June 27, 2023
The Night in Venice boat parade is a highlight of summers down the shore — as thousands of spectators line the Ocean City bayfront to watch intricately decorated vessels pass by — and this year's event will have a particularly Philly vibe.
Retired 6ABC news anchor Jim Gardner will act as the grand marshal for the 2023 Night in Venice event, scheduled for Saturday, July 29. Along with having an iconic local figure as the guest of honor, the 68th annual event will be centered on all things Philadelphia.
This year's theme is “It’s a Philly Thing,” which fans may recognize as a slogan of the NFC East champion Eagles. Participants are encouraged to decorate their houses or boats in ways that pay homage to the history and culture of the City of Brotherly Love, and the best of the best will be selected as winners by a group of judges.
The parade route kicks off at 6 p.m. from the Ocean City-Longport Bridge to Tennessee Avenue, and free grandstands will be set up at street ends along the route. There also will be a special viewing area with entertainment and food at the Bayside Center, while countless homes along the bay throw private viewing parties.
Night in Venice is the latest in a string of well-deserved celebrations for Gardner, who retired from 6ABC last year after spending more than four decades with the local TV station that he joined in 1976. Gardner was a staple on the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts, and the longtime anchor was so beloved by residents in the Delaware Valley that fans threw him a tailgate in December to commemorate his final appearance on air.
Night in Venice is a Jersey Shore tradition that began in 1954 as a way to commemorate Ocean City's 75th anniversary. Last year's event also featured major Philly flair, with a "Mummers: Struttin' on the Bay" theme and retired Villanova coach Jay Wright as a grand marshal.
Interested participants can enter their boats and homes in the 2023 Night in Venice parade online or by calling 609-399-6111.