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Ocean County ‘First Night’ 2021: Polar Bears, Superheroes, Fireworks Planned

Fireworks. (Credit: jeff_golden/Flickr)

Fireworks. (Credit: jeff_golden/Flickr)

Seaside Heights will revive Ocean County’s family-friendly New Years Eve afternoon celebration with new features to “delight participants,” organizers said. A polar bear, superheroes, reptile demonstrations, “train” rides on the Boardwalk, and much more are in store at First Night Ocean County, scheduled to be held Friday from 12 noon to 5 p.m.

Rocky, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear and a fun winter photo scene, planned for Shake Shoppe Arcade, is expected to be a particularly popular photo op for families. In addition to Shake Shoppe, First Night activity venues include Casino Arcade, Coin Castle, and Lucky Leo’s Arcade.

Caricaturists will be drawing at Lucky Leo’s and Shake Shoppe to capture attendee’s uniqueness and send them home with a portrait to smile about. Hands-on learning experiences with animal and reptile shows from Rizzo’s Wildlife World at Casino Arcade and NJ Snake Man at Coin Castle will entertain all ages. Ken the Magician will perform at Casino Arcade. Attendees can join in song and dance looking forward to the New Year with Yosi Music at Lucky Leo’s. Photo opportunities with favorite characters such as Web Slinger and Captain A at Coin Castle, Cocomelon at Casino Arcade, and Mickey and Minnie at Lucky Leo’s will provide lasting memories! Weather permitting, the celebration will culminate with fireworks at 5 p.m. launched from the southern beach.


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Participants in First Night Ocean County purchase a wrist band and passport that entitles them to join in the activities at the four arcades and catch a ride on the Boardwalk trains. Attendee passports stamped at all four First Night venues can be entered into a drawing for a children’s beach cart of prizes or adult beach cart of prizes, each valued at more than $250.

Wristband/passport purchasers receive a minimum of $10 in arcade play and participation in the entertainment, plus adults receive a coupon for a one-day Seaside Heights beach badge. Children’s wristbands/passports are $6 and adults $10. Wristbands are available at participating arcades during the event. On-street parking and parking in municipal parking lots is free during the event.

First Night has been a popular New Year’s Eve afternoon attraction on the Boardwalk for more than a decade. Last year, the pandemic necessitated the event be fully virtual. First Night is designed as a family-oriented, alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration observed in communities throughout the United States.

First Night Ocean County details are available on-line at exit82.com/firstnight. First Night is produced by the Seaside Heights Business Improvement District.

Here is a full schedule of the events:

Casino Arcade

  • 12-12:45 Rizzo’s Wildlife World
  • 1:15-2 Ken the Magician
  • 2-4 JJ the Watermelon Head
  • 2:30-3:15 Rizzo’s Wildlife World
  • 3:30-4:30 Ken the Magician

Coin Castle

  • 12-5 NJ snake man
  • 12-5 Superheroes

Shake Shoppe

  • 12-5 Caricaturists
  • Three appearances by Rocky the Coca Cola polar bear

Lucky Leos

  • 12-5 Caricaturists
  • 1-1:45 Yosi musical show
  • 2:30-4:30 Meet the famous mouse couple
  • 3-3:45 Yosi musical show


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