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Ocean City held three special events last weekend. The Trail of Two Cities 5K Race and Walk over the Causeway drew over 600 participants on Saturday. The “Earlier than the Bird “promotion attracted a steady stream of early shoppers and children for fun with Santa in the afternoon. The tribute to Ocean City’s legendary Elvis performer, Ted Prior, drew an appreciative crowd.

It’s important that we continue our special events like the Old fashioned Family Christmas Celebration set for Friday beginning 2 p.m. It sends a message to the world that Ocean City is still a vital community.

But even more important is the on-going work of OCNJ CARE and its partners in helping residents who have suffered severe hardships in the wake of the brutal storm. Here are some telling numbers showing what this outstanding organization has accomplished.

The Food Cupboard at the Sports and Civic Center, 6th and Boardwalk has served over 5,000 People as of Nov. 17. The Relief Center at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church, 8th and Wesley Ave., fed over 5,000 people as of Nov. 17. The Tabernacle Relief Center (food and clothing) has assisted 5,000 people as of Nov. 14th.

Concerning Volunteer Home Repair Efforts, nearly 400 volunteers have worked in various capacities canvassing the City for needs and distributing relief information. Volunteers have helped over 40 families with home gutting, repairs, clean/mold removal and moving as of Nov. 17. The housing team has placed over 50 people as of Nov. 14.

OCNJ CARE is still working to meet the urgent and immediate needs of the community. The group is moving forward and planning Phase 2, which encompasses rebuilding homes and permanently placing displaced residents. At this point the urgent need is for cash donations to rebuild and find people housing. You can help by sending a check to OCNJ CARE, PO Box 807, Ocean City, N.J. 08226 or drop check off at Ocean City Home Bank, 10th Asbury Ave. or access www.ocnjcare.org.

(Nov. 23) An Old Fashioned FAMILY CHRISTMAS is set for the Downtown from 6th to 11th Streets on Asbury Ave. starting 2 p.m. Activities include Christmas Caroling, Horse and Carriage Rides at City Hall, Lighting of Christmas tree and City Hall building, Music and Entertainment, Shopping and Dining Specials, Free photos with Santa 2-4 p.m., meet the Phillie Phanatic 4-5:30 p.m.. Then as if by magic, Santa arrives at 5 p.m. and descends from the roof of City Hall on a City Fire Department Hook and Ladder Truck.

Other holiday events include the City’s Annual Christmas Parade Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. from 6th to 11th Streets on Asbury Ave. Every Weekend through Dec. 23 photos with Santa in a Lifeguard boat, noon to 3 p.m. at the Music Pier plus free Horse and Carriage Rides noon to 3 p.m. at City Hall, Hospitality Nights, Fridays Dec. 14-21, 5 to 8 p.m in the Downtown, Breakfast with Santa every weekend, through Dec. 23 at a different downtown Restaurant, 8:15 to 11:15 a.m. call (609) 398-4662 for information.

(Nov. 22) The Fast and Furriest 5K TURKEY TROT and the one Mile Fun Run , a 5K Run/Walk Thanksgiving morning and 1 mile kids fun run benefits the Ocean City K-9 Unit and Ocean City Humane Society. Pre-register on line at www.active.com .Registration is 7 to 8:25 a.m. in front of the Music Pier. Race starts at 8:30 a.m. Applications are available at the Aquatic and Fitness Center and at the Humane Society. For information, call (609) 398-5068.

(Nov. 25) OCNJ CARE will hold a Community Prayer Service at 4 p.m. in the Ocean City Tabernacle, 550 Wesley Ave. The prayer service will provide the opportunity to “ lift up” Ocean City residents, homeowners, families and businesses that were impacted by the storm. Special music and prayer will be included in the service that will last under one hour.

Representatives from various congregations will lead the service. Singers are invited to participate in a community Chorus for the event-please get music in advance from the Tabernacle and meet at 3:30 p.m. Praise Bands and Worship Teams from many churches will combine for the celebration and thanks. Join in giving thanks for the outpouring of generosity and the many ways people are responding to the challenging post hurricane recovery effort. For information call (609) 399-2988 or (609) 399-1915.

FIRST NIGHT, Ocean City’s gala New Year’s Eve Celebration is set once again for the holiday. Enjoy an extensive entertainment program beginning at 4 p.m. and concluding at Midnight with fireworks. Buttons are $15, available now at the Chamber of Commerce Building on 9th St. across from TD Bank, call (609) 399-1412. There is an Angel Fund for those who cannot afford First Night Buttons, call 609-525-9300.

HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT: (Dec.-1) the Ocean City Pops presents JOY TO THE WORLD, a Symphonic and Choral Celebration of the joyous sounds of Christmas at the Hughes Performing Art Center, 6th Street and Atlantic Ave. Heraldic Trumpets, dazzling bells and triumphant choirs join the Pops in this annual Holiday tradition. Tickets are $15. Call 609-525-9300. Sponsored by Norman and JoAnne Schaut.

(Dec. 14-16) 2012 HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR, the annual favorite returns in a new production. A cast of professional singers and dancers celebrate the season with a fully staged musical revue of holiday hits. High energy choreography, spectacular costumes and outstanding talent come together on the Music Pier stage to create a highlight of the holiday season. Dec. 14 at 10:30 a.m. a special discounted performance for school groups. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. Other shows are Dec. 14- 7:30 p.m., Dec. 15, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 16, 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for Seniors and Children under 12 call (609) 525-9300. Sponsored by Norman and JoAnne Schaut.

ALSO: Dec. 8 CHRISTMAS AT THE TABERNACLE: The Angelus Choir with instrumentalists and soloists, 4 p.m. at the Ocean City Tabernacle, 550 Wesley Ave., free admission. For more information call (609) 399-1915. The Tabernacle will also present a live Nativity Scene on Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. presented by Tabernacle Youth. This event is set for the Tabernacle grounds, 550 Wesley Ave. Drive by or stop and visit.