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Memorial Day 2021

Atlantic County Magazine – GACCA Article

Print Date 5.21.2021

By Judy Brenna

As most of us know, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who fought and/or died for the preservation and pursuance of our freedom. We get to enjoy our day on the beach because our ancestors stormed another beach ((Normandy, #neverforget)). It is an annual time for parades, and flag-raising, and bunting-drapery, and wreath-laying, and for some reason it’s synonymous with burgers and hot dog and alcohol. But there is a very different, almost electric buzz in the air this year. I have a funny visual in my head of a mass of people in beach garb, clutching beach balls, pool floats, and Igloo coolers in the air, crammed at a start gate for a race, foaming at the mouths. Every establishment is gearing up (and their staff stretching out their muscles) for an unprecedented turnout this year ((as I hear Christopher Walken in my head chanting, “I’ve got a fever, and the only cure is… more cowbell”). The “fever” being the massive amounts of couped up people desperately needing to get out in the sunshine and blow-up Memorial Day Weekend like it’s 1999, and the “cow bell” being BBQ foods, sunshine, and copious quantities of alcohol. I mean, I get it. We didn’t “have” a Memorial Day last year. We didn’t get to celebrate anything, not in the true American Excess. All we had were Zoom cocktail hours ((and a few tear-soaked Hebrew Nationals)). So, the anticipation is palpable. Be forewarned, the city will still have a slightly different feel this year, because, yes, we still have Covid restrictions, but also, recreational “maryjane” has been legalized so expect the city to have a different smell as well.

Bar seating is back ((huzzah)), and restaurant seating capacity will go back up to 100% by this weekend, but there are a few things to take note. A handful of restaurants have bid adieu ((as restaurants like Olon and Okatshe, Bucca di Beppo, Arturo’s, Gallagher’s Steakhouse, Bobby Flay Steak, and Wolfgang Puck’s American Grill (to name just a few) wave so long and ride off into the dusty sunset)), and alas, there will be no Memorial Day Weekend Kick-Off Parade on the boardwalk. I am deeply saddened, but only because I am a parade-junkie. There is something about standing on the curb and watching cars and gaudily decorated floats drive by filled with people constantly smiling and waving at you. It gives me all the feels. But it’s ok. There are a TON of things to do in the city this holiday.

The Tanger Outlets are having a kick-off summer block party event, starting Friday, May 28th at 11 am. Visit the tent at 200 Plaza and enjoy FREE red, white and blue giveaways, provide by Xplosive Entertainment! Or try your luck at their Hole-In-One mini golf game! And to boot, Tanger members can enjoy free valet parking. Not a member? It’s super easy to join; I did! And once you’ve joined, you’ll have access to their coupon book. Almost every store will be running awesome discount specials. And there are more than a handful of great places to drop in for a break to give your feet a rest, and fuel up on great food. Check it out.

Another exciting place to be this Memorial Day Weekend is the Orange Loop. Three full beach blocks loaded with unique restaurants, bars, coffee shops, live music venues, yoga, and even a church! You could literally stay there all weekend long and have the time of your life. I highly recommend kicking off the weekend at Bourre with their first annual Cajun Pig Roast on Friday, May 28th, with live music by Gas Pedal Steel. If you’re a fan of BBQ this will take your satisfaction to a totally different level. Plus, on Saturday, May 29th they have Splintered Sunlight performing, (a fantastic Grateful Dead Tribute band), Sunday, May 30th featuring Joyride (celebrating the music of Dave Matthews), and Monday, May 31st with Constantine and The Frequency (featuring Constantine Maroulis, who I knew once upon a time in New York City). I’m tempted to show up just to see if he remembers me. Highly doubtful. But a girl can dream. I digress, the Orange Loop! And that’s just at Bourre! You have so many places to choose from, like my all-time fav, Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, featuring live music every night, and “King of the Wings” Pic-A-Lilli Pub, in my humble opinion the best bar in AC with finger-smacking wings and top-notch service.

And lastly, I have two words: Beach. Bar. What better way to kick off the summer than dropping by one of the super hot spots in Atlantic City. Choose from Bally's Beach Bar, Bungalow Beach Bar and Hookah Lounge, Chelsea Beach Bar, Hard Rock Beach Bar, LandShark Bar and Grill, Wonderbar, The Deck at Golden Nugget in the Marina, and if you're feeling extra, try Ocean Casino's HQ2 Beach Club.

Now… with all of this said. There is something you need to remember. And, yes, it will cause some eyebrow raises. Whether you are vaccinated or not, or believe it’s ridiculous or not, you will not be permitted into any venue without your mask. I have my own opinion and grumbles about masks. But, that’s just the way it is. It’s up to you whether you have fun or not. So, you just have to ask yourself one question, “do I feel lucky?”. Well do you, punk? Don’t forget your mask. Have fun, listen to some live music, enjoy awesome eats, and maybe win some moolah. Stay safe and be happy. Until next week, folks… #stayjerseystrong!

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