourism Industry Association. “The Wildwoods’ innovative campaigns continue to draw millions of visitors, which in turn, contributes greatly to the economic prosperity of our great state,” she explained.

The 2014 advertising campaign, ‘Can’t Stop This Feeling!', was created by Signature Communications of Philadelphia, GWTIDA’s agency of record, and targeted women 25 – 54, encouraging them to choose the Wildwoods for their family vacation.

The campaign communicates the strong feelings and fun emotions evoked by the idea of enjoying the beach, boardwalk, events and endless activities and entertainment offered in the Wildwoods. 


 The 2014 campaign evolved from the successful 2012-2013 advertising campaign that asked visitors, ‘What do you love about the Wildwoods?’ and received an overwhelming positive response. 

“People are emotionally connected to the Wildwoods. The ‘Can’t Stop This Feeling!’ campaign captures that emotion and nostalgia,” explained John Siciliano, executive director of the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority (GWTIDA). 

“Whether you love the boardwalk, shopping, food, miles of free beaches or any of the other fun offerings in the Wildwoods, there is an emotional and generational connection unique to the Wildwoods that’s undeniable,” he added.

NJTIA advocates for enhanced government support for tourism in the state by educating elected and appointed officials on the industry, its economic benefit to the state and the role that those employed by and for the industry add to the quality of life for every citizen of NJ. 


The Tourism Excellence Awards recognize the accomplishments of those who achieve true excellence in providing an exceptional experience that enhances tourism across New Jersey.

“We received thousands of posts from actual visitors telling us what they love about the Wildwoods, and there was a consistent overall theme to their message: that the Wildwoods evoked a strong emotional connection and created lasting family memories for them. It just seemed like a natural progression into this campaign that we felt truly resonated with our visitors,” said Ben Rose, GWTIDA director of marketing and public relations. 

For more information about the Wildwoods, visit www.WildwoodsNJ.com or call 800-992-9732.

The Wildwood Collection - "A reflection & celebration of this wacky small town" - brings summer to your home!


We've gotten to know David Macomber over the past two years through his work at [artBOX] on Morey's Adventure Pier, where he is a resident artist.

This "offseason," Macomber has been weaving his creative magic on a number of projects, including The Wildwood Collection - a series of artworks, clothing and home goods that, well... we decided to ask the Cape May County native for his own description:

"The Wildwood Collection is more than a souvenir, it's a reflection and celebration of this wacky small town," he told Wildwood 365.

"The last two summers, I've worked on the Boardwalk listening to visitors share their loving memories of Wildwood. The designs I am creating are re-telling those memories in a fresh and clever way."

Themes of summer fun, family vacations, and nostalgia leap from the pieces we've seen thus far.

There is also more than a hint of adventure (as in works depicting Morey's attractions such as the Great White) and mystery (movie poster art-like previews of the upcoming re-envisioning of KONG) in play.

While The Wildwood Collection will not officially launch until summer, the initial series of prints is now available for purchase at  

* Take 10 percent off of any order AND get free shipping using coupon code WILDWOOD365 !

"Eventually, The Wildwood Collection will include prints, posters, mugs, clothing and housewares," said Macomber. "The Wildwood Collection will be featured in all three of the Morey's Piers shops, including the new KONG & Co. at Surfside Pier and the [artBOX] gallery shop.

"We're coming out of a brutal winter and I wanted to share some hope for the warmth of summer. As Memorial Day draws near, I will be adding products weekly to give everyone the opportunity to 'Bring Summer home and hang it on your wall!'"


Friday, March 13, 2015

Signage goes up as Old City Pub prepares for opening


Signage is going up tonight at the Old City Pub (Atlantic & Wildwood Aves), the reincarnated and renovated Tucker's Pub (2000-2014).

Old City is listed as a participant in tomorrow's Erin Express Pub Crawl, and last we hear was on target to be open for the event, which runs from 6:30 p.m - 12 midnight.

As noted earlier this week, the building has a long history, dating back to the early 1900's as the Wildwood Title & Trust Company.

We're looking forward to our first visit to the "OCP" and wish the owner and staff all the best as the newest entry (or re-entry) to Wildwood's bar/restaurant/entertainment scene.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

WILD Weekend: St. Paddy's Celebration in the Wildwoods!


The Wildwoods will turn GREEN this weekend (well, more so than usual) as the island celebrates St. Patrick's Day and the spirit of the Irish!

Taps will be flowing, much merriment will be had, and live entertainment is scheduled at many of Wildwood and North Wildwood's bars, restaurants and nightspots.

The weekend's "main event" is North Wildwood's annual St. Patrick's Day Celebration & Parade on Saturday, March 14.

Festivities begin with a ceremony on the steps of North Wildwood City Hall (10th & Atlantic Aves) at 11:30 a.m.

This will be followed by the parade, which will step off from this location at noon and proceed north along Atlantic Avenue to Olde New Jersey Avenue.

U.S. Army veteran Kevin McCloskey of Northeast Philly will serve as this year's Grand Marshal.

Check out the flyer at right (click for larger view) for a list of some of the parade's participants.

The event is FREE to the public. For more information, call 609-522-2955 or visit www.northwildwood.com

* UPDATE from North Wildwood Recreation & Tourism: North Wildwood's St. Patrick's Day Celebration for Saturday, March 14th is still ON at this time! In the case of inclement weather, a decision will be made at 6 a.m. Saturday morning as to whether the ceremony will take place on the steps of North Wildwood City Hall or be moved indoors to the Recreation Center. A decision will also be made at that time about the Parade and will be posted on here. Stay tuned for further details! For further information, call 609-522-2955.

 ***************


Saturday will also feature the 14th Annual Erin Express Pub Crawl, hosted by Coastal Broadcasting.

Buses will run on a loop, stopping at 10 participating establishments from 6:30 p.m. to 12 midnight. Wristbands can be purchased at any of the bars on the tour for $5.

Starting locations are Mulligan's, Goodnight Irene's and Westy's.

For more info, visit www.coastalbroadcasting.com/erinexpress.

River otter spotted at North Wildwood Inlet


UPDATE - 7:05 PM: Thanks to those who wrote in to inform that sea otters (which we originally identified the marine mammal in these photos as) are native to the North Pacific Ocean. This guy, it turns out, is a North American River Otter. You really can learn something new everyday!   - Al

The warmer weather this week, that unmistakable scent of freshness and the hard-to-describe "lightness" in the air - oh yeah, there's no doubt that Spring is on its way.

Mother Nature is mysterious and we are entering into perhaps the most unpredictable time of year; but the birds are singing, flowers are beginning to bloom, and it just feels like we've turned a corner, doesn't it?

And yesterday, our friend Jodie DiEduardo spotted an otter frolicking in along the seawall in North Wildwood Inlet!

Whether THIS is indicative of the coming of a new season or not, we don't know. 

But... IT. IS. AWESOME.

Sea otters have been seen in this area from time to time in the past. I was fortunate enough to see one playing in this exact area late last Spring, but wasn't able to get a picture.

If anyone happens to have photos or further info on where these beautiful creatures come from, what their habits are, or any additional info, we'd be most appreciative.

Keep your eyes open, everyone. You never know what you'll see in the Wildwoods!

Thanks again, Jodie, for sharing these great captures with us...