Think Woodstock. Now, think Beachstock. A day full of live music, food and drink - a scaled-down version of the iconic '60s music festival - meets beach games, surfing, volleyball and sand sculpting in a Margate party so big, organizers only half-jokingly bill it as "the planet's biggest beach party."
"From 10 in the morning when we have Zumba on the beach, to 10 at night when we're running around putting all the tables away … it's really a great day for Margate," says Ed Berger, president of the Margate Business Association, the organizer behind Beachstock. "There's great food, cold beer and a tremendous amount of stuff for the kids. It's just a monster beach party."
The organizers behind Margate's annual Beachstock are confident that the nearly 10,000 people who flock to Granville Avenue beach this Saturday will not be disappointed in what they describe as a day of "tides, tunes and togetherness."
Nearly 9,000 people attended last year's Beachstock, Berger says. With a schedule full of new activities and even more live entertainment, organizers hope to see even more attendees.
The daylong event begins with Zumba on the beach from 10 to 11 a.m. The live entertainment on the 100.7 WZXL-FM Main Stage kicks off immediately after, when the WZXL/Bud Light Battle of the Bands finalists will compete from noon until 4 p.m. The winner will receive $1,000 cash and studio time from Buck London Productions.
The band competition will be followed by a 95.1 WAYV-FM DJ playing "dancing on the sand" songs from 4 to 5 p.m. The day's headliner, popular reggae band Sons of Jah, will take the stage at 5 p.m.
The rest of the day offers an obstacle for everyone - potato sack races, hula hoop and water balloon contests, tug of war and tire flipping - even volleyball, bocce ball and shuffleboard.
The Atlantic County Healthy Living Coalition will be providing free skin cancer screenings from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the Margate Police Department will be offering their free Ident-A-Kid service for children.
Food and beer gardens and vendor booths also will be open all day. Once the sun goes down, attendees can grab a beach chair to watch the Oscar-winning film Avatar on the beach.
With the exception of food, beverages and face painting, all Beachstock activities are free. No beach tags are needed at the fairgrounds.
"For me, I just love this event," Berger says. "To me, Beachstock truly does give Margate the opportunity to show off the two best benefits we have - the beautiful beaches and the wonderful people."
Children's activities will include a treasure hunt, sand sculpting, free surf lessons from Stacey's Surf Camp, sack races and what is described as "the biggest outdoor shower on the planet" every 30 minutes, courtesy of the Margate Fire Department.
The 95.1 WAYV Children's Stage will include live entertainment and additional kids' activities.
Margate resident Janet McCarron has watched Beachstock grow over the past three years. As a local business owner, she has seen firsthand what the event does for the community, she says.
"It offers everything for kids," says McCarron, who owns a preschool and daycare center in Margate.
"You're on the beach, and there are so many activities to take advantage of. It is very well spread out. Everybody wants family activities, and this is really family friendly."
To more easily navigate parking for Beachstock, Jitney shuttles will be running through the city from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday.
"The Jitneys will run all along (Atlantic) Avenue with multiple stops," Berger says. "People can just flag down a Jitney and it will take them to Beachstock."
Berger says if this year's party is anything like last year's, the Jitneys will be busy.
"People come for a great, chilled-out day to listen to the music," Berger says. "If you ever want to get a handle on what Margate is like, just come to Beachstock."