Holiday Events at the Shore
Summer is over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun at the shore. Now that the holiday season is upon us, the towns of the South Jersey shore have many fun festivities planned for you and your family to enjoy. Holiday events at the shore feature visits from Santa, tree lighting ceremonies, Christmas parade and much more. Here, we give you the town-by-town holiday low-down so you can plan to have some holiday fun by the sea with friends and family.
Avalon kicks off its holiday season on Thanksgiving weekend. Beginning on Wednesday, November 27, the town is hosting a tree and wreath auction at their annual “Avalon Festival of Trees”. This event features over 30 trees and wreaths, imagined and created by local individuals and businesses. The event will be held at the Whitebrier Inn at 260 20th Street. The bidding begins at 5:00 pm on the 27th and continues on Friday, November 29 from 12:00 noon – 8:00 pm.
Avalon’s annual Turkey Trot 5k Run and 1.5 Mile Family Walk happens on Thanksgiving morning, Thursday November 28. This event benefits the Helen L. Diller Vacation Home for Blind Children.
On “Festive Friday” (November 29), join the fun in downtown Avalon when over 40 holiday-themed activities are offered for the whole family from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm.
The fun continues in Avalon with Snowfest Saturday (November 30). A free carnival featuring photos with Santa, rides and entertainment will turn Avalon into a winter wonderland. While you’re here, don’t forget to visit your favorite shops and restaurants to support local businesses during Small Business Saturday.
Finally, join the Avalon History Center on Saturday December 7 at 4:00 pm for their Holiday Party and Open House. This event will feature food and refreshments, music and good cheer. Christmas in Avalon is sure to make you smile!
Cape May’s festive holiday season begins on Thanksgiving weekend and will continue through December. At this time of year, quaint Cape May becomes a real-life Christmas village. Christmas in Cape May is something that must be experienced by all.
Cape May’s shops and restaurants will be staying open throughout the holiday season. The shops of Washington Street Mall, Beach Avenue, West End Garage and other shopping areas around town offer something for everyone on your gift list. Don’t forget that Small Business Saturday is November 30, a great time to support local businesses.
Support local artisans by attending the Holiday Crafts and Collectibles Show at Convention Hall on Friday November 29 and Saturday November 30. Then, on the following weekend (December 7-8), Convention Hall will house the Annual Crafts at Christmas Arts and Crafts Show. These two events gives visitors the opportunities to find handmade crafts and unique gift ideas.
Congress Hall Holiday
Congress Hall, the grand dame of Cape May holels, is a great destination for holiday merry-making. Here, you can enjoy Breakfast with Santa every Saturday and Sunday between November 30 – December 22. Out on the lawn, you can visit Santa’s Workshop, take a ride on the Congress Hall Express Train or the Carousel and enjoy refreshments as you check out Winter Wonderland. This holiday-inspired pop-up village features 18 specialty artisans selling local and handmade products ranging from clothing, toys, souvenirs, small batch foods and more. Winter Wonderland is open weekends from Friday, November 29 – Tuesday, December 31. If you’re here on a Sunday afternoon, be sure to check out the original play, “A Congress Hall Christmas”, a heart-warming tale filled with holiday adventure.
Other special holiday events include a tree lighting ceremony at Rotary Park on Friday December 6. That same night, Congress Hall’s 30-foot tree will be lit to the beautiful music performed by the Festival Choir. On Saturday December 7, West Cape May will host its annual Christmas Parade. The parade kicks off from the West Cape May Firehouse at 5:00 pm. And for three Saturdays in December, visitors can tour Cape May’s beautifully decorated homes and inns. The Holiday House Tour event includes Christmas carolers, strolling musicians and refreshments. This event occurs on December 7th, 14th and 28th.
Several holiday-themed dining events will be held on the weekend of December 13-14, including Washington Inn’s Chocolate Lover’s Feast, Mad Batter’s Wine Dinner, and a Holiday Reception and Concert at Convention Hall. Congress Hall will be hosting a Holiday Dinner and Bingo with Blue Pig and the Clauses.
Cape May offers a continuous holiday experience, thanks to the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC). This dedicated group provides holiday lights trolley tours, holiday-themed walking tours, and other festive events. Visitors can check out Emlen Physick Estate for an old-fashioned Christmas display and tour the Estate while enjoying hot cocoa and Christmas carolers dressed in period costumes.
Don your ugliest Christmas sweater on December 20 and head to Willow Creek Winery’s 3rd Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. This event includes fire pits, holiday-themed live performances and a visit from Santa.
Like Cape May, Christmas in Ocean City means ongoing holiday events from Thanksgiving through the end of December. This includes several opportunities to meet Santa. Have Breakfast with Santa every Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 am (locations vary, check schedule). Pose for a photo with Santa at the Music Pier each weekend day at 12:00 noon. Back on Asbury Avenue, take an old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage ride and enjoy the decorated store fronts. Remember to support local businesses on November 30, which is Small Business Saturday.
Other holiday events are planned throughout the season. The 12th Annual Fast and Furriest 5k Turkey Trot will be held on Thanksgiving Day, November 28. The event begins at the Music Pier at 8:30 am. On Friday November 29, you can join the merchants and the Ocean City Chamber in kicking off on old-fashioned downtown Christmas with “Our Miracle on Asbury Avenue”. Enjoy the musical sounds of the season on Saturday November 30 with a Holiday Pops Concert at the Music Pier.
Ocean City’s Christmas Parade is on Friday December 6 at 6:00 pm. The parade features floats, musical groups and so much more as they march down Asbury Avenue. On the weekend of December 7-8, you can visit the Christmas Train Show at the Music Pier.
Ocean City is host to two live performances on the weekend of December 13-14. On Friday night and Saturday afternoon, the Ocean City Theater Company’s 22nd Annual Holiday Spectacular returns to the Ocean City Music Pier in a new movie-themed production for 2019. On Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, the Ocean City Theater Company presents Frozen, Jr. also at the Music Pier.
Ocean City invites you to celebrate the new year with its annual First Night. This celebratory event includes non-stop entertainment throughout town from 4:00 pm – midnight. This includes concerts, live music, shows, an ice skating rink and so much more. Hotels and restaurants will offer special packages for visitors. The night concludes with Fireworks over the ocean at midnight. Enjoy First Day at the Beach with your first dip into the ocean at 2:00 pm at the Music Pier on New Year’s Day.
Sea Isle City
Christmas in Sea Isle City is a fun time to celebrate the holidays and give back to the community. Sea Isle kicks off its holiday festivities with a Holiday Extravaganza Parade on Friday November 29 at 6:00 pm. The parade route will run along JFK Boulevard from Park Road to Excursion Park, and will conclude with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Watch out for the big man to make an entrance as Santa will arrive to greet visitors. Attendees are invited to bring unwrapped toys and non-perishable food items to donate to Mayor Leonard Desiderio’s Holiday Toy and Food Drive.
On Saturday November 30, there will be a Holiday 1-Mile Run and Walk. Participants are encouraged to wear their favorite holiday attire. The event begins at Kix McNutley’s at 4:00 pm. Visit Sea Isle’s shops and boutiques for some holiday shopping before the run, as this is Small Business Saturday. This is a great opportunity to support your favorite shore shops and restaurants. The Toy and Food drive continues today as well.
Enjoy Sea Isle’s “Holiday Stroll” on Saturday December 7 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. Participating businesses will offer sales and specials and families can enjoy entertainment and crafts throughout town. Popular characters, including Santa himself, will be available for meet and greets throughout the event. Visit the Sea Isle City Historical Museum on Saturday for their Holiday Open House from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm featuring light refreshments, live harp music and vintage holiday decorations. Have Brunch with Santa on December 15 at the VFW Post 1963 located at 41st Street at 11:30 am.
Sea Isle invites you to join its New Years Eve festivities on December 31. A children’s celebration will be held from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, including food, music, dancing and more. At 8:00 pm, families can enjoy fireworks on the beach.
Stone Harbor packs all its holiday entertainment into Thanksgiving weekend, with a delightful weekend filled with events. Celebrate “White Christmas in Stone Harbor” for their annual Island Holiday event. This includes Breakfast with Frosty, scavenger hunts, art classes, Santa letter-writing workshops, several live entertainment events, a tree lighting ceremony and so much more. Christmas in Stone Harbor is a great time to do some shopping. Stone Harbor merchants will be offering specials for shoppers on Black Friday (November 29) and Small Business Saturday (November 30). Stone Harbor is a great shopping destination for finding that perfect gift for a special someone.
The two-day holiday celebration will culminate with the Stone Harbor Christmas Parade on Saturday November 30 at 6:30 pm. The parade runs along Third Avenue between 111th Street and 96th Street.
Wildwood pulls out all its holiday stops on the weekend of December 6-8, 2019. Enjoy Christmas on the Plaza from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm on Friday December 6th and Saturday December 7th from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. This festive event includes a holiday craft bazaar, ice skating, fire pits, food venters, entertainment and more.
On Friday night, the Greater Wildwood Jaycees Christmas Parade will hold its annual Christmas Parade including floats, fire trucks, decorated vehicles and more. The parade will conclude with the arrival of Santa who will light the tree and prizes for the parade will be given. The parade begins at 6:30 pm and the tree lighting will occur at Byrne Plaza at 7:30 pm. The rain date for this event is Sunday December 8. For more information about the categories and prizes available for the parade, click here.
Gather for the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse Tree Lighting on Friday December 6 for a festive ceremony. The event begins at 4:30 pm and will include music, refreshments, a free tour of the lighthouse and a visit from Santa Claus.
The annual Pynch the Grynch Boardwalk 5k Run will be held on December 14 at 9:00 am beginning at the Wildwood Convention Center. On the same day, a Family Holiday Celebration will be held from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm also at the Convention Center. This event features holiday-themed crafters and movies, photos with Santa, choir performances, children’s craft making table, face painting, a magician, dance performances and much more
On Saturday December 7 from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, Historic Cold Spring Village is hosting their Wassail Day. This free family event includes hands-on crafts, live music, hot beverages and holiday treats. Meet Santa in the Country Store and enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride throughout the village. The Country Store will be fully stocked with unique holiday gifts for everyone on your list.
To sum it all up, there are many holiday events at the shore to get you in a festive mood. To see the events listed by date, click here.