WILDWOOD — Classic beach songs and barbecue smoke wafted from Fox Park on Sunday afternoon as several hundred beachgoers circulated through the Wildwood Block Party.
Now in its eighth year, the Block Party has become a local tradition all its own.
“The bands are always the best, at least for my age group,” said Renee Ruth, 61, of South Philadelphia, who brought her 4-year-old grandson Damian. “Last week they had rockers, which I wasn’t into it, but this is the perfect way to end the summer.”
Joe “Joey M.” Montello, who serves as the city’s entertainment director, said the Block Party has outgrown its relatively humble roots.
“It originally started on a street as a block party,” he said. “Then the street wasn’t big enough and we took it to the park. It’s good because now everyone had a view of the stage.”
Now, Montello said, the Block Party is on par with many of the city’s many outdoor festivals, drawing about 12,000 people for the 10-hour festival of food and music.
“All these events bring a lot of people — it’s a great impact on the town,” he said.
Edward Newman, 54, of Northfield, said he’s been coming to Wildwood for the last 30 years, enjoying the Boardwalk and free events, such as the Block Party.
“It’s a good thing” that they provide free entertainment, he said. “It’s working too — I’ve never stopped coming.”
Ed and Kathleen Rink, both 73, said they try to come to as many of the Wildwood events as they can. While they live in Wayne, Pa., the couple also have a beach place on Baker Street.
“We like to listen to the music and seeing all the people here together,” Ed said.
They were looking forward to Chubby Checker, one of the headliners of “The Twist” fame, perform.
Another partygoer who looked forward to Checker was Kathy Schmidt, 46, of Reading, Pa.
“My mom took me to a concert when I was little,” she said, holding her 4-year-old daughter Eve. “Now I can do the same for my kids.”
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