By all accounts the 2016 Fourth of July weekend at the Jersey shore was a great one, beginning with wonderful weather, large crowds and businesses and beaches thriving.
In Asbury Park Beach Safety Supervisor Joe Bongiovanni could hardly contain his enthusiasm.
“It was great, we were mobbed every day,” he said.
Bongiovanni said all three days of the weekend were great as far as daily badges go, but Sunday, even though the weather was not optimum, was the best day of the three.
Bongiovanni did not have exact figures compared to last year, but said overall they did “way better.”
He estimated that badge sales brought in $160,000 for the three days.
Bongiovanni said seasonal sales have slowed down so the revenue was mostly from daily badges.
“We sold about 9000 dailies each day,” he said.
“For the fireworks, the boardwalk was packed,” he said. “The town was busting at the seams.”
Bongiovanni said the new beach badge app is starting to catch on slowly.
“When I saw people waiting in long lines, I reminded them (about the app),” he said.
He said there were no major incidents at the beach during the holiday weekend, just a few rescues and first aid calls.
“Nothing major,” he said.
At the Asbury Galleria, owner Kay Harris said, “It was a great weekend. The weather was in our favor, there were lots of people. Business was great, even though there are more businesses this year, we still did great.”
Harris said the only downside was the continuing problem of trying to find a parking space.
“If I left my space, when I came back I had to go a block from Main Street to find a spot,” she said.
Chamber of Commerce Director Jackie Pappas said, “It was a great weekend in Asbury Park. Although the rain showers Friday got us off to a slow start, most businesses reported a robust weekend with sales five to 10 percent above last year –a few businesses reported record sales.”
Pappas also said real estate figures indicate sales of predominantly second homes are rising with inventory in demand.
“We are looking forward to a a busy summer all over town packed with events,” she said.
Peter Mantas, Director of Entertainment at Langosta Lounge declared this Fourth of July the best.
“It was the best Fourth of July in Asbury Park yet. If Friday had been good it would have been a grand slam,” he said.
Mantas said all three days of the weekend were better than expected.
“The new Asbury is back!” he said.
In Bradley Beach, the weekend beach badge total was approximtely $103,000 for the three days.
Officials had not yet compared last year’s figures.
Chamber of Commerce President John Esposito, said, “I think it was a great weekend for Main Street and the beachfront.”
Esposito said there was a “massive” crowd for the fireworks.
“I know because there was traffic for two hours after the fireworks were over,” he said.
“Our Main Street was hustling and bustling and the restaurants were all jam packed. The outdoor cafes were great too,” he said.
Esposito owns The Beach Cinema and said his business did just OK.
“There was too much to do and the weather was too beautiful,” he said.
At the Buttered Biscuit on Main Street, manager Brendan Talbot said “This weekend was awesome. It was insane, a nice smooth weekend.”
Talbot said business has been increasing each summer for the cafe which opened five years ago.
“On Sunday we had a banner day, over 640 people,” he said.
Director of the Ocean Grove Chamber of Commerce, Rebecca Cavanaugh, said, “It was a beautiful, very busy weekend.
She said the owner of the town’s newest restaurant, DJ’s Delights on Main Avenue, told her “it was insane the whole weekend.”
“He just opened and it was the best welcome he could have,” she said.
Cavanaugh also said the parade on Monday drew great crowds.
“It was just lovely and we had the good weather,” she said.
In Avon, Borough Administrator Tim Gallagher said “It was good but not crazy.”
Gallagher said beach revenues were a bit higher than last year’s at $128,800.
Although the town didn’t hold its own fireworks display, singer Jimmy Byrnes performed Sunday night on the boardwalk near the pavilion.
“It was all good… a good weekend,” he said.