By Paul Goldfinger
Saturday, June 23: It seems that Ocean Grove is coming alive in a major way, and it’s only a Saturday in June. For those of you who didn’t get here today, there were sunshine and happiness all over the place, from porch gatherings, beach goings, bike riding, barbecuing, schmoozing and yakking, eating (specifically hot dogs at the GA and strawberries at the Auditorium Pavilion), ogling, shopping, fiddling (Violin Academy of OG in the pavilion), making (out), posturing, perambulating, playing and parking. It seemed like a perfect storm of people, fun, and energy at this rejuvenated Jersey Shore beach town, energized by evolving demographics.
Each year since the turn of the century, the Grove has become more and more alive, as if it now has reached a critical mass and has turned a corner. If anyone ever again calls it “Ocean Grave,” he should be tied up and paraded down Main Avenue by a band of teen age girls in bikinis, the kazoo band from Days, the kids violin ensemble, the commenters from Blogfinger, a couple of drag queens and finally fifty or more screeching children with their dogs. (If you want to suggest other participants in this “turning the corner parade,” just comment below.) This summer will probably be pretty wild, so hold onto your hats, your beach chairs, your bikes and your martinis, because OG has arrived.
Meanwhile, here is the tail-end of the Strawberry Festival at about 7 p.m. in the Auditorium Pavilion. The audience for the evening concert (The B Street Band—only three letters away from E: an actual rock concert in the GA) is starting to arrive, the water sellers are setting up, live classical music drifts off among the ocean breezes, mingling with the voices of happy people all over the place. OG has definitely rounded a bend and is facing a bright future.