Each September, countless people enjoy Sea Isle City's annual Fall Family Festival Weekend - and this year was no exception. Thanks to perfect weather conditions and a variety of events that kept festival-goers smiling all weekend, this year's fall celebration was one of the resort's largest-to-date.
The fun began on Sat., Sept.18, with a sand sculpting demonstration and contest on the beach at JFK Boulevard. As professional artists from Sand Pounders Sand Sculptures created a giant beach monster that sported a welcoming grimace, numerous contestants were creating their own works of art with sand - each hoping to win trophies for their efforts.
By the end of the competition, three groups walked away with awards: the Miller Family of Quakertown, Pa., first place; Joe Hayes and Glen Nagle of Warminster, Pa., second; and the Cleveland Family of Silver Springs, Md., third.
Meanwhile, on the Promenade, the festival's annual Seaside Market took place.
As always, the market was a huge success - thanks to the 420 vendors who sold items ranging from fishing gear to children's toys to bargain sunglasses.
There were also many civic groups and local organizations on the Promenade, handing out free literature and offering information about upcoming events. Several members of the Sea Isle City Police Department were also on hand, promoting bicycle safety and registering bike owners in the city's free bicycle registration program.
While shoppers were discovering the many bargains and unique finds at the Seaside Market, children were enjoying a free moon-bounce and a giant inflatable obstacle course at nearby Excursion Park.
There were also pony rides and other fun activities for kids - all in addition to live music from Hawkins Road Band and a fabulous Food Court, which featured a wide variety of local delicacies and other favorites.
Afterwards, a free Dance Party was held on Saturday night, which had families doing the Limbo, the Twist and other popular dances. Many dance party participants also received a variety of souvenirs compliments of the Tourism Department, organizers of the Fall Family Festival.
On Sunday of Fall Family Festival, the day began with the Seventh Annual Gerard A. Desiderio Antique Auto Show, which also took place on the Promenade.
There were over 65 classic vehicles in this year's auto exhibit, including eye-catching muscle cars and a number of early 20th century sedans in mint condition. Another notable vehicle was a vintage Volkswagen Beetle distinctively detailed with the number "53," which had many people fondly remembering the 1960's Disney classic The Love Bug.
After judging was completed, the Mayor's Trophy was presented to a red 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, owned by Paul and Sally Leech of Hammonton.
The Best of Show Trophy went to a black 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible, owned by Chuck Frye of Mays Landing.
Auto show organizer Jim Ambro also presented trophies to four contestants who each displayed a "dedicated participation" to the car show in recent years.
Those recipients were Joe Bellucci, Howard Barth, Marianna Nutly and Ernie Marcacci.
Sunday activities also included live music by The Snake Brothers Band and free Guided Historical Trolley Tours, which were led by members of the Sea Isle City Historical Society and culminated the weekend in grand style.
"We had a wonderful turn-out and everyone enjoyed the weekend," said Trish Jackson of the Sea Isle City Tourism Department. "This was one of our largest Fall Festivals to date, and we already have some great ideas that will make next year's festival even better."