How you can keep summer going at the Jersey Shore
In many New Jerseyans' minds, summer ended with the passing of Labor Day. But if you took a trip to Seaside Heights this past weekend, you'd see that couldn't be further from the truth.
The sand was packed for the borough's two-day Wine on the Beach Festival. At the same time, the summer stage was rocking with bands covering tunes of the Eagles and Bee Gees.
Many municipalities and businesses along the Jersey Shore plan to make the most of the "postseason" — a season that doesn't always need to end come mid or late October.
"The shoulder seasons are really a great opportunity for us and tourism communities along the coast," said Denise Beckson, director of operations and human resources at Morey's Piers in Wildwood. "It's some of the best weather of the year."
Morey's has events planned through Columbus Day — the most notable being an Oktoberfest celebration of everything German, running three weekends starting Sept. 22. "Bier on the pier," specially-themed menus, kids activities and live entertainment will take over Mariner's Pier. Ride wristbands are available for purchase as well.
According to Beckson, this time of year presents some staffing difficulties, but they get by with local help and college students from abroad whose summer work travel visas are still in effect.
Off the boards, the Wildwoods have a jam-packed calendar of events. The Seafood & Musical Festival on Oct. 7 turns Atlantic Avenue into a rock venue with food vendors, crafts and games. A fall harvest farmer's market hits downtown Wildwood each weekend from Sept. 16 through October.
Seaside Heights Mayor Tony Vaz said his borough stretches the season out as much as possible not only for financial reasons, but to strengthen the rebirth of the community as a family-friendly destination.
If the weather cooperates, an estimated 40,000 visitors could converge on the Boulevard for Seaside Heights' Columbus Day parade Oct. 8, Vaz said. An Italian street festival runs all weekend.
The borough has its own Oktoberfest celebration planned for Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. The main strip will be closed extensively as a walking boulevard.
"I would say the majority of people that have secondary homes do not close them until the end of November," Vaz said.
But the fun continues into the colder months. A tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 8 is scheduled to include an appearance from Santa Claus via helicopter, Santacon meets at Hooks Bar on Dec. 16, and a family celebration wraps up with 5 p.m. fireworks on New Year's Eve.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.