SoBar: Pop-Up Parties in a Sober Environment

When you’re looking for entertainment options and the opportunity to meet new people, where do you go? The bars and clubs are good options, but not always viable ones for people who don’t drink, either by choice or necessity, or simply don’t want to socialize in those types of establishments. Fortunately for Ocean City residents and visitors, a new option has emerged, thanks to the ingenious efforts of local resident Ashley Crooks.

As a licensed therapist and owner of Counseling by the Sea, Ashley came up with the idea to create a sober socializing experience and opportunity for those who wanted to enjoy a night out without alcohol being a factor. As a result, the concept of soBar was born!

SoBar Inaugural Event

SoBar comes in the form of a monthly pop-up party at different locations in Ocean City and surrounding towns. The inaugural soBar event recently took place at Jon & Patty’s on February 19. For a $10 cover charge, guests enjoyed the sounds of live music from Originaire and food and mocktails created by the team at Jon & Patty’s. As for upcoming soBar pop-ups, two are on the schedule and include:

“As someone who doesn’t drink, and who works with a ton of people who struggle with social anxiety as well as don’t drink, I wanted to provide a safe space for people to enjoy a night out, meet new people, and have fun without alcohol,” states Ashley. “I also wanted to expand on the movement of overall wellness and wellbeing in learning how to have fun without mood-altering substances.”

And soBar is for everyone. You don’t have to be living an exclusively sober life to take part in all that soBar has to offer. It’s just requested that you come to the events sober and enjoy this alcohol-free experience.

soBar is hoping to turn the pop-up experience into a permanent location. But, for now, follow the soBar event calendar via the website or Facebook page and see what new events pop up each month and where they’ll be held.

Take conversation and entertainment to a whole new level. Attend an upcoming soBar event and see what a night out without the alcohol holds for you.

Photo credit: soBar

Don’t Miss the Market Madness Shopping Event at The Flanders Hotel on March 7

On Saturday, March 7, over 40 vendors from Ocean City will fill The Flanders Hotel, offering their must-have products for sale.

The Market Madness event is hosted by the Boardwalk Merchants Association and Downtown Merchants Association and will take place from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. From your favorite Asbury Avenue shop to your go-to boardwalk vendor, you’ll find something for everyone at Market Madness. Store owners will be selling their products as well as offering discounts and deals you won’t want to miss.

Free parking is yours for the taking, and food will be available for purchase when you need to recharge during your shopping spree.

Gather your friends together and head over to The Flanders Hotel on March 7 for this not-to-be-missed event!

Save the Date: Girls Weekend 2020 in Downtown Ocean City

With only 100 days left to go until Memorial Day, it’s a good time to talk about springtime Ocean City events. One popular event that brings in the crowds each year is the Girls Weekend event. This year’s Girls Weekend will unfold April 3–5 and include offerings such as a fashion show, shopping deals, hotel packages, dining options, and more.

Here are some events being held during Girls Weekend 2020:

Fashion Show Kickoff Event (April 3)

The Girls Weekend Fashion Show has been so popular in prior years that it’s being moved to a new, larger location this year. Purchase your tickets and reserve a seat for the fashion show taking place at PLAAY Fitness and Yoga at 910 Asbury Avenue. The show will start at 7 p.m. and feature a display of fashions available at local Ocean City boutiques.

The cost is $20 per person and includes light bites offered by local restaurants during the event. Tickets are required to attend, and this show sells out each year, so be sure to get your tickets early. Tickets can be purchased online and at various area locations, including the Route 52 Causeway Welcome Center, City Hall Welcome Center, Ta-Dah (1040 Asbury Ave.), Making Waves (836 Asbury Ave.), 7th Street Surf Shop (720 Asbury Ave.), and the Sneaker Shop (704 Asbury Ave.).

Accommodation Deals and Packages for Girls Weekend 2020

Many local hotels and B&Bs will offer special deals and lodging packages for Girls Weekend 2020. Here are some of the latest deals being offered:

  • The Flanders Hotel: Reserve a stay for the night of Friday, April 3, or Saturday, April 4, and receive the following: early check-in with complimentary gift upon arrival; overnight stay in a deluxe one-bedroom suite; a 30-minute leg and foot massage or 30-minute mini-facial with free product samples from Divine Images Salon and Spa; a coupon for 10% off at The Shoppes at Flanders; breakfast in Emily’s Ocean Room; and, late check-out. The cost is $169 per person plus tax and gratuity (cost based on double occupancy).
  • Port-O-Call: Enjoy a two-night stay at the Port-O-Call for Girls Weekend 2020. The package includes two-night deluxe accommodations, dinner at a local restaurant, breakfast both mornings at Adelene, and your choice of a relaxing spa service including a 25-minute facial provided by a local salon, 25-minute massage by Blue Garden Wellness (6th floor of the hotel), or manicure or mini-pedicure provided by a local salon. Prices start at $295 per person (based on double occupancy; includes taxes and hotel dining gratuity).
  • Northwood Inn Bed and Breakfast: Stay for two nights and get the second night 50% off. Plus, enjoy complimentary pizza and drinks on Friday night.
  • Biscayne Suites: Enjoy two nights of accommodations for $239 plus tax and you’ll also have access to a late 6 p.m. checkout, so you can fully take advantage of the entire weekend. Just mention “Girls Weekend” when calling for reservations.
  • Inn the Gardens Bed and Breakfast: Book your Girls Weekend stay and you’ll get $25 off the second night at Inn the Gardens Bed and Breakfast.
  • Ocean City Mansion: Book your April 3–5 stay and receive two complimentary beach tags for the summer of 2020. Just mention “Girls Weekend” when calling to reserve your room.
  • Impala Island Inn: Stay at the Impala Island Inn for $160 for the weekend, plus tax. Just mention “Girls Weekend” to snag this deal!
  • Wild Dunes Inn: Book a weekend stay at the Wild Dunes Inn for $190 for the weekend, plus tax. You’ll be able to get this deal when you mention “Girls Weekend” when reserving.

Shopping Deals, Exercise Classes, and More!

Besides the Girls Weekend Fashion Show and fabulous lodging deals, Girls Weekend 2020 attendees will enjoy extraordinary sales at local shops and boutiques, dining specials at local restaurants, exercise classes, spa specials, craft projects and demos, and so much more!

Keep checking back to OCNJ Happenings Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages for additional information as Girls Weekend 2020 draws closer and make your reservations today!

Ring in the New Year in Ocean City

With 2019 coming to a close and 2020 on the horizon, it’s time to finish the current year on a good note and start the new year out right. With all of the Ocean City festivities taking place on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, this is an easy goal to accomplish! Check out the following happenings taking place in Ocean City on New Year’s Eve as well as on the first day of the new year:

First Night Ocean City on New Year’s Eve

Microphone Pixabay

First Night Ocean City provides fun for the entire family from 4 p.m.–midnight at different locations throughout the town. Purchase a button ($20 each) and gain access to an expansive array of exciting events and activities, including the following:

  • Ice skating at the Civic Center
  • Imagination Movers concert at the Music Pier
  • Inflatables at the Civic Center
  • Open swim at the Aquatic and Fitness Center
  • Open house at the Ocean City Historical Museum
  • Mentalist Dan Cain at the Ocean City Senior Center
  • The Duprees with the Ocean City POPS at The Tabernacle
  • Fireworks at midnight
  • And so much more!

There’s still time to purchase your buttons and take part in this festive Ocean City celebration to ring in the new year!

New Year’s Day Fun

OCNJ Beach April 1 2019 (800x600)

Once 2020 hits, the activities roll on in Ocean City. Here’s what’s happening on New Year’s Day:

  • 2020 First Day Ocean City Run/Walk
  • Beach Polar Plunge on the beach next to the Music Pier at 2 p.m. (free but participants must sign a waiver at the Music Pier before participating)

Plus, you can do some shopping and dining at the open shops and restaurants throughout town during this time. Some are closed for the season and the holiday, but here are some of the spots that will be open for this popular time period:

May you have an exciting New Year’s Eve and Happy New Year to you all!

 

Things to See and Do in Ocean City This Holiday Season

December is in full swing which means the holiday season is underway. If you’re looking for events to attend and things to do in Ocean City, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from in each and every category! Here’s a list of things to see and do in Ocean City this month:

Holiday Festival at the Ocean City Library (Dec. 8)

Christmas Tree Pixabay

The annual Holiday Festival unfolds at the Ocean City Free Public Library today, Sunday, December 8, at 1 p.m. Enjoy the Christmas tree lighting display, refreshments, live music, holiday crafts, and a visit from Santa!

Countdown to Christmas Deals at B&B (Dec. 8 & 9)

If you’re a B&B Reward cardholder, you can take advantage of fabulous sales during the Countdown to Christmas event at B&B on Sunday, December 8, and Monday, December 9. Reward cardholders will receive specific discounts depending on the amount they spend.

Holiday Dinner at the Soma Supper Club (Dec. 15)

Don’t miss the final Soma Cafe dinner of the year! The holiday dinner will be held on Sunday, December 15, and you can enjoy a delicious four-course meal for $35 per person. Seating is limited so be sure to make your reservations ASAP by emailing somacafeoc@gmail.com.

Free Horse and Carriage Rides (Saturdays and Sundays)

Horse

Get into the holiday spirit by enjoying free horse and carriage rides on Saturdays and Sundays in December. The rides will take place starting at City Hall on the following days/times:

  • Sunday, December 8: Noon–3 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 14: 8–11 a.m.
  • Sunday, December 15: Noon–3 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 21: Noon–3 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 22: Noon–3 p.m.

Greater Ocean City Theatre Company Shows (Various Dates)

The Greater Ocean City Theatre Company is putting on a few shows this month. The ticketed events take place at the Music Pier and include the following:

  • Lights, Camera, Christmas!: December 13 at 7:30 p.m.; December 14 at 2 p.m.; December 20 at 7:30 p.m.; December 21 at 7:30 p.m.; December 22 at 2 p.m.
  • Frozen, Jr.: December 14 at 7:30 p.m.; December 15 at 2 p.m.

Purchase your tickets online today and attend these exciting shows while supporting our local theater company.

Photos with Santa (Saturdays and Sundays)

Bring the whole family to the boardwalk on Saturdays and Sundays this month for photos with the big guy! Get your photo taken with Santa at the Music Pier from noon–3 p.m. on the following days:

  • Sunday, December 8
  • Saturday, December 14
  • Sunday, December 15
  • Saturday, December 21
  • Sunday, December 22

The cost is $10 per photo.

Holiday Book Sale (Dec. 13 & 14)

Put a smile on the faces of all of your gift recipients by giving them a book this year. During the Holiday Book Sale at the Ocean City Free Public Library, you can kick your gift buying into high gear. The event takes place on Friday, December 13, from 10 a.m.–6 p.m., and Saturday, December 14, from 9 a.m.–2 p.m.

Breakfast with Santa (Saturdays and Sundays)

Combine two wonderful things into one during the Breakfast with Santa event: good food and dining with Santa! The event is held at different restaurants from 8–11 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday prior to Christmas and the lineup includes the following:

  • Saturday, December 14: Arlene’s on Asbury
  • Sunday, December 15: Sunrise Cafe
  • Saturday, December 21: Yianni’s Cafe
  • Sunday, December 22: Jon and Patty’s Coffee Bar and Bistro

 

Fun and Fellowship Will Fill the Afternoon at Island Fall Fest (Oct. 26)

Local churches will join forces on Saturday, October 26, from 2–4 p.m., to host Island Fall Fest.

The Ocean City Tabernacle, Coastal Christian, First Presbyterian, and St. Peter’s United Methodist invite the community to come together for this spectacular family-friendly event on the Ocean City Tabernacle grounds.

Pumpkin Faces Pixabay

This free community event will include a wide array of kid’s activities and family entertainment such as trunk-or-treat, a video game truck, giveaways, face painting, and more. Delicious food offerings will also be available, including hamburgers, hot dogs, cotton candy, and even some sweet treats from Kona Ice.

Don’t miss this fun afternoon of fellowship with members of the Ocean City community!

 

Adult-Themed Halloween Fun in Ocean City and on the Mainland

Halloween is a fun and exciting holiday for the kids but who’s to say that the adults can’t have fun, too? There are quite a few adult-oriented Halloween events taking place this October in Ocean City and on the mainland. From beer festivals to Halloween fundraisers, you’ll have plenty to choose from in your quest for seasonal fun.

Witch Craft Beer and Spirits Festival (Oct. 19)

The all-new Witch Craft Beer and Spirits Festival on Saturday, October 19, from 6–10 p.m., at Lake Lenape Park East in Hamilton Township is sure to be a hit with the libations-loving crowd. For $45 per person, guests will enjoy an evening filled with beer and spirits samplings from more than 50 vendors. In addition, attendees can fill their night with a live seance, cider donuts, horror makeup seminars, pumpkin carving, and more. On-site parking will be available for $5 per car. Tickets are now available online.

Cocktails Pixabay

2019 Ocean City Theatre Company Halloween Party (Oct. 25)

The Greater Ocean City Theatre Company will be hosting its annual Halloween Party on Friday, October 25, at the Ocean City Yacht Club. The Halloween Party will unfold from 7–11 p.m. and feature music by DJ Christian Chin, open bar courtesy of DiOrios and a late-night breakfast buffet. The cost to attend is $75 and the deadline to purchase tickets is October 22. Contact the Greater Ocean City Theatre Company to purchase your tickets to this fabulous fundraising event.

Ex Bar Halloween Party (Oct. 25)

The Ex Bar at The Exchange in Linwood will be bringing the Halloween spirit out in full force on Friday, October 25. Guests are encouraged to come in costume and get in the running to be named best dressed of the evening. Sip Tito’s Handmade Vodka cocktails for $7 each and enjoyed Halloween-themed fun starting at 7 p.m.

Either Way Halloween at Josie Kelly’s (Oct. 26)

Josie Kelly’s in Somers Point will be hosting its Either Way Halloween Party on Saturday, October 26, from 9 p.m.–midnight in the Adare Ballroom. The costume party will feature live 80’s music by the Either Way Band and prizes will be awarded for the best costumes. Drink specials will be available throughout the night.

Don’t miss out on these spectacular evenings for the adult crowd in Ocean City and on the mainland!

 

Excellent Ways to Embrace the Halloween Spirit in Ocean City

With Halloween just a few weeks away, you may be wondering how you can embrace the spirit of the holiday in Ocean City. Whether you’re looking for activities to enjoy with the kids or seeking out entertainment options for the adults, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from in Ocean City.

Ocean City Ghost Tours

The Ghost Tour of Ocean City provides an excellent way to get in the spirit of the spooky season. Based on the book, Ghost Stories of Ocean City, NJ, the Ghost Tour of Ocean City takes guests on a candlelight walking tour of Ocean City where stories of ghosts and unexplained occurrences fill the evening.

The tours are held every Friday and Saturday night in October, in addition to tours on Mischief Night and Halloween, and depart from 9th Street and Asbury Avenue. The cost is $18 per adult/kids 13+; $12 for children ages 4–12. You can find out more about these spine-tingling ghost tours and purchase tickets on the Ghost Tour of Ocean City website.

Fall Brunch Featuring Discussion About the Jersey Devil (Oct. 20)

If you’re from New Jersey or well-versed in the folklore of the area, you are certain to be familiar with the story of the Jersey Devil. On Sunday, October 20, at 12:30 p.m., attend the Ocean City Historical Museum‘s Fall Fundraising Brunch at Clancy’s by the Bay in Somers Point. The guest speaker will be Galloway Township historian Ken Sooy who will entertain and inform the crowd with the myths and legends that exist regarding the Jersey Devil.

Guests will be treated to a brunch buffet during the event. Tickets are now available at the Ocean City Historical Museum for $28 for museum members and $32 for all other guests.

Halloween Parade (Oct. 24)

Halloween Hippy Costume Pixabay.jpg

Every October, Ocean City residents and visitors put on their most creative costumes to attend and participate in the Ocean City Halloween Parade along Asbury Avenue. This year, the 72nd Annual Halloween Parade, sponsored by the Exchange Club of Ocean City, will take place on Thursday, October 24, from 7:15–8:15 p.m. between 6th and 11th Streets.

Parade-goers will enjoy floats, marching bands, costumed participants, and so much more! Those who register and participate in the parade will be judged and have the opportunity to win prizes if they rank in the top spots for their individual event category.

 

Things to Know About the 2019 Ocean City Fall Block Party

In just a few days, the 2019 Ocean City Fall Block Party will be in full swing. As you prepare to shop and dine the day away, here are some things you should know about one of the most popular Ocean City events of year:

When and Where?

The 2019 Ocean City Fall Block Party will take place on Saturday, October 12, from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., along Asbury Avenue between 5th Street and 14th Street. This is a rain-or-shine event and free to attend.

OC Block Party Attendees (450x800)

What Types of Vendors Will Be on Hand?

The vendors you’ll find at this year’s Ocean City Fall Block Party will be selling handcrafted items, clothing, home decor items, jewelry, artwork, bath and body products, holiday decor, and so much more.

Will There Be Food Available for Purchase?

You bet! In addition to being an event for shopping options galore, the Ocean City Fall Block Party is the prime location to grab all of your favorite food items. From soups to sandwiches to pizza to baked goods, no matter what you crave for refueling in between vendor table stops, you’re likely to find it at this year’s Block Party. Food will be offered at individual vendors along Asbury Avenue as well as at the local restaurants.

OC Block Party Pita

Will There Be Live Entertainment?

Absolutely! Live entertainment will be unfolding along Asbury Avenue throughout the day. Look for the following live entertainment to unfold on Saturday:

  • Tidal Wave Band (10th Street)
  • Pennsport String Band (13th Street)
  • Cast of The Marvelous Wonderettes (City Hall)
  • And more!

What Else is There to Do?

If you’re looking for even more reasons to attend the 2019 Ocean City Fall Block Party in addition to shopping and dining, there are other activities taking place throughout the day and evening, including the following:

  • Pony rides at the Ocean City Tabernacle during the event hours (6th Street and Asbury Avenue)
  • Fireworks display over the ocean by the Ocean City Music Pier at 9 p.m.

OC Block Party Clothing (450x800)

Where Can I Park?

I’m not going to lie. The city gets a bit crowded during this popular event but don’t worry, parking is definitely doable. And, best of all, parking is free at all metered spots and municipal parking lots, including the Transportation Center lot (9th Street and Haven Avenue), 700 block of Central Avenue lot, and 800 block of Central Avenue lot.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

The main thing to keep in mind is that you will likely leave with a lot of new purchases, so make sure you can carry everything. There are plenty of big items to purchase along the Block Party route, so be certain to have a game plan in place for how much you can carry and where you’re going to put it when you buy it. With so many fabulous vendors and unique items, your shopping bags will definitely fill up quickly at this year’s Ocean City Fall Block Party!

 

 

Fundraising, Fitness, and Food Events to Unfold in Ocean City This Weekend

The shoulder season in Ocean City is spectacular for so many reasons. Not only is the weather beyond gorgeous but the events which fill the calendar are impressive, to say the least. This weekend is no exception. From a fundraising walk to a fundraiser festival, you’ll have plenty to do in Ocean City the weekend of September 28-29.

Health, Fitness, and Wellness Expo (September 28)

It’s the perfect time to start thinking about getting healthy and with the helpful advice you’ll gather at the free Health, Fitness, and Wellness Expo on Saturday, September 28, you’ll be well on your way to healthy living. The expo takes place from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at the Ocean City Sports and Civic Center, located at 6th Street and Boardwalk. More than 30 vendors will be at the event offering helpful advice, information, and more. Plus, there will be fun and healthy activities, including Zumba, ballroom dancing, and other exciting events.

Walk for the Wounded (September 28)

The Walk for the Wounded is held to raise funds and awareness for Operation First Response, a nonprofit organization which aids wounded military members and veterans by helping these heroes and their families with emotional and financial needs. This walk will take place on Saturday, September 28, with registration at 8:30 a.m., speeches at 9:30 a.m., and the walk kicking off at 10 a.m. Find all of the details here.

Ocean City Chili and Chowder Festival (September 28)

Love chili? Love chowder? Well, you’re going to adore the Ocean City Chili and Chowder Festival taking place on the Music Pier at noon following the Walk for the Wounded event on Saturday, September 28. In addition to unlimited samplings of chili and chowder prepared by the members of the Ocean City Restaurant Association, you’ll be able to vote for the best firehouse chili prepared by firefighters from the three Ocean City fire stations in this friendly battle for the best culinary dish. The cost is $15 per adult and $5 per child. All of the finer details can be found in the recent OCNJ Happenings article.

Ocean City Half Marathon (September 29)

Runners take your mark and get ready for the Ocean City Half Marathon on Sunday, September 29. This will be the 10th year for the Ocean City Half Marathon where participants will hit the ground running at 8:30 a.m., including those taking part in the 10-mile walk/run. The event will also include a 5-kilometer race. Event registration is still open, so if you would like to enter the competition and have yet to sign up, you can do so until 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 26. You can find all of the details online.

Whether walking, running, or dining for a great cause, make sure you spend the upcoming weekend in Ocean City!