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 St. Michael’s Church, a historically Italian parish, but was celebrated on a different feast, the Assumption of Mary, held every year on August 15.
Whether the destination is the beach, the Boardwalk, or the casinos, the great appeal of Atlantic City is the Atlantic Ocean. 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 our 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 the Most Reverend Dennis Sullivan, Bishop of the Diocese of Camden. 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 St. Michael’s Church is returning for the second year. The festival will run from 1 to 8 PM. 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 St. Michael’s. Those who will attend the Mass may park their car at Boardwalk Hall and take a free jitney shuttle to the festival.
Wedding of the Sea Festival
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
11 AM Doors open at Boardwalk Hall, 2301 Boardwalk
Noon Introductory program followed by Mass of the Assumption of Mary
1:15 PM Procession to the surf for the Wedding of the Sea
1 PM Festival grounds open at St. Michael’s parking lot, 15 N. Georgia Ave.
8 PM Festival ends
The Parish of Saint Monica serves all Atlantic City, New Jersey. It is the union of the city’s previously independent five Roman Catholic churches: Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Saint Michael, Holy Spirit, and (Old) Saint Monica. To learn more, go to: http://accatholic.org/