MARGATE — Add record high temperatures to a summer afternoon, and the tagline for the city’s third annual Beachstock changes a little.
“It went from ‘the planet’s biggest beach party’ to ‘the planet’s hottest beach party,’” said Ed Berger, president of the Margate Business Association.
As the National Weather Service issued an extreme heat warning Saturday, thousands of people went to the beach to cool off and participate in Beachstock. The event included performances, games, competitions and food, and ended with a nighttime screening of the movie “Avatar.” Visitors could also access the beach without tags.
Beachstock drew about 8,000 people last year, and Berger said organizers expected the same amount this year, though they figured more people would arrive later in the afternoon due to the heat.
Berger said the city does a smaller version of Beachstock on Thursdays, during which beach tags are not required, local businesses have sidewalk sales, a farmers market sells produce and nighttime movie screenings are held at Lucy the Elephant.
The idea is to get more people interested in Margate, he said.
“We want people to come here and make this their home for a week, a month, a season or the rest of their lives,” he said.
Vineland residents Ed and Darlene Morvay usually visit Ocean City, where they have a house, but went to Margate for Beachstock. Ed Morvay deemed it intelligent marketing.
“You don’t think about Longport, Margate, Ventnor doing something like this,” he said. “They’re usually more reserved.”
Longtime Margate resident Linda Hartz said she was happy to see the city reach out to more tourists and help the local businesses.
“I think it’s a great thing,” she said. “It keeps the town active.”
The beach was a popular place for people to go to cool off Saturday, and Beachstock served as a welcome distraction for many people at the shore this weekend who were hoping to avoid the heat — which reached a record 100 degrees.
Marilyn Haverson, of Philadelphia, said she traveled to the shore because it was the best — and only — place for her to go.
“There’s not much else you can do when it’s this hot,” she said. “You either have to be inside in the air conditioning or at the beach.”
Vineland resident Michael Sarnoff brought his family to their home in Margate.
“With this kind of weather, you either have to have air conditioning or the ocean,” he said. “We wanted a little of both.”
His son Eli, 7, has his own way of cooling off.
“I drink water and then go into the water,” he said.
There’s also the ice cream guy.
“We’ve been waiting for him to come by,” Michael Sarnoff said.
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