Next Exit Shore Guide (week of June 19-25)

 A sculpture by Damon Langlois of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada at last year's festival. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

A sculpture by Damon Langlois of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada at last year's festival. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Summer is officially here. The solstice is upon us and that is plenty reason for heading to the Jersey shore. Daylight hours are at their peak with 15 hours of sunshine. 

Atlantic City

Building sand castles at the shore is a classic summertime activity. In Atlantic City, however, they like to go big with next level sandy creations.

It was back in 1897 when Philip McCord created a sand sculpture of a drowned woman and baby on Atlantic City’s beach. Credited as being a pioneer of sand art, his name now graces a new award to be presented at the Do AC Sand Sculpture World Cup.

Now in its second year (See photos from 2013), the competition will see 20 international sand sculptors transform 500 tons of imported local river sand into elaborate three-dimensional works. From June 19 until July 6 they will compete in singles and doubles matches for both a cash prize and the first-ever Philip McCord Cup.

Another new addition to the event is a post World War II Italian beach game called Cheecoting. The game is open to public and involves racing plastic marbles on a sand course.

Individual sand sculpting competitors will actively sculpt from June 19-22 and teams will shape their creations from June 24-27. The awards ceremony will take place on Fri, June 27. Viewers will be able to see all of the sculptures through July 6 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Atlantic City Beach at Pennsylvania Ave. (near Steel Pier), Atlantic City, NJ.

It makes sense for the shore points to celebrate the gifts of the sea. Their history, ecology, economy and culture are dependent on all the Atlantic Ocean has bestowed upon New Jersey.

Sea Isle City

On Thursday (6/19), Sea Isle City brings back its Sara the Turtle Festival. The free event is named for the town’s six-foot granite statue of a Diamondback Terrapin Turtle (“Sara”) and helps to bring awareness to the plight of the endangered turtles. During the last two weeks of June each year, thousands of terrapins are killed by motorists when females migrate from salt marshes inland to lay their eggs.

Geared toward families with young children, a big hit is the festival’s Diaper Derby – a crawling contest for babies. Older children, ages two to 12, can compete in the Turtle Races. Kids and adults can get up close and personal with terrapin turtles and other live animals on exhibit from New Jersey Nature and The Wetlands Institute. There will also be hands-on displays from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center and Sea Isle City’s Environmental Commission and Beachcomber Guides.

Live entertainment will be provided by the Turtlesingers, who sing about different varieties of live turtles and their role in nature. Thurs, June 19, 7-9 p.m. – Excursion Park, JFK Blvd. and Pleasure Ave., Sea Isle City, N.J.

Tuckerton

Billed as one of New Jersey’s top 10 outdoor festivals (per New Jersey Monthly magazine), Tuckerton’s two-day Baymen’s Seafood & Music Festival, returns this weekend. Attendees can feast on Jersey fresh shellfish and microbrews while listening to live music from Mott’s Creek Pickers and the Billy Walton Band. General admission applies. The festival is this Saturday and Sunday – Tuckerton Seaport, 120 W. Main St., Tuckerton, N.J.

North Wildwood

Honoring the 140 year history of the East Coast’s only Victorian Stick-style lighthouse is the reason behind the 5th annual Hereford Inlet Lighthouse Maritime Festival. Designed by Paul J. Pelz, the lighthouse was shuttered in 1964, but ongoing restoration since 1982 has reopened the landmark to the public.

The free festival features 100 vendors, an antique boat show, youth art show, book signings and live music (sea chanteys!). Sunday is Pirate Day where festival-goers can play dress up for a chance to win $100 gift certificate for best individual or $200 for best couple costumes. Sat, June 21, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sun, June 22, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – 111 N. Central Ave., North Wildwood, NJ.

Somers Point

The 2nd annual Jersey Gumbo Cook-Off and Music Festival puts a Jersey shore twist on classic bayou cuisine. More than 20 regional chefs and restaurants will compete with their takes on the dish. Music from the Radiators/Raw Oyster Cult, Billy Walton of Southside Johnny’s Asbury Jukes, plus Jill West and Blues Attack. Tickets are $25. Saturday, June 21, 1-10 p.m. – 1 W. Jersey Ave. at Bethel Rd., Somers Point, N.J.

Seaside Heights

It’s all about fast cars and fast foods at Seaside Heights’ Hot Rods & Food Trucks fair. Auto enthusiasts and foodies can check out hundreds of classic cars and over a dozen gourmet food trucks, like Chimney Cake Factory, Mary Queen of Pork, El Lechon de Negron, Zinna’s Bistro, Sanducci’s Wood Fired Pizza and Hoffman’s Ice Cream. There will also be an extreme food truck showdown. Free admission. Sat, June 21, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Bay Blvd. and Grant Ave., Seaside Heights, N.J.

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