Ship Bottom Transforms to Winter Wonderland Ahead of Annual Christmas Parade

Nov 22, 2017
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Ship Bottom with municipal workers stringing up decorations along the Boulevard as the borough preps for its 38th annual Christmas parade Dec. 2. The grand marshal for this year’s celebratory festivities is Robert Potter, who has a ton of great memories of past Christmas parades.

There’s the one from when he was a Long Beach Township police officer, and they arrested the Grinch, he recalled. Or the time Elvis made an appearance on the Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Co.’s float, and some of the members jumped out singing.

“I love this parade,” he said, “and I love my town, the Island. I always have.”

Potter, who grew up in New Rochelle, N.Y., but spent his summers at his grandparents’ house in West Creek with frequent trips to the Island, said he was a little hesitant about accepting the grand marshal duties. His wife, though, convinced him he should do it, and he always listens to his wife.

“The Island community is just one big family,” he said, recalling why he came back to the Island after serving in the Air Force from 1964 to 1968. “We’re the caretakers.”

The parade, with a “Deck the Hulls” theme this year, kicks off at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2 and runs until 3 p.m. The parade course is from Fifth to 25th Street along the Boulevard. The judging station is at 16th Street and the Boulevard. Restrooms are located at borough hall and the Grace Calvary Church, 17th Street and the Boulevard. This year marks the first time students from the Southern Regional News Network will be announcing the parade.

A few reminders for the day of the parade: dress in layers so you can add or take away clothing as determined by the weather, bring beach chairs or blankets if you want to sit during the parade, and don’t forget to bring your letters for Santa Claus for the postal cancellation stamp.

Lastly, if you’re traveling from the mainland, please leave extra time for travel as the Causeway traffic pattern is down to one-lane in each direction using the south side of the bridge. If you do end up in a traffic snare, be patient and exercise safe driving. Motorists shouldn’t enter an intersection if they cannot safely make it across the roadway before the light turns.

For real-time travel information, motorists are encouraged to check the  state Department of Transportation’s traffic information website,

Looking for something to do Friday night? Don’t forget to check out the borough’s tree lighting, sponsored by the Ship Bottom Merchants Association, at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1 in front of borough hall.

Gina G. Scala

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