Summer's events are Shore big

DAVID M WARREN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Air Force Thunderbirds fly over sunners at the A.C. Airshow.
DAVID M WARREN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Air Force Thunderbirds fly over sunners at the A.C. Airshow.
Posted: May 16, 2014

LET'S face it. When it comes to summer at the Jersey Shore, man (and woman and child) doesn't live by sand, sun and surf alone - not to mention boardwalks, casinos and bars.

There must be even more to keep one's attention focused (and, in some cases, their wallets open). And so it is that in addition to more personal pursuits - from getting a suntan to hitting a big slot-machine jackpot - Shore towns offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy large-scale, public, often multiday events. Whether your interest is jazz, blues or country music, barbecue, film, wildly decorated boats, aerial acrobatics or celebrating ethnic pride, the Shore has it covered between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Below is a look at some of the noteworthy events on the books this season:

May-June

Exit 0 International Jazz Festival (May 30-June 1; Cape May).

More than 100 musicians - performing jazz, blues and R&B - comprise this year's edition of the 3-year-old, three-day musical orgy. It's patterned after European fests at which fans enjoy performances at a variety of venues - including the Cape May Convention Center, where the headliners are Dee Dee Bridgewater (May 30), Roy Hargrove (May 31) and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band (June 1).

New this year is "Jazz at the Estate." Set at the historic Emlen Physick Estate, the series offers six hours of music each of the festival's three days.

Information/tickets: exit0jazzfestival. com.

Lighthouse International Film Festival (June 5-8; Long Beach Island).

Celebrating its sixth year, the LIFF is, according to its mission statement, "dedicated to showcasing new and innovative films and fostering the next generation of filmmakers." Among the planned activities are "films, panels, Q&As, networking, parties and surfing."

The opening-night feature will be "This Time Next Year," directed by Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman. It's a filmed-on-LBI documentary about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the storm's short- and long-term effects on the residents there.

Information/tickets: lighthousefilmfestival.org.

North Wildwood Original Italian-American Festival (North Wildwood; June 27-29).

Arts and crafts vendors, entertainers, meatball relay races and, of course, plenty of food to mangia are among the draws at this annual celebration of all things Italian-American that takes place along Olde New Jersey Avenue. The grand marshal of this year's event is WIP (94.1 FM) morning host Angelo Cataldi.

Information: 609-536-0176; wildwoodsnj.com.

July

Night in Venice Boat Parade (July 26, Ocean City).

Billed as the oldest continuous Jersey Shore celebration, the "Night in Venice" flotilla - which takes place on the bay between Tennessee Avenue and the Longport Bridge - will mark its 60th anniversary this year (although its roots trace back to the beginning of the 20th century). The free event is the red-letter day on OC's summer calendar, as dozens of boat owners deck their craft out in all manner of wild, weird and wacky decorations. And it's even better if you can score an invitation to one of the many parties hosted by bayfront homeowners.

Information: 609-525-9300; ocnj.com.

New Jersey State BBQ Championship/Anglesea Blues Festival (July 11-13; North Wildwood).

If there is a better summertime combination than blues and barbecue, we've yet to hear about it.

This year's B&B bash is centered at 2nd and Olde New Jersey avenues (site of the free Main Stage concerts), with performances also scheduled for bars and clubs in the surrounding neighborhood.

And, of course, there'll be plenty of ribs, wings, pulled pork and other off-the-grill munchies available, along with a variety of beverages (adult and otherwise) to complete your meal and help get you in the mood for some blues.

Information: njbbq.com; angleseablues.com.

Blake Shelton (July 31, Atlantic City).

The country superstar and coach on "The Voice" performs at the first of two-in-four-days free megaconcerts on the AyCee beach (the stage will be on the west side of the Pier Shops at Caesars). The concert marks the beginning of a shift by those charged with resort marketing from an advertising-based strategy to one that emphasizes large-scale public events.

Info: atlanticcitynj.com.

August

Lady Antebellum (Aug. 3; Atlantic City).

The Nashville hits keep coming on the strand as the chart-topping country trio hits the beach for a freebie.

Atlantic City Airshow (Aug. 13; Atlantic City).

Known as "Thunder Over the Boardwalk," the largest (attendancewise) of all Shore megaevents is welcoming back the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds after military budget cuts caused by sequestration kept the high-flying daredevils out of last year's daylong exhibition. The famed squadron had been an integral part of the show since its creation in 2003. Also back is the mid-August date (last year's exhibition took place in late June).

Hundreds of thousands of spectators are again expected to line the beach and boardwalk to watch high-tech and vintage aircraft go through maneuvers as they scream overhead.

Info: facebook.com/AirshowAC.


On Twitter: @chuckdarrow

Blog: philly.com/Casinotes

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