Attired in business wear, the plunge participants march into the waves to officially “open” the ocean for the summer tourism season. By Maddy VitaleOcean City is smiling yet again as the “Happiest Seaside Town of 2018” just received another accolade from Coastal Living Magazine. The resort was just ranked one of the best places on the coast for Memorial Day weekend.So, if you plan on heading down, you made the right decision for the huge weekend that will showcase some zany fun, including Friday’s Business Persons Plunge. People attired in formal business wear take a brisk dip in the ocean to welcome the summer near the Music Pier as part of the annual tradition. The location is also the spot where city officials “unlock” the beach and the ocean with a giant, ceremonial key.In addition to Ocean City, for the best places to go on Memorial Day weekend, the Coastal Living Top 10 list also includes these communities: Charleston, S.C., Honolulu, Hawaii, Long Island, N.Y., New Orleans, La., Put-in-Bay, Ohio, San Diego and San Francisco Calif., Virginia Beach, Va., and Washington, D.C.Coastal Living’s writer, Bob Curley, wrote of Ocean City, “The key to a great summer on the beach is unlocking the ocean — or at least that’s how they roll down on the Jersey Shore: each Memorial Day weekend, Ocean City lifeguards and politicians march down to the beach with a “magical” key to ceremonially kick off the season. Other weekend events include laying a memorial wreath in the surf and a mass plunge into the ocean by people dressed in business attire — briefcases and all.”Retired Ocean City Public Relations Director Mark Soifer officially unlocks the beach in May 2018.Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michele Gillian called it an honor to be recognized by Coastal Living Magazine for all of the activities and events “America’s Greatest Family Resort” has to offer.“To be named with Charleston and Hawaii … what an honor,” she said. “It shows Ocean City is always looking at the big picture of events and activities, from riding bikes, to the beaches, to the bay, birdwatching, fishing and swimming.”She continued, “We have shopping and fantastic eateries. Ocean City is a great place, every day. We have a good weather prediction but if not, Ocean City is a great place for every day. We hope people enjoy their vacations here or become part of the community.”Ocean City gained national recognition starting in 2016 when Coastal Living Magazine named the resort “America’s Best Beach.” Coastal Living continued to heap on the awards in 2018 by proclaiming Ocean City as “America’s Happiest Seaside Town.”The latest award, plus predictions for good weather, give Ocean City momentum heading into the Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the summer tourism season. Gillian said the city is ready to welcome the throngs of people coming to the resort for the holiday weekend.“We are anticipating a similar Memorial Day weekend to last year’s with about 80,000 people. We have a lot of second homeowners who come down. This is a big weekend where neighbors get back with their neighbors,” Gillian said. “I know the stores are bracing. All of the places are ready to welcome people back. It will be a great weekend.”Gillian said of the whimsical way the resort brings in the summer season, “The unlocking of the ocean. What couldn’t be better than that?”Ocean City’s family-friendly Boardwalk attracts big crowds each year.The “unlocking of the ocean” leads up to a weekend of family-friendly activities, including a run called 31 Memorial Beach Challenge. The run has an obstacle course challenge in a “soft sand adventure race” that Gillian said attracts a lot of families.Gillian also said the business community is very excited to see the start of the 2019 season.“We think it will be smooth sailing from here until First Night,” she said, referring to Ocean City’s New Year’s Eve celebration. “We welcome all of the people who will visit our beaches, bay, Boardwalk, downtown, rides and attractions, retail shops, and great restaurants.”For more information on Ocean City, visit www.OceanCityVacation.com or call 1-800-BEACH-NJ. Ocean City has received numerous awards throughout the years. For a complete list of honors, visit www.oceancityvacation.com/about-the-island/awards.htmlBeachgoers enjoy sunshine on a big June 2018 beach day.