Easter fashions parade on Ocean City's boardwalk

Posted: April 22, 2014

With temperatures in the low 50s and winds at a brisk 14 m.p.h., it wasn't exactly prime beach weather. But families enthusiastically turned out Sunday afternoon on the boardwalk in Ocean City, N.J., for the annual Easter Fashion Promenade.

There was tradition to uphold, after all - and prizes to win.

Charlene Oldfield-Porreca, 60, a lifelong Ocean City resident, suggested the event wasn't quite what it used to be. Then again, the 1970s were a special time.

That's when she modeled what she described on Sunday as her favorite Easter outfit: a purple velvet pantsuit with go-go boots. It earned her the prize for best-dressed female.

This year, Oldfield-Porreca walked the boards in a cream suit and scarf.

"Hopefully, I'll win," she said. "But if not, it's the experience." As it turned out, she was not among the winners.

Judges combed the crowd at 1 p.m. for contestants, who then took to the stage in front of the Music Pier at Moorlyn Terrace. Miss Ocean City 2014 Carley DelSordo judged at what was her first promenade.

Other categories included best-dressed male, best bonnet, most unusual bonnet, and best-dressed family.

"As you can tell, it's all about the hat for me," said DelSordo, 19, of Ocean City, a student at St. Joseph's University, referring to her pink Juliet cap. She paired it with nude peep-toe pumps and a white peacoat. "I can guarantee I'll be back next year."

Among the contestants with experience was Dave Garbutt, 61, of Linwood, who proudly boasted: "We've done it every year for the last five years."

This year, his purple shirt and pink tie under a beige suit jacket brought him the title of best-dressed male adult.

Not to be outdone, teen winner Jonathan Mullin, 18, of Warrington, accessorized with white gloves, a cane, and top hat. A student at Messiah College, he regularly attends the promenade with his family. His cousin Victoria Bowman, 7, also of Warrington, took home the title of most unusual bonnet.

Bowman designed the hat - a Barbie beach party scene complete with sand, umbrellas, suntan lotion, and, of course, bathing suits - with help from her mother, Kara.

"We just adjusted their dresses into bathing suits," explained Kara Bowman, 37.

The best bonnet prize went to 16-month-old Reese Marie Barnstead of West Deptford, for her yellow, daisy-adorned hat. The infant won a glass trophy, which most definitely won't be available as a play toy, said her mother, Tara, 36.

"It's staying in the Shore house," she said of the family's Ocean City getaway.

For the Phillips clan of Philadelphia, who this year won best-dressed family, Ocean City's promenade is not the only competition.

"We do it every year in Ocean City, in Atlantic City, in Philadelphia," said matriarch Marie Campanile, 71, who won for best-dressed female adult. "This is my 50th Easter parade," Campanile said while holding tight to her wide-brim white hat with pink ribbon so the wind couldn't take it.

Michael Hartman, artistic director of the Greater Ocean City Theater Company, served as emcee for the contest.

"For someone who doesn't have kids, and who doesn't have brothers or sisters nearby, it's great to have that family tradition," said Hartman, 34, clad in a gray suit, white shirt, and striped tie.


abrust@phillynews.com

301-503-5429

@ameliabrust

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