It has been several months now since my family returned from a fabulous eight day stay in the Wildwoods. Right about now would be a good time for readers to circle this in for a 2017 visit.

Home to more than 180 special events and festivals throughout the year, some might consider the Wildwoods the “Events Capital of the East Coast.” They take place at various locations throughout the island’s three distinct municipalities: Wildwood, Wildwood Crest and North Wildwood. Visitors can find an event happening nearly every day of the week throughout the summer at locations including the Wildwoods Convention Center, Fox Park, Olde New Jersey Avenue and on the beach and world-famous Wildwoods Boardwalk.

Spring is the time when the outdoor fun starts rolling in the Wildwoods, with events like the Boardwalk Classic Car Show, Easter Weekend and the one-of-a-kind Sensational Spring Weekend taking place. These events get the year started off right and help set the tone for the rest of summer.

Once Memorial Day hits, the summer really starts heating up. The Wildwoods host their annual International Kite Festival (the largest such event in North America), National Marbles Tournament, Wildwoods Baby Parade, New Jersey State Barbeque Championships, the Anglesea Blues Festival and spectacular 4th of July Weekend. Traditional events like these attract hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the country every summer.

Also taking place almost every weekend throughout the summer on the five-mile island are block parties, craft shows, conventions and many festivals. A wide variety of free concerts and live entertainment can also be found almost every single night of the week throughout the summer, including spectacular, free Friday Night Fireworks and free live concerts featuring national recording artists, oldies groups, dance and big band music.

Best of all, the fun doesn’t end in the Wildwoods once September comes around. The Wildwoods’ “Second Season” starts up after Labor Day Weekend, offering visitors a host of events every weekend through the end of October.

Wildwoods

The Sightseer Tram Cars are a great way to circulate through the boardwalk.

There’s a little something for everyone on the Wildwoods Calendar of Events: Roller Derby, MMA, WWE Live and the Harlem Globetrotters for sports lovers; monster trucks, car shows and motorcycle rallies for auto enthusiasts; Comic, Sports Card, Toy, Postcard and Stamp Expos for collectors; a Barbeque and Blues Festival, Seafood and Music Festival and Italian and Irish Festivals for music and food lovers; and events like International Kite Festival and National Marbles Tournament for families. The best part about all of the Wildwoods’ events is that they are open to everyone to come and enjoy – and most of them are free to attend.

There is a lot to do here and it all starts at The Wildwoods Boardwalk, often called “two miles of smiles.” Here you will find spectacular amusement piers, world-class roller coasters, interactive waterparks, family atmosphere, carnival-style games of chance, shops and irresistible food. Imagine, nearly nine million visitors are attracted here each season. We just loved the atmosphere.

Since its birth as a mere 150-yard stretch of boards in the 1890s, the Wildwoods Boardwalk has always been the center of activity. It offers pure sensory overload with over 100 rides and attractions (more than Disneyland) ranging from world-class roller coasters and wet ‘n wild waterparks to carnival-style midway games, flashing arcades and a myriad of retail shops and eateries (more than the Mall of America).

The Boardwalk features Morey’s Piers (www.moreyspiers.com), containing three action-packed amusement piers. Another of the Boardwalk’s most popular attractions is the Sightseer Tram Cars (www.watchthetramcarplease.com/tramcar), the source of one of the most familiar quotes to any visitor to the Jersey Shore and the Wildwoods Boardwalk: “Watch the Tram Car, Please,” transporting visitors from one end of the famous wooden way to the other. A nominal fare provides seating on the Tram Car and transports visitors to their desired destinations along the Boardwalk, running a continuous loop from Cresse Avenue on the Wildwood/Wildwood Crest border to 16th Street in North Wildwood. We very much appreciated this service, having secured a booklet of tickets, which costs $50. You can get on and off where you wish. There are also bracelets available for $6 a day. Individual rides cost $3. This was so convenient for our family as we got on just steps away from our amazing hotel, the Adventurer Ocean Inn, and simply got off at the Boardwalk stop we desired.

We love to play mini-golf. Our chosen course in Wildwood was the Black Light Mini Golf: Dragon’s Lair Mini Golf (www.dragonslairminigolf.com) on the Boardwalk. It was a lot of fun and only $5 per person for 10 holes. You can play rain or shine in this glow in the dark indoor facility, open 10 am to midnight daily.

The Wildwoods Calendar of Events is available online at www.WildwoodsNJ.com or by calling 1-800-WW-BY-SEA (800) 992-9732.

Mike Cohen’s e-mail address is info@mikecohen.ca. Follow his travels at www.sandboxworld.com/travel and @mikecohencsl

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