Plans for the 66th annual edition of Ocean City’s premier summer event, Night in Venice, are in the works, and registration for participating boats and waterfront homes is now open. The parade this year starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 18.This year’s theme – “The Olympics: Go for the Gold” – will be a nod to the Olympic Games. The theme is entirely optional but offers a chance to pay tribute to more than 120 years of competition among athletes from more than 200 nations. The 2020 Summer Games will run July 24 through Aug. 9 in Tokyo.The boat parade and decorated home contest are a highlight of the season in Ocean City. Thousands of spectators line the bay, and thousands more attend private parties at homes along the route from the Ocean City-Longport Bridge to Tennessee Avenue. A fireworks display caps off the bayfront festivities at dusk after the parade.Entries for boats and homes are currently being accepted online at www.ocnj.us/niv or by calling 609-399-6111.NIV Boat Registration NIV Condo RegistrationFree shuttle transportation will be available for spectators and free grandstands will be set up at street ends along the route. For more information on participating in the event or attending, visit www.ocnj.us/NIV or call 609-399-6111. “Brady Bunch” star Barry Williams, now 65, will serve as grand marshal for this year’s Doo Dah Parade and also hosts the Mr. Mature America Pageant. (Photo courtesy of Distractify.com)Tickets on sale for meet-and-greet with Barry Williams: Barry Williams, who starred as Greg Brady in the classic sitcom “The Brady Bunch,” will be grand marshal of the 2020 Doo Dah Parade in Ocean City on April 18 and return that night to emcee the Mr. Mature America Pageant.Tickets are on sale now for the pageant and starting on Wednesday, Feb. 26, tickets will be available for a chance to meet Williams. An afternoon “Meet and Greet” with Williams at the Ocean City Music Pier will start at 2:30 p.m. April 18 after the Doo Dah Parade.Tickets ($30) will include a fan selfie and one autographed photo provided to fans or one autographed personal item brought by the fan. A separate VIP Post-Show Package ($40) includes a VIP show ticket and a meet-and-greet after the show, including a fan selfie and one autographed photo (provided) or autographed personal item.The pageant is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, April 18 on the Ocean City Music Pier. The pageant includes competition among men age 55 and over in talent, judge’s interview, poise and appearance, and on-stage question.Tickets are available at oceancityvacation.com/boxoffice, by calling 609-399-6111 or at Ocean City’s welcome centers at City Hall and on the Route 52 causeway.Registration is now open for any contestant 55 or older who would like to participate. The Ocean City Music Pier crowd is raucous and appreciative as the contestants ham it up on stage. If you have what it takes to be the world’s next “Mr. Mature” (or if you can talk somebody into it), complete the online entry form available at www.ocnj.us/mrmature or call Michael Hartman at 609-525-9284 for more information. Deadline for sign-ups is March 15. Jack Merritt, 69, of West Grove, Pa., is crowned Mr. Mature America 2019.Free tickets available for March 15 Air Force Band Concert:The brass ensemble of the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band will perform 2 p.m. March 15 at the Ocean City Music Pier. The show will feature orchestral transcriptions, patriotic favorites, jazz standards, new compositions and distinctive arrangements.The concert is free, but anybody who wishes to attend must reserve a ticket in advance. Call 609-399-6111 or stop by the City Hall Welcome Center (861 Asbury Avenue) or the Roy Gillian Welcome Center on the Route 52 causeway.Also coming up: MARKET MADNESS (March 7): Boardwalk and downtown merchants in Ocean City will offer discounts on favorite local merchandise, goods and attractions at a new event planned for Saturday, March 7. “Market Madness” will take place 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the historic Flanders Hotel. Parking will be free, and food will be available for purchase a la carte. NIV House Registration “The Greatest Show” boat was a crowd pleaser at the 65th annual Night In Venice boat parade in 2019.
Major coffee house chains and bakeries have slammed proposals to prosecute and even shut down cafés with Wi-Fi access if they fail to stop customers accessing illegal material.Last-minute changes to the Digital Economy Bill due to become law before the general election mean that cafés, pubs and airports offering Wi-Fi could be prosecuted if customers view, download or share copyright-infringing material while on their premises.The amendments, already passed by the House of Lords and due to go before the Commons this summer, are part of the wider Bill aimed at stopping websites from illegally showing copyright-infringing material, such as football highlights, film clips or music videos.But coffee shop chains are concerned that the proposals to include shop owners have gone too far. Maggie Wright, spokeswoman for Coffee Republic, which has sites with Wi-Fi access across the UK, said: “We have looked at the contents of this Bill and are extremely concerned by some of the proposals.”Meanwhile, Clare Sheppard, spokeswoman for bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien, which has more than a dozen outlets with Wi-Fi across London, added: “The proposals seem to be unfair and unworkable.”Lord Clement-Jones, the Liberal Democrat peer who tabled the amendment, said the changes would offer a “more proportionate, specific and appropriate” way to tackle copyright infringement.