Ocean County Press Release
WITH temperatures hovering in the mid-60s and low 70s in the last days of February, Ocean County officials are encouraging residents and tourists to get off the couch and get outside.

"The mild winter is a great time to experience the wonderful offerings here in Ocean County," said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who is liaison to tourism and business development. "The weather is perfect for a walk in the park, on the boardwalk or any of the downtown business districts.

"We often talk about extending the tourism season and this is the perfect time to do it," Vicari said.

While the tourism season traditionally runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, businesses from bars and restaurants to amusements, are welcoming visitors and residents daily during warm winter days.

"The boardwalks in Seaside Heights, Seaside Park and Point Pleasant Beach are all bustling," Vicari said. "We are encouraging our residents to get out and enjoy all these activities now before the official start of tourism season. It's a huge help with our "Buy Local" campaign."

Vicari said residents and visitors can access all that is happening around Ocean County throughout the year by looking no further than the County's tourism website at www.oceancountytourism.com. The tourism information also can be accessed on social media on Facebook at www.facebook/tourismoceancounty.

"We encourage everyone to ‘Like' this page on Facebook," Vicari said. "So when the weekend approaches or when you plan your vacation in Ocean County you will know what is happening here and you will see that we have a lot to offer.

"We have great events happening year-round in all parts of the County, whether the northern barrier island or Long Beach Island," Vicari said. "Sometimes the cold winters make us want to do nothing more than stay home and watch television. Recent warm temperatures though make this the perfect time to enjoy beaches and boardwalks, the arts and a host of other attractions."

Vicari noted that tourism plays a major role in the county's economy and it's important that visitors and residents are aware of events that are happening and places they can go.

"Tourism brings in $4.6 billion annually into Ocean County's economy and helps provide jobs to more than 70,000 people," Vicari said. "Warm weather in the winter months provides a boost to this industry and to the economy."

Also during these months many businesses are preparing for the summer season with new boardwalk rides, renovations to some favorite attractions and putting the finishing touches on events for the summer of 2017.

For instance, Vicari noted that at Jenkinson's Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach the Fun House will be expanding with new features. In addition, the Aquarium which is a year-round favorite, is getting a full facelift on the exterior and some enhancements to the interior to offer a new experience.

And the ride park at Jenkinson's will have a new drop ride called " the Pirate Plunge."

Casino Pier in Seaside Heights is completing the pier expansion with one of its newest features the Hydrus roller coaster which is 72 feet high and fully assembled. It will be open by summer. In addition, a new ferris wheel that is 141 feet high is scheduled to open this summer. There also will be new game stands and food stands on the pier.

"Many of the amusements open around the weekend of April 8 and 9 with many families enjoying Easter at the boardwalk the following weekend," Vicari said.

Visitors to the Seaside Park beach and boardwalk this summer will find four new pavilions along with kiosks and a tiki bar. New eateries and new shops will be included.

"I applaud the business owners for investing in the boardwalks and towns in order to give our visitors the best vacation experience possible," Vicari said. "Ocean County has so much to offer residents and visitors throughout the year, I encourage everyone to get outside, take advantage of the warm weather and enjoy all that we have to offer here in Ocean County."

He noted the County also operates two public county golf courses – the Atlantis County Golf Course in Little Egg Harbor Township and the Forge Pond County Golf Course in Brick Township.

"For the experienced golfer or the beginner these courses are well maintained and affordable," he said. "Take advantage of this weather and get out on the links."

He added the County operates 25 parks many with nature trails and environmental centers.

"Taking a walk is great for your health and your mind," Vicari said. "Ocean County has great trails including the Barnegat Branch Trail which extends from Barnegat Township and travels north for several miles. It's the perfect way to spend a day and enjoy nature's finest."

Vicari noted there is also plenty happening on Long Beach Island and in Southern Ocean County from the April 23rd LBI Wedding Road Show, the May 6 Tuckerton Pork Roll vs Taylor Ham Food Truck and Brewfest which brings a new sizzle to the food truck circuit at Tuckerton Seaport, the Hop Sauce Festival which has an extended music line up and craft beer offerings on June 3 and from June 8 until 11 the Lighthouse International Film Festival, to name a few events.

"Whether you just want to walk a park trail or enjoy a weekend event, we have it all in Ocean County," Vicari said. "And warm winter days are the perfect times to introduce yourself to all the great things we have here."

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