Here Come the Tents with Summer Close Behind

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By DON STINE

The annual summer tents were set up in Ocean Grove this week  and officials are also hoping to have the beaches open for Memorial Day weekend.

“We have been in contact with all tenters and people will be moving in as they feel comfortable doing so. But we are expecting a full tent colony this summer,” Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association President Michael Badger said earlier this week.

There are 114 tents and people can move in on June 1. Normally, tenters could move in on May 15 but this year things are running a bit late and the move-in date is two weeks later, or June 1. Normally, tenters had to be out by Sept. 15.

“But we are thinking about extending the move-out date by two weeks,” Badger said.

Tents started going up May 7.

Badger said that news about the Covid-19 virus in New Jersey “can look a little frightening.” It has the second-highest virus rate after New York.

“Local residents are concerned more about other people coming into town but we feel the tenters don’t pose a risk,” he said.

And the beach is expected to be open.

“We have every expectation that our beach will be open by Memorial Day,” Badger said.

He said Ocean Grove, like other shore towns, are awaiting new executive orders from Gov. Murphy to see what restrictions will be imposed.

“But we are putting our beach staff and lifeguards together,” he said.

The OGCMA is holding weekly meeting to deal with issues that the Corvid19 virus poses.

“We are holding virtual meetings and are looking at plans for the entire summer,” Badger said.

There will be no Neptune High School graduation ceremony at the Great Auditorium for seniors.

Sunday services in the Great Auditorium will be live-streamed for now and monetary collections taken online. Badger said determinations about events will be made as new executive orders are issued by Gov. Murphy and as the summer season progresses.

“Whatever the new requirements are, we are prepared for a variety of contingencies and will be able to shift gears in the middle of the season,” he said.

Last year’s Choir Festival is being rebroadcast and this year’s festival has been moved to Aug. 30. College interns who work with young people over the summer will still come in but work with smaller groups. The Chamber of Commerce has cancelled its popular spring flea market. The annual New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police law enforcement memorial service was also cancelled this year.

As far as the annual July 4 Parade, Badger said it is too early to call that yet.

“It’s too early to make a decision but we don’t want to cancel it. And we will probably bring it back if the governor relaxes Covid-19 regulations,” he said.

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