Patriotic Wildwood

WILDWOOD — Two years ago, this Cape May County resort offered a moving tribute to veterans on Memorial Day weekend with the dedication of its stunning Vietnam Veterans Memorial, built with donations from the community and construction work donated by local labor unions.

But this star-spangled community may just outdo its own sense of patriotism this year when it hosts its first “Celebration of Heroes Festival” from May 25 to 27. It is being billed as a festival “Saluting America’s Military Service Men, Women & Families.”

Organizers say it will include a USO-style show, a military parade, live music, celebrity entertainment, fireworks and family fun. Several hundred thousand military personnel and their families are expected to attend.

The weekend will begin Friday evening with a dramatic drive-up caravan of veterans representing dozens of tri-state area motorcycle clubs, followed by a fireworks display.

Beach games, including soccer matches, softball games, Frisbee tosses, a treasure hunt and obstacle course, take center stage Saturday. A “Taste of the Wildwoods Food & Music Festival,” from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday at Fox Park, will incorporate the sights and sounds of other events Wildwood is famous for — its annual Irish, Italian, BBQ & Blues, Craft, Music and Seafood festivals.

At 9 a.m. Sunday, festival-goers can gather for the Celebration of Heroes’ Parade & Recognition Ceremony with marching bands, waving celebrities and veterans along Pacific Avenue and ending at the Wildwoods Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall at

Columbus Park, where the Heroes Recognition Ceremony will take place, along with an Air Force Flyover. The USO Variety Show will be at 8 Sunday night at the Wildwoods Convention Center’s Oceanfront Arena.

For information, go to www.wildwoodsnj.com/heroes.

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