The holiday weekend didn’t appear to end for many beachgoers in Belmar this morning as visitors strolled the boardwalk with beach chairs in tow .
According to Belmar Mayor Matthew Doherty, this past Saturday was record-breaking. “Memorial Day weekend is always a big weekend for us,” he said. “It’s great kickoff for the beach and for the communities.”
More than 6,000 daily beach badges were sold on Saturday , amounting to more than $44,000. Belmar was recently voted the fifth best beach in New Jersey and the number one beach in Monmouth County . Mayor Doherty thinks the beach town’s new ranking was a major contributor in drawing even more visitors this year .
Taylor Hardware Store Manager Steven Freye thinks this year’s warm winter weather and early spring have people thinking about summer, which is good for business. Freye sold 250 beach chairs throughout the weekend, 100 more then last year. Freye said, “In the past few years, I would say this is, by far, 10 times busier.”
He adds that a drop in gas prices was another factor to the shore’s booming business — down 4.2 cents per gallon last week.
In Asbury Park, the Chamber of Commerce says it’s too early to know how many people purchased beach badges this weekend. But last season, 150,000 beach-goers visited Asbury Park and they expect that number to grow over the summer.
Lauren Wanko reports from Asbury Park.
Jackie Pappas, executive director of the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce, is excited. “We’re coming off a big weekend with Bamboozle here in Asbury Park and just a general awareness building,” she said.
According to Pappas, 10 to 15 new businesses opened in Asbury Park this year and the beach town has seen a steady growth in business throughout the past few years. Pure Health Bar just opened in January. This past weekend was their busiest yet.
And Bradley Beach resident Tom Keen, who’s on the hunt for his own summer supplies, says this past Memorial Day was noticeably the Jersey Shore’s busiest holiday weekend yet . “We were talking about how quiet it was last weekend,” said Keen. “And all of a sudden, this weekend, everything just started to come alive!”
And local officials are hoping to keep momentum alive throughout the summer season.