For over 68 years, Ocean City's Night in Venice has been one of the biggest spectacles of the Summers Season at the Jersey Shore, and this year's event theme brings together the best of Philadelphia Culture to South Jersey.

Night in Venice is a major highlight for many locals and vacationers in Ocean City and this year's event is Saturday, July 29, 2023 with the famous Parade starting at 6 pm. The theme for this year is “It’s a Philly Thing” and according to the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce the theme is "a chance to celebrate the rich history and culture of the Philadelphia region in sports, music, food, education, government, and more."

Along the Boat Parade route, there will be grandstands seating setup along the bay that are free admission on a first-come, first-served basis from Battersea Road to 16th Street.  The boat parade route will be starting near the Ocean City-Longport Toll Bridge then maneuver in and out of lagoons along the bayside to Tennessee Avenue. There will be Free Parking and Shuttle Service will run starting at 4 pm with the shuttles dropping off spectators at the street where they can watch the parade.  The free shuttle will return people to the parking lots afterward and the service will run until 10 pm on Saturday Night. Free Parking for shuttle service will be available at the following locations:

-Ocean City Community Center, located at 1735 Simpson Avenue
-Soccer Field at Tennessee Avenue, located off Shelter Road
-Ocean City Municipal Airport, located off 25th Street and Bay Avenue

There will be Parking Restrictions that will be strictly enforced starting at midnight on Friday, July 28th through midnight on Saturday, July 29th. The public is being advised by the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce that "Violators will be ticketed and in severe cases, the vehicles will be towed if public safety is affected. This is to allow for safe passage of all pedestrian and vehicle traffic and emergency vehicle access to isolated areas of the bayfront."  Here are the locations of the parking restrictions in Ocean City this weekend:

-The east side of Bay Avenue, between 14th Street and 16th Street
-Both sides of Bay Avenue between 16th Street and 24th Street
-West 16th Street, West 17th Street, and West 18th Street will have parking restrictions in place also

The Grand Marshall for this year's Night in Venice is Retired Action News anchor Jim Gardner and there will be some of Philadelphia's famous sports mascots participating in this year's boat parade including the Phillies' Phanatic, the Flyers’ Gritty, the Eagles’ SWOOP, and the Union’s Phang. After the Night in Venice Parade ends it's precession, there will be Fireworks launched from a barge in the bay north of the Ninth Street Bridge. Attendees for the Night in Venice Parade are encouraged to stay in their seating along the bay to fully enjoy the fireworks display.

The first Ocean City Night in Venice was in 1907 with a US Coast Guard boat holding more than two Auxiliary Coast Guard members leading the parade of boats while the bungalows along the bay were illuminated with lights and torches. There was a fireworks display at the end of the parade and a bonfire on one of the islands in the bay. Night in Venice became an annual event in Ocean City starting in the 1920's with the event becoming a staple of the Summer season.

New for this year's Night in Venice weekend will be a One Mile Walk and 5k Run sponsored by the Ocean City High School Cross Country/Track and Field Booster Club on Saturday, July 29th. Race day registration will begin at 7 am at the Ocean City Intermediate School basketball courts and the race will begin at 8 am with a flat, out-and-back course having runners and walkers traveling along Haven Avenue and the adjacent bike path. For more information about the race and registration, you can visit the race webpage here.

The winners of prizes for the best boats and houses along the parade route will be announced by noon on Sunday, July 20th at the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce website; There you can also learn more information about this year's Night in Venice Weekend.

25 Best Things to Do in South Jersey — From beaches to boardwalk and everything in between

More From 97.3 ESPN