LeVar Burton Headlines OC-Con Festival
LeVar Burton’s career included serving as host and executive producer of the beloved PBS children’s series “Reading Rainbow.” (Photo courtesy City of Ocean City) “Star Trek” icon LeVar Burton will highlight this year’s OC-Con Comic Book and Memorabilia Festival at the Ocean City Music Pier.Now in its fourth year, the festival will return to early spring after being held in June last year. The event will help kick off Ocean City’s 2019 calendar of special events on April 6 and 7. Burton, the star of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” will be a special guest for both days. Tickets will go on sale Friday, Feb. 22, for exclusive photo and autograph sessions. Visit oceancityvacation.com/boxoffice, call 609-399-6111, or stop by the City Hall Welcome Center (Ninth Street and Asbury Avenue) or the Roy Gillian Welcome Center on the Route 52 causeway.OC-Con features meet-the-artist sessions, discussion panels, costume contests, and the display and sale of comic books and memorabilia. Show hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 6, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 7. Imperial Stormtroopers Brad Hall, left, and John Kearney entertained the Star Wars fans during the OC-Con show in 2017.Burton launched his acting career while still a student at the University of Southern California. At age 19, he was cast in the groundbreaking role of Kunta Kinte in the landmark television series “Roots.” In recent years, he achieved further acclaim as Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge in the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” television series and films. But he says he is most proud of his role as host and executive producer of the beloved PBS children’s series “Reading Rainbow,” which aired from 1983 to 2009 and became one of the longest-running children’s television shows in history.He will be part of a Q&A session (free with regular admission) at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 7. Exclusive meet-and-greet sessions ($20 for selfie photos, $25 for autographs on picture provided at show, $50 for autographs on any specialty items not provided by show) will be held 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 6, 10:30 a.m. to noon April 7 and again 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. April 7.Registration remains open to artists, vendors, cosplayers and “superhero” runners and obstacle course racers. Visit www.ocnjcon.com for complete information on all of OC-Con. COMING UP SOON:MARK SOIFER POETRY READING (Feb. 20): Ocean City’s longtime public relations director – the mastermind behind events from Martin Z. Mollusk Day to the Miss Crustacean Pageant – will read poems from his 10th book of verse, “Pair of Dice Lost,” 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Ocean City Library (1735 Simpson Avenue). The book is illustrated by artist Jerome Lukas, who will attend the reading and demonstrate his talents. Admission is free.Mark Soifer, Ocean City’s former public relations director – the mastermind behind events from Martin Z. Mollusk Day to the Miss Crustacean Pageant – will read poems from his 10th book of verse, “Pair of Dice Lost,” 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Ocean City Library. (Courtesy of Donald B. Kravitz)SPORTS MEMORABILIA SHOW (March 30): Collectors from the region will showcase sports cards and memorabilia at the Ocean City Music Pier. Stay tuned for announcements about all-star guests. Vendors interested in participating can get more information from Lauren Sopko at [email protected] WEEKEND (April 5 to 7): A Friday evening fashion show kicks off a weekend of shopping and dining specials, accommodation packages, wellness classes and more. The event showcases Ocean City’s downtown shopping district on Asbury Avenue between Sixth Street and 14th Street. DOO DAH PARADE (April 13): “I Dream of Jeannie” star Barbara Eden will lead this year’s parade as grand marshal. Individuals, groups, businesses and any other comic entries are invited to participate in the parade by signing up at www.ocnj.us/Doo-Dah-Parade. MR. MATURE AMERICA PAGEANT (April 13): The pageant is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, April 13 on the Ocean City Music Pier. The event is the first and only pageant of its kind in the United States. The pageant includes competition in talent, judge’s interview, poise and appearance, and on-stage question. Registration is now open for any contestant 55 or older who would like to participate. Visit www.ocnj.us/mrmature for more information and to sign up as a contestant.THE GREAT EGG HUNT (April 13 and April 20): Two massive egg hunts on the beach for children up to 7 years old. The free events start at 2:30 p.m. and feature areas divided by age group and for children with special needs.Jake Martino, 7, of Hammonton, holds up the basket of eggs he scooped off the beach during the egg hunt in 2017.EASTER SUNRISE SERVICE (April 21): A traditional non-denominational service by the sea. All are welcome. The service starts at 6:30 a.m. at the Ocean City Music Pier.DUELING PIANOS SHOW (April 21): The Philly Keys will perform their hit dueling pianos show starting at noon. The performers will take a break for the annual Easter Fashion Promenade.EASTER FASHION PROMENADE (April 21): Families are invited to come dressed in their Easter’s best to stroll in the Fashion Promenade and meet the Easter Bunny. Judging begins at 1 p.m. on the boardwalk at the Ocean City Music Pier. Prizes awarded for Best Dressed Children, Teen, Adults and Family.