It was a busy Memorial Day weekend for Ocean Grove’s Caroll DeRocco.
Participation in events honoring fallen military veterans, the Atlantic Wind Ensemble concert at the Great Auditorium, Sunday morning religious services on the Boardwalk, her children participating in the parade, Bradley Beach’s annual festival and, in Asbury Park, Yappy Hour for dogs at the Wonder Bar and fireworks.
The traditional beginning of the summer season at the Jersey Shore rocketed in with sunny skies and bustling activity.
“I love the beginning of summer,” said DeRocco, 51. “I love we begin (by) honoring those that have fallen. We did something everyday. There’ so many fun things that happen (in summer).”
This Memorial Day Weekend, the weather cooperated.
“The sun was out all three days,” said Neptune Township Clerk Richard J. Cuttrell, the township’s official meteorologist.
On Memorial Day, though, it got cool on the beach in the afternoon, Cuttrell said.
“Right on the beach, we had a persistent sea breeze,” Cuttrell said. “A whole different story on the beach compared to inland. It was in the 60s on the beach. It got gusty and cool. Not a beach day.”
Gary Giberson, Asbury Park’s beach manager, also noted the cool Monday at the beach. But Giberson said the city beach did an estimated $120,000 in business, or a combination of daily and season badge sales — “close to what we did last year.”
“We had a fabulous weekend,” Giberson said. “Very nice crowd, everybody seemed to enjoy themselves. The other nice thing is we didn’t have any serious first aid (incident).”
Both the beach and the Boardwalk were crowded, Giberson said. Translated, it appeared good for both beach and business.
“The general consensus of the restaurants was business was as good as last year or up,” said Brenda Connolly, president of the Bradley Beach Chamber of Commerce.
At Clancy’s Tavern in Neptune, owner Ed Kelly said, “The nights were very good, the days were OK — It was outside, beach weather. All the outside bars did fabulous. It was a rough winter, who wants to stay inside?”
A winter with constant cold temperatures, snow and ice. On Wednesday morning, it was warm just a mile or so inland, but at the beach, it was about 65 degrees and breezy, making it chilly.
“We really want it to be summer — spring or summer,” said DeRocco, wearing shorts but with a sweatshirt Wednesday morning on the Ocean Grove boardwalk. “It was a long winter.”
Yet, people were out on the boardwalks and oceanfronts.
Lexi Smith, 16, of Neptune City and Julia Adams, 19, of Neptune fought off the Wednesday morning coolness and ate breakfast on the beach at Avon.
“I think July’s the best, the weather’s always nice,” Smith said.
Adams has a trick, get to the beach about 8:30 a.m. — “Before the bennies all get here,” she said.
Bennies and traffic are drawbacks of summer, according to Adams.
“The bennies aren’t the best,” Smith said. “I feel they do whatever they want.”
This year, because of the way the calendar falls, Memorial Day was it its earliest, May 25, and Labor Day, the traditional end of summer, is at its latest, Sept. 7. This happens about once a decade, Cuttrell said. Because of this, the summer season gets an extra two weeks.
The extended summer “certainly” helps, Kelly said. Wait until children are out of school, meaning families can more easily vacation at the Shore, Kelly said.
Now, the ocean temperature is in the mid-50s., Cuttrell said.
“You have to have a real strong constitution to get in that water,” Cuttrell said.
Around the Fourth of July, the ocean will get up to the mid to upper 60s, creating swimming conditions, Cuttrell said. The ocean temperature peaks in late August, when it gets in the low 70s, he said.
“Seventy three to 74 is (about) best we can hope for,” Cuttrell said.
Summer is here.
“The weekend was outstanding,” Connolly said. “The weather really brought a lot of people to Bradley Beach. Traffic was bustling.”