WILDWOOD — Like the sun that began to disappear behind rain clouds, the summer season lingered at the Wildwood Block Party and Music Festival on Sunday.
But visitors and residents had few complaints about the busy summer about to end — and many were looking forward to fall.
“I think we did pretty good,” said Kelly Forkel, of Hamilton Township, Mercer County. “We went to Wildwood a million times. And we’ll be back for the Irish Festival.”
“We’re stretching everything summer as much as we can out of this,” added her husband, Jim Forkel.
“September’s the best down here,” said Chris Kaceres, of Bordentown, Burlington County, who has a home in North Wildwood. “But we don’t want it to end.”
Connie Liggi’s house in Wildwood was damaged by Hurricane Sandy last year. She was able to move back in halfway through the summer.
“We only got a couple of weeks in,” Liggi said.
“But we squeezed a lot in,” added Mary Ann Goldbloom, also of Philadelphia. “We got to see Beatlemania last night, and it was a great way to end summer.”
“It was kind of like a last hurrah,” Liggi said. “Summer was too short.”
“It went too fast,” added Goldbloom.
For Jack and Lorraine Jugus, Philadelphians with a home in North Wildwood, “the best time of the year is to come.”
“Overall though, I’d say it was a great summer,” Jack said. “Then again, when you’re retired, it’s always great.”
Don Miller, of Wildwood, was looking forward to fall, but for a different reason.
“I’m glad it’s over, so we can get back to normal,” Miller said of the summer.
Helping man the gates to the event were members of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 955 and American Legion Post 184.
“They do a lot for the town, and the town does a lot for them,” said VVA member Dan Pavese, of Cape May, of chapter officials. “It’s kind of like a marriage.”
The Block Party and Music Festival, an all-day event that lasted until 11 p.m., “has been great,” Pavese said from his station at the entrance to the park. “The custodial crew cleaning up? They’re on it. The mayor of the town, Ernie Troiano? He’s on it.”
VVA member Vince DePrinzio, of Cape May Court House, said donations gathered during the event go toward upkeep of the Wildwoods Vietnam Memorial Wall, one of only three of its kind in the country.
“It requires a bit of money to maintain it, and not just residents but visitors have been very generous,” DePrinzio said.
The group is starting a new project, he added: refurbishing the memorial lane of trees planted next to Fox Park in honor of islanders lost in 20th century wars.
“We’re reaching out for help on that,” he said of the estimated $40,000 project. “We’re very proud to do it.”
Up on the Boardwalk, a number of classic autos were lined up for the All-American Car Show, and the famous tram car advised gawkers to watch out for it, please, as it went by.
Bill and Brenda Brader, of Allentown, are spending the next week in Wildwood, getting a taste of both a hectic holiday weekend and the quiet of a mid-week September.
“We’re staying for a week, then it’s back to the real world,” Brader said.
There was one point when he did stay the entire summer, he added. That was a long time ago.
“In ’70-something,” he recalled. “I was 20-something years old. That was a great year.”
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