Revelers ended summer on a festive note at a beach party in South Seaside Park Sunday.
Under sunny skies on the beach in front of Chef Mike’s ABG restaurant next to Island Beach State Park, the few hundred guests relaxing in beach chairs enjoyed tap craft beer, land and sea dishes, and delectable desserts as part of “The Endless Summer Party,” sponsored by Jersey Shore Restaurant Week and hosted by Chef Mike’s ABG.
“This is the first time we’ve done this ‘Endless Summer Party,” said Jersey Shore Restaurant Week chairman Jim Flynn. “We decided, you know, people need a way to get out and something to do after the horrible storm we experienced.”
A portion of the event’s proceeds went to Hometown Heroes, a non-profit organization that has been actively involved in Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts.
The beach party featured donated food from Brandi in Belmar, Firefly in Manasquan, Prime 13 in Point Pleasant Beach, Jersey Shore BBQ in Belmar, Joe Leone’s in Point Pleasant Beach, Chef Mike’s ABG in South Seaside Park, and Creative Desserts in Brick. Beers from Flying Fish Brewery in Somedale and East Coast Beer Company in Point Pleasant Beach flowed all afternoon.
But many attendees said the event was more than just food and drink; it was a celebration of resiliency and shore life.
“You couldn’t ask for a more perfect day,” said Jan Humphreys, an Ocean Grove resident who summers in South Seaside Park, while watching surfers ride clean waves in the warm water. “The weather’s nice. The music’s perfect. My community is here. It doesn’t get much better than this.”
The festive crowd was kept energized by sounds from Uke & Drum, offering a uniquely fun take on classic rock, reggae, and other modern music — all with an island vide.
Chef Mike’s ABG’s Mike Jurusz said he was “very, very happy” about the party.
“The gods were shining upon us today and really wanted us to make this happen. A great, great turnout,” he said. “A lot of people came by and just — it’s a great support for Restore the Shore. We really want to help these guys out and get everyone back on their feet.”
A few minutes before autumn struck at 4:44 p.m., Jurusz announced that he wanted everyone to stand in front of the lifeguard stand for “the last photo of summer.”
“Raise you drinks!”
Moments later, summer ended, and Tim Husar, a local resident, was pleased.
“We ended a tumultuous summer on a happy note.”