'Planet's biggest beach party' returns to Margate

Matt Deibert of Smithville works on the main sand sculpture for Beachstock in 2012.

Ben Fogletto

MARGATE — The sign at the hooping ground tent said its hula hoops “quiet the mind” and “rejuvenate the spirit.”

All 10-year-old Isabella Zanghi knew was that the hula hoops made her smile.

“They’re fun,” the Rumson Avenue resident said as she balanced the hoop at her waste, about to join in a group dance.

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Ed Berger would have loved to hear Isabella say the word fun, because that’s all he wanted for the thousands of people who were at Beachstock 2013 on Saturday.

Berger and the Margate Business Association helped start the event, which is billed as the world’s biggest beach party, four years ago. The goal was to take a small, city-run beach party and turn it into a major event that would attract residents and visitors from all walks of life.

“We have stuff for all ages,” he said.

The 12-hour event lasts well into the night, ending with a free movie at 8:30 p.m. at the city library at 8100 Atlantic Ave.

This year’s event had some new activities: a volleyball tournament, crafters and a bonfire. But some favorites remain from year to year. A variety of bands were playing practically all day long.

“What’s better than going to the beach and listening to rock music?” Berger said.

Still, the focus is on families, something that Isabella’s mother really appreciates.

“It’s just great,” Barbara Zanghi said. “We always come back to this every year.”

This was the first visit to Beachstock for the Wagner family of Media, Pa. Alice Wagner said she found out about the event while looking on the Internet to find something outdoors to do with her three children at the shore this weekend.

“This is a great setting,” Wagner said. “You can listen to music, have something to eat and drink and just let the kids run around on the beach.”

For some local residents, Beachstock means more than just a party.

Ronnie Kaplan Cohn, who lives on Franklin Avenue, said Beachstock is a time for city residents to get together for some fun.

Asked if she sees her friends at Beachstock, Cohn said, “I do all the time.”

Beachstock remains an evolving party, with Berger saying a key to its success — it draws an estimated 10,000 people — is to keep the event fresh.

The crafters were added this year, Berger said. The number could increase for next year’s event, he said.

Berger also has plans to turn the volleyball tournament into a event that attracts professional teams.

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