It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the Wildwoods are a magnet for vacationers and locals alike. With their massive sandy beaches, monstrous boardwalk full of thrills and games of chance and large schedule of events, the electricity in the air can make for a good time for just about anybody.
“We are always looking for major events to bring people to the Wildwoods. One of our philosophies is to offer multiple events throughout the weekend. If you are not interested in one thing, you might be in another. We like to give people a lot of options,” says Ben Rose, director of marketing and public relations at the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement & Development Authority.
And although the Wildwoods have been synonymous with summer for as long as most of us can remember, in recent years they have expanded, offering big entertainment during the “shoulder season” (the months just before and just after summer). “Our fall is second to none. We have major events leading right through October, and I would say some of those events are as big as Fourth of July,” Rose says. There are even some major happenings in the winter, including dog shows, cheerleading, basketball and wrestling tournaments, making the Wildwoods hot all year long, no matter what the thermometer might read.
But in the week or two there seems to be even more to do than usual. While your average beach towns might have one event going on during a given weekend, the Wildwoods will play host to a variety of festivals, concerts and conventions, offering up something for every type of visitor. So if you should find yourself in town and you are unsure of what to do with your time, options are a plenty. Here’s a look at some of the big ones.
Getting’ Sneaky For some folks, sneakers are simply a piece of footwear, a blend of leather, plastic and rubber to be worn as a protector for your feet and nothing more. But to enthusiasts the sneaker is an obsession. A colorful collector’s item of the highest merit, that transcends beyond its utilitarian purposes. For those in the latter camp, Wildwood is the place to be from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, when the Jus Nice Sneaker Convention arrives at the Wildwoods Convention Center. Everything from vintage Air Jordans to modern kicks will be up for grabs, and Teddy Ruks from VH1’s “Black Ink Crew” will appear. Collectors can buy, sell and trade sneakers throughout the day. Giveaways and raffles will be part of the fun and all ages are welcome. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the door. The Wildwoods Convention Center is located at 4501 Boardwalk in Wildwood. Go to JusNiceSneakerConvention.com.
A bit jazzy Despite all the flashing lights, spinning rides and general honky tonk of the boardwalk, when it wants to, Wildwood can be a downright sophisticated place, suitable for a relaxed evening listening to the sweet sounds of live jazz. Folks will be able to do just that at Byrne Plaza 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, as there will be a live performance from the Cape Shore Jazz Orchestra. Byrne Plaza is located at 3400 Pacific Ave. in Wildwood. For more info go to WildwoodsNJ.com.
A Parrot party During the summer months it seems that just about every town at the shore features some type of tribute act performing live. Sometimes multiple acts. But the Parrothead Festival that comes to Wildwood’s Fox Park at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, is truly something special. Not content in simply offering a live Jimmy Buffet tribute band, this fun-filled event — which makes it’s debut in Wildwood this year — includes activities for kids and adults alike and encourages all Parrotheads to dress in their most outrageous and over the top outfits. We’re talking hula skirts, colorful necklaces and seashell bras — and that’s just for the men! Prizes will be awarded for the zaniest outfits. Of course the centerpiece of the festival will be a performance from The Landsharks, a popular Jimmy Buffett tribute act who have often played with the head Parrothead himself.
“This is a major festival,” Rose says “There will be some of the top food trucks in the area, plus a huge area for kids and of course the incredible music from The Landsharks. You won’t want to miss it!” Rose says.
Fox Park is located at Ocean and Montgomery Avenues in Wildwood.
Tattoos for yous For further evidence of the Wildwoods’ determination to offer a wide variety of events, one must look no farther than this weekend’s Wildwood Tattoo Beach Bash. Bringing in a variety of some of the best and most highly respected artists from around the world, the Wildwood Tattoo Beach Bash gives locals and vacationers a chance to get inked on the spot. Of course anyone who prefers to merely remain a spectator can do so as well, as there will be plenty to look at throughout this three day festival that runs Friday to Sunday, Aug. 9-11 at the Wildwoods Convention Center.
In addition to tattooing, there will be live performances from burlesque performers such as Marlo Marquise as well as a beard and mustache competition and a variety of sideshow acts that are sure to leave your jaw dropped firmly on the floor. Cost of admission is $20 per day. Kids under 14 are admitted free. The festival will run from noon to 11 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. The Wildwoods Convention Center is located at 4501 Boardwalk in Wildwood. For more info, go to WildwoodTattoo.com.
Trotting the globe Although their name clearly states that they have a penchant for traveling, the Harlem Globetrotters have a tradition of settling in and making Wildwood their unofficial home-away-from-Harlem for a few days each year. This summer is no different, as the legendary group of slam-dunking tricksters will be on the court at the Wildwoods Convention Center for four days and nights of clinics and games Wednesday through Saturday, Aug. 14-17. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or at the Wildwoods Convention Center Box Office.The Wildwoods Convention Center is located at 4501 Boardwalk in Wildwood. For more info go to HarlemGlobetrotters.com.