Lando Calrissian, who lost the Millennium Falcon in a bet against Han Solo before becoming a hero in the Rebel Alliance, will visit OC-Con this weekend and provide one of the highlights of the second annual comic and memorabilia festival on Saturday and Sunday (April 1 and 2).
Like the cantina in “Star Wars,” the Ocean City Music Pier will be filled with characters and creatures of every kind for the weekend event. OC-Con celebrates comics, movies and science fiction in a family event scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Billy Dee Williams, who played Calrissian in “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” will be one of the featured guests. He will appear for photo, autograph and Q&A sessions on Saturday. Seth Gilliam (Father Gabriel Stokes in “The Walking Dead,” Sgt. Ellis Carver in “The Wire” and Sugar Watkins in “Starship Troopers”) will be featured on Sunday.
OC-Con opens with a one-mile costumed Superhero Run on the boardwalk at 10 a.m. Saturday. A Superhero Obstacle Dash for 12-and-unders follows on the beach at 11 a.m.
Exhibits and panel discussions include, among many more:
* Paris Cullins of DC & Marvel Comics
* Rusty Gilligan of Marvel, Heavy Metal and Upper Deck
* Bob Petrecca of DC & Marvel Comics and Upper Deck
* Eric Cooper, author of the Sci-Fi/Superhero “Knight Seeker” book series
* Garland Holloman, South Jersey’s “Best Graphic Artist” title winner
* Philip McNulty of “Man O War,” “SmodCo Cartoon Show,” and “X-Men”
* Don J. Morgan, publisher of the “Films vs. Movies” webcomic
* Tom Schloendorn, a freelance inker for Imperium Comics
OC-Con tickets: Adult admission is $10 per day or $15 for both days. Children (12 and under) are $5 per day or $8 for both days. A limited number of tickets (check times and prices) are still available for exclusive photo, autograph and Q&A sessions with Williams and Gilliam. Visit oceancityvacation.com/boxoffice, call 609-399-6111, or stop by the City Hall Welcome Center (Ninth Street and Asbury Avenue) or the Roy Gillian Welcome Center on the Route 52 causeway. Tickets also will be available at the Ocean City Music Pier on the day of the event.
Superhero Run and Obstacle Dash: Run registration fee is $15 and includes admission to the show and a T-shirt. The fee for 12-and-unders is $10 and includes the Obstacle Dash as well as admission and a T-shirt. Register online. For complete information on all of OC-Con: ocnjcon.com
GIRLS WEEKEND ADDS TO FUN IN OCEAN CITY
If OC-Con is not their thing, moms and others can escape to downtown Ocean City for the second annual Girls Weekend from March 31 to April 2.
The event features hotel and bed-and-breakfast packages, dining offers, shopping discounts, a fashion show, prizes, yoga and wellness classes, craft projects and demonstrations at various locations throughout Ocean City. The event provides a good reason to escape to the shore early in the season and to see what Ocean City’s downtown retail district has to offer. The latest event schedule, and lists of hotel, inn and spa specials are attached here and posted on the Girls Weekend Facebook event page.
The weekend begins at 7 p.m. Friday, March 31, with a Fashion Show at Glazed Over Studios (704 Asbury Avenue) with doors opening at 6 p.m. Tickets ($20) are available at locations throughout town and by calling (609) 399-1412.
TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR MR. MATURE AMERICA PAGEANT WITH REGIS PHILBIN
TV icon Regis Philbin will be host of the Mr. Mature America Pageant, Ocean City’s tribute to men ages 55 and older, at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 8, on the Ocean City Music Pier.
Tickets ($25 to $35) are still available at oceancityvacation.com/boxoffice, by calling 609-399-6111, or in-person at the City Hall Welcome Center or the Roy Gillian Welcome Center on the Route 52 causeway.
The pageant includes competition in talent, judge’s interview, poise and appearance, and on-stage question. Philbin will conduct the on-stage interviews with contestants.
Philbin left his “Live” show after 28 years in November of 2011. Since then Regis has been enjoying his more relaxed schedule with guest roles on television sitcoms, making appearances on daytime and late night talk shows, and very often appearing with his good friend, Don Rickles, in night-time venues across the country.
The historic Flanders Hotel returns as a founding sponsor this year. The Flanders will cater meals for contestants and will offer special rates for attendees during the pageant weekend. Boardwalk merchant We Make It Personal will provide prizes.
MORE SPRING EVENTS
“BYE BYE BIRDIE” (March 30 to April 1): The Ocean City High School Drama Guild will stage four performances of the legendary musical. Shows are 7 p.m. March 30, March 31 and April 1 with a matinee at 2 p.m. April 1 at the Hughes Performing Arts Center at the high school on the beach block of Sixth Street. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and senior citizens. They will be available at the door or by calling 609-399-1290, ext. 1442.
FROM BOCELLI TO BARTON: THE RICHARD TUCKER OPERA GALA (March 30): The first in a series of free film screenings of the Lincoln Center’s finest performances features Andrea Bocelli, Renee Fleming, Angela Gheorghiu and others. The film starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Chris Maloney Lecture Hall.
GIRLS WEEKEND (March 31-April 2): Features hotel and bed-and-breakfast packages, dining offers, shopping discounts, a fashion show, prizes, yoga and wellness classes, craft projects and demonstrations at various locations throughout Ocean City. Information: Girls Weekend Facebook event page.
OC-CON (April 1-2): Meet-the-artist sessions, discussion panels, costume contests, a superhero run, and the display and sale of comic books and memorabilia on the Ocean City Music Pier. Special guests Billy Dee Williams and Seth Gilliam. Autograph, photo and Q&A sessions available. Information – ocnjcon.com.
EDIBLE BOOK FESTIVAL (April 5): Book lovers and food lovers are invited to come see and vote on entries in a contest that includes food creations that play on book titles. Voting is from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with sampling of the treats until 3 p.m. Call 609-399-2434, ext. 5222 for more information and to register an entry.
OC POPS BRASS (April 7): The first in a series of concerts featuring Ocean City Pops members includes the OC Pops Brass. Free admission to the 7 p.m. performance at the Ocean City Free Public Library.
DOO DAH PARADE (April 8): Noon on Asbury Avenue and the Ocean City Boardwalk. Free. Regis Philbin will be grand marshal and hundreds of basset hounds will highlight the annual spring celebration of humor. The shaving-cream pie-smooshing Pie-asco (at the Ocean City Music Pier) and the Basset Hound Olympics (on the practice field on the beach block of Sixth Street) follow the parade.
MR. MATURE AMERICA PAGEANT (April 8): Regis Philbin hosts the annual tribute to men 55 and older at 7 p.m. on the Ocean City Music Pier. Sponsored by Flanders. oceancityvacation.com/boxoffice
THE GREAT EGG HUNT (April 8): The first of two egg hunts on the beach between 11th and 14th streets. Starts at 2:30 p.m.
THE GREAT EGG HUNT (April 15): The second of two egg hunts on the beach between 11th and 14th streets. Starts at 2:30 p.m.
EASTER SUNRISE SERVICE (April 16): Traditional nondenominational service starts at 6:30 a.m. on the Ocean City Music Pier.
EASTER FASHION PROMENADE (April 16): Judging begins at 1 p.m. in front of the Ocean City Music Pier. The Philly Keys, a dueling piano show, will start at noon.
OC POPS EARTH DAY (April 21): The second in a series of concerts featuring Ocean City Pops members includes music inspired by nature in honor of Earth Day. Featuring violin, bassoon and piano. Free admission to the 7 p.m. performance at the Ocean City Free Public Library.
SPRING FESTIVAL OF GUARANTEED AMERICAN HANDICRAFTS AND FINE ART (April 22-23): 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Ocean City Music Pier. All crafts and art are guaranteed to be made in the U.S. by the artisan in the booth. The $3 admission in part benefits local charities. Call 800-822-4112 for more information.
CURTAIN UP: THE SCHOOL OF AMERICAN BALLET WORKSHOP PERFORMANCES (April 27): The second in a series of free film screenings of the Lincoln Center’s finest
performances includes some of the best of ballet. The film starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Chris Maloney Lecture Hall.
BOARDWALK AND DOWNTOWN MERCHANT TABLE SALES (April 29 and 30): Between Sixth and 14th streets on the boardwalk and downtown Asbury Avenue.
SJ SHORE MARCH FOR BABIES (April 30): Five-mile walk on the Ocean City Boardwalk starts at noon. Register at www.marchforbabies.org/event/sjshore.
SPRING BLOCK PARTY (May 6): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Asbury Avenue from Fifth Street to 14th Street. More than 350 crafters, food vendors, music and more. Call 800-BEACH-NJ.
BOARDWALK AND DOWNTOWN MERCHANT TABLE SALES (May 6-7): Between Sixth and 14th streets on the boardwalk and downtown Asbury Avenue.
TICKETS CURRENTLY ON SALE
Tickets for Ocean City shows are available at oceancityvacation.com/boxoffice, by calling 609-399-6111, or in-person at the City Hall Welcome Center or the Roy Gillian Welcome Center on the Route 52 causeway. Tickets for the summer rock concert series on the Ocean City Music Pier are available at www.ticketmaster.com.