The annual Night in Venice boat parade will go forward for the 59th time in Ocean City on Saturday, July 20. The optional theme this year will be “The Good Old Summer Time.”
The colorful boat parade and decorated home celebration was initiated to commemorate the city’s Diamond Jubilee, or 75th anniversary, in 1954. It was organized by former Public Relations Director Art Watkins and Ocean City Beach Patrol Captain Jack Jernee.
Watkins, who was a boat tour director, prior to settling in Ocean City, witnessed a semi-religious celebration in Venice, Italy during which residents sailed to a nearby island and had a sociable evening.
Night In Venice has remained one of Ocean City’s most popular events.
Local historian Fred Miller learned that there was a celebration held here in 1901 that was also called Night In Venice. It consisted of musical groups and Philadelphia debutantes sailing through the lagoons on colorful boats, the young ladies waving to homeowners and visitors.
The city would like to start a new category for non-mechanized boats to include kayaks, gondolas, sailboats, etc. Anyone interested should contact the Public Relation Office, 609-525-9300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will miss Sue Canale, our longtime volunteer who directed Night In Venice and the Baby Parade for many years and was active in other events. The parade will be dedicated to her this year and her family will ride in one of the lead boats.
— News release from Mark Soifer, City of Ocean City Public Relations