Thousands expected at Wedding of the Sea

Thousands expected at Wedding of the Sea

The Wedding of the Sea Festival is the signature annual event of the citywide Parish of Saint Monica in Atlantic City.

The Wedding of the Sea tradition began in Venice around the year 1000 AD. The civil and religious leaders of Venice performed an annual “wedding” between the city and the Mediterranean Sea on the feast of the Ascension of Christ. The ritual symbolized the maritime power’s vital relationship to the sea.

The tradition came to Atlantic City through Saint Michael’s Church, a historically Italian parish, but was celebrated on a different feast, the Assumption of Mary, held every year on Aug. 15.

The Wedding of the Sea celebrates the relationship of the city and the sea and asks God to grant success to the work of so many to build up the great city.

At noon on August 15, a brief program will begin the day’s events in the Adrian Phillips Ballroom of Boardwalk Hall. Atlantic County Freeholder Chairman Frank Formica will speak. Formica is also the third-generation owner of Formica Bros. Bakery.

Madison Dougherty, a fifth-generation member of the Dougherty family, owners of Dock’s Oyster House and Knife and Fork Inn, will sing “God Bless America.”

The Mass of the Assumption of Mary immediately follows the program, celebrated by Bishop Dennis Sullivan.

Dr. Steven Ball and Kenny I Entertainment will provide the music.

A procession to the surf will follow the Mass, where Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian will join Bishop Sullivan in a lifeboat for the traditional wreath toss into the sea. All are welcome to attend.

The festival event at Saint Michael’s Church is returning for the second year. The festival will run from 1 to 8 p.m. The festival is free and open to the public and includes 10 restaurant vendors, a beer garden, live music, children’s games, caricature and balloon artists, and more. Food includes Italian, American, Hispanic, Vietnamese, seafood, and gourmet desserts. There will be both outdoor and air-conditioned indoor seating.

Free parking is available across Georgia Avenue from Ducktown Tavern. Visitors may also park at The Wave Parking Garage on Fairmount Avenue. Both locations are only a block from Saint Michael’s. Those who will attend the Mass may park their car at Boardwalk Hall and take a free jitney shuttle to the festival.

The event details follow:

Wedding of the Sea Festival, Tuesday, August 15

11 a.m. — Doors open at Boardwalk Hall, 2301 Boardwalk

Noon — Introductory program followed by Mass of the Assumption of Mary

1:15 p.m. — Procession to the surf for the Wedding of the Sea

1 p.m. — Festival grounds open at Saint Michael’s parking lot, 15 N. Georgia Ave.

8 p.m. — Festival ends


The Wedding of the Sea in Wildwood

A Wedding of the Sea ceremony will be held at Notre Dame de la Mer Parish, Wildwood, on Monday, Aug. 14. The event will begin at 4 p.m. with choir and orchestra. Bishop Dennis Sullivan will celebrate Mass at Saint Ann Church at 4:30 p.m.

A procession to the beach, with the blessing of the sea, will follow Mass.

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