OCEAN CITY — The city expects to welcome thousands of visitors this weekend as five special events are scheduled to take place over two days.

“As you know, September is a spectacular month for weather and we have a lot of annual events throughout the month,” city Public Information Officer Doug Bergen said.

Saturday begins with the eighth annual Walk for the Wounded on the Boardwalk, where more than 500 people are expected to participate, said Tricia Ciliberto, spokeswoman for Ocean City Home Bank.

The five-mile walk raises money for Operation First Response, which in turn goes to help soldiers wounded on the job pay bills and make ends meet.

Two veterans Saturday morning will share their stories about how Operation First Response helped them when they returned home from active duty in the Middle East.

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Marine Staff Sgt. Brian Siegman and Army Sgt. Jesse Wallace are the guest speakers for the opening ceremonies.

Siegman served nine years between 1999 and 2010, completing two tours of duty in Iraq. After leaving the Marines, he served as a police officer for 3½ years. Siegman continues to battle post-traumatic stress disorder.

In 2007, Wallace was deployed to Iraq for a year. During his next deployment to Afghanistan in 2010, he was severely injured when Taliban forces attacked his convoy. After undergoing an above-the-knee amputation, Wallace retired from the Army and is now pursuing a degree in engineering.

“Many members of our community want to assist injured veterans, but they’re not sure of the best way to go about helping,” said Steven Brady, president and CEO of Ocean City Home Bank. “More than 97 cents of every dollar we earn at the walk will be given directly to wounded soldiers and their families, which means our supporters can feel confident that their donations are going to the right place and having the maximum positive impact.”

Brady was responsible for bringing the walk to Ocean City in 2009.

In addition to the veterans, Operation First Response founder Peggy Baker will be at the walk.

New this year, Ciliberto said, will be a sand sculpture on the beach at Moorlyn Terrace. The sculpture was created by John Gowdy, a New Jersey-based sand sculptor.

She said the organizers hope to raise more than $100,000 this year for Operation First Response.

“I think it’s important to support our troops because they are putting their life on the line for the freedoms we so often take for granted,” Ciliberto said.

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Also on Saturday, the Ocean City Municipal Airport will host its annual Airport Festival featuring planes, antique cars and aerial demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the airport, 2600 Bay Ave. Organizers estimate nearly 7,000 attendees.

On Sunday will be the Boardwalk Aerobatic Airshow from 1 to 3 p.m. between Sixth and 14th streets.

The Bike MS City to Shore Ride concludes in Ocean City on Saturday after an 80-mile trek from Cherry Hill. The ride will continue Sunday morning for some cyclists. This event brings about 7,000 participants and 1,000 volunteers to the city.

Finally, Sunday will be the annual OCNJ Half Marathon, 5K and 10K, which in the past has welcomed 1,000 runners.

Bergen said it’s not unusual for multiple events to fall on the same weekend in Ocean City, as a number of individual organizers are vying for time.

He said it’s too hard to estimate exactly how many people will be in town this weekend for the fall events.

Contact: 609-272-7251

Twitter @clairelowe

Staff writer

If you go

Walk for the Wounded

Saturday, Sept. 24

Ocean City Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace

Registration 8:30 a.m.

Opening ceremonies 9:30 a.m.

3-mile walk 10 a.m.

1-800-771-7990, ext. 1106

www.ochome.com

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.