Banner Weekend at the Shore

By JOANNE PAPAIANNI and MATT ENGEL

It was all smiles over the Memorial Day holiday weekend as blue skies and warm temps translated into hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for shore municipalities.

In Asbury Park beach revenues more than doubled last year’s with a grand total of $250,000 collected over the three-day period, said Beach Utility Manager Gary Giberson.

Last year which was marred by two rainy days only brought in $88,833.

“We had a crazy good weekend,” Giberson said. “We had a super day on Sunday, bracketed by two good days.”

“We were totally jammed with people on the beach and boardwalk,” he said. “We had a hard time moving our equipment around the people to perform our maintenance.”       

The totals were $52,654 on Saturday, $141,236 on Sunday  and $55,250 on Monday.

Giberson said there were no water related problems but one person had to be transported to the hospital. Several people had heat exhaustion and were cooled off and hydrated by first aid members.

Giberson also said there were about a half dozen “lost parents” who were located and reunited with their children.

“We had the kids, it was the parents who were lost,” he said.

Giberson said even with the large influx of beachgoers on Sunday the beaches were cleaned, groomed and the trash barrels were empty by Monday morning.

“It was a great weekend. There were a lot of people but it was one of those happy challenges. I’m looking forward to a great season. We have a great brand, all we need is the sun.”

In Bradley Beach daily beach badge sales for the Saturday-Monday period were up 329 percent over the same three days in 2018 – $64,199 vs $14,967  

“From our parade on Saturday to the three-day Festival at the beachfront to the Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, all these events saw record crowds,” saiid Mayor Gary Engelstad. “Our Memorial Day Committee, our Police, Public Works, Office staff, beach operations and tourism all worked together to ensure that our 2019 beach season got off to a phenomenal start.  We are extremely pleased with our seasonal kick-off.”

In Ocean Township it was a good weekend to go to the Ocean Township Pool Club, on West Park Avenue, or play a round of golf at the William F. Larkin Golf Course at Colonial Terrace.

“Things went very well and it was a beautiful weekend. We were pleasantly crowded at the pool and everyone seemed to have a good time,” Recreation Director Judi Johnson said.

Johnson said that weather is always the most important factor in the success of outdoor recreation but that it was good last week.

“The weather really cooperated. There were three very sunny days, with Sunday being very hot,” she said.

A $605,000 project was completed last year that redid the wading pool and installed about seven water activity features. The pool facility now has a main pool, a diving pool, a wading pool for young children, and tennis courts.

The nine-hole William F. Larkin Golf Course also did very well over the weekend.

“It was a great weekend there, too. The weather was perfect for pool or golf,” Johnson said.

In Ocean Grove business owners were pleased with the weather.

“This town attracts a lot of people during the summer, and Memorial Day is the beginning of the summer,” said Toni Schneider, an employee at Comfort Zone.

Schneider said that Comfort Zone, a gift shop located on Main Avenue, is popular with visitors because of its unique items. Some of those items include nightshirts, Galleria rain capes and handbags and umbrellas from Cambodia with fair trade value.

“People have said that they have seen our handbags and Galleria umbrellas in museum gift shops,” Schneider said.

The good weather also bringing people to restaurants like The Starving Artist at Days, a café located on 47 Olin St.. Manager Mike Zimmerman said the increased amount of people on the beach led to booming business during the weekend.

“We had a full staff and everyone in their positions,” Zimmerman said. “As long as everyone is in their place, we had a good, smooth weekend.”

Arnold Teixeira, owner of The Starving Artist at Days, said that the café hopes to keep everything at the same pace this summer. While the specials will be kept fresh from week to week, other parts of the café will be kept traditional as a tribute to Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium celebrating its 150th anniversary.

“In four more years, we’ll do a big blowout for our 25th anniversary,” Teixeira said.

Susan Morris, who owns the cheese shop Cheese on Main, located on 53 Main Ave., also said that her business had excellent results during Memorial Day weekend. She added that people in the area love sitting on their porches to have wine and cheese.”

“Mostly it is the holiday, but we have been discovered in Ocean Grove,” Morris said.

Libby Raftery-Triolo, a sales clerk at The Hub in Ocean Grove, said the Christian store located on 27 Pilgrim Pathway will be adjusting its hours to be open all week, including Sundays. Raftery-Triolo said that business was very successful during Memorial Day weekend and that she looked forward to it continuing throughout the summer.

“The weather is what brought business to all of us,” she said.

Visitors to Ocean Grove also enjoyed a special Memorial Day concert at the Great Auditorium on Saturday night, where the Atlantic Wind Ensemble performed for the audience free of charge.

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