It’s one of the many overlooked special things about New Jersey that help us forget the Housewives and Snooki.
For the 73rd year on Sun., Sept. 4 at 2 p.m., following a brief bagpiper procession on the boardwalk, more than 10 pounds of vegetable-based dye will be released into the ocean in Allenhurst temporarily turning the water bright emerald green and permanently creating great memories for all attendees.
Over the last few years, the ocean dye has seen record attendance, become the ceremonial end to the “official” summer season and received national attention from media outlets around the country. This year the Today Show is planning to feature images from the event.
“We are happy to continue the ocean dye for the community,” said Gail Matarazzo, the third generation of the ocean dye organizers and Oakhurst resident. “The joy on the children’s faces is what keeps us going. My grandfather could never have imagined what it has turned in to. He would be incredibly happy to see the beach so crowded and everyone excited and enjoying themselves.”
In 1943, Matarazzo’s grandfather, Bob Fountain, owner of Bubble Land amusements in Asbury Park dropped extra dye in the ocean on Labor Day to celebrate his daughter’s birthday. Today, his granddaughters Matarazzo and Joan Desmarais continue the tradition, the longest tradition of its kind (Chicago’s river dye began in 1961). Through the decades, legend has evolved into a dip in the bright green Allenhurst water is good luck until next summer.
“It’s the coolest thing ever,” said John Butler, Interlaken Borough Councilman, realtor with O’Brien Realty and manager of @Interlaken_NJ on Instagram. “You really have to see it to believe it. The ocean turns bright neon green and everyone jumps in. I swim in the green water for good luck. It’s such a fun day and always makes me feel lucky thinking about the great summer we just enjoyed at the beach with friends and family. It’s something so special.”
Anyone can view the ocean dye from the Allenhurst boardwalk or from oceanfront locations in Deal. Jumping in the ocean requires a daily beach pass, purchased at the station on the northernmost section of the boardwalk.