In an effort to offer some relief during income tax season, Ocean City adopted the Doo Dah Parade 29 years ago. As the parade matured into a weekend of events, so did the parade's main focus.

Mark Soifer, Ocean City's public relations coordinator and one of the parade's starters, said eventually the parade focus shifted toward honoring all things humorous.

"It really evolved from just unusual brigades to the benefits of humor," Soifer said. "Over the years we've honored various comedians … this year we're honoring Peter Funt."

Funt is the former host of "Candid Camera," and he will don his old hat as host when he assumes the role of Grand Marshal at this year's Doo Dah Parade.

The weekend will feature a multitude of events including a Basset Hound Olympics, a Basset Hound Waddle, a PieAsco, programs about the benefits of humor, a retrospective of "Candid Camera," a tribute to Abbott and Costello, and of course, the parade itself.

The Basset Hound Olympics and Waddle is thrown in support of the Tri-State Basset Hound Rescue. Soifer said that this year, close to 600 basset hounds are expected to participate.

"The Olympics are really a neat thing and it's humorous," Soifer said. "(The dogs) go over the hurdles or around the hurdles and then they might plop down and go to sleep."

This year marks the 16th anniversary of the Basset Hound Waddle.

Another Doo Dah weekend staple is the annual PieAsco, in which "folks sit in grandstands and smush each other with shaving cream pies, the kind Soupy Sales used during his syndicated TV shows years go," Soifer said in a news release.

The purpose for using shaving cream, Soifer said, is that shaving cream could be cleaned up fairly easily off of the expensive suits that were worn on Soupy Sales' show, whereas real pies "would be a real mess."

Events begin on April 11 at 12 p.m. with the Basset Hound Olympics and culminate on April 12 at 3 p.m. with a tribute to Abbott and Costello.

Potential entrants into the Doo Dah Parade include "brigades of five or more deranged entrants. Themes may include anything within the parameters of propriety. … Miscellaneous includes aliens from outer space, dragons, unicorns, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or everything and the Kitchen Sink. We do have a Kitchen Sink entry every year."

Interested participants should call Mark Soifer at 609-525-9300 or 609-364-4010 to register.

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