With 17 miles of ribbon to cut and a world record to break, Gov. Christie and his lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno, will be at the Shore on Friday morning to welcome the summer tourist season, part of a series of coinciding ribbon cuttings that will be aired, in part, on national TV.
Christie will cut a five-mile piece of ribbon at Seaside Heights around 9:30 Friday morning, part of his "extended interview" on the Today Show. The current record for "Largest Ribbon Cutting" is 4.19 miles, event organizers said. The five-mile ribbon will run from Island Beach Park to Seaside Heights.
Guadagno, at Sea Isle, will cut a milelong ribbon at 8:30 a.m. at the SIC Promenade at Sheridan Avenue.
An additional 11 towns have ribbons, each a mile long, with their own ceremonies to mark the opening of the season.
The ribbon cuttings are part of the Stronger than the Storm campaign, meant to show that the Jersey Shore, while still rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy, is open for business, a spokeswoman said. The campaign is organized by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and paid for by federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said Shannon Eis, the spokeswoman.
"For as much recovery has gone into and continues to go into the Shore," Eis said by phone from New York City, as she drove to the Shore. "We have to talk about the recovery. We have to talk about where we've made a lot of progress."
Rebuilding alone is not enough, Eis said, because business from tourism and travel is vital to the region.
That message is displayed on the campaign's website:
"We pulled together to clear our beaches and to rebuild our boardwalks and businesses," the website reads. "From Sandy Hook to Cape May, our shops are open. Hotel rooms ready. Pools cleaned. Beds Made. And crab cakes cooking. Because we're Jersey-tough. And we are stronger than the storm."
Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the tourist season, Eis said, so it was a natural time for a kickoff event series. Christie will be traveling throughout the Shore region throughout the weekend, and President Obama is expected to visit Tuesday.
The campaign, which is encouraging the use of the hashtag "#STTS" on social media, has events planned throughout the Memorial Day weekend to start the season, including a kite festival in Wildwood. Other events during the summer will include paddleboarding, sand-castle building, and crafts involving sea glass.
The following locations will have ribbon-cutting ceremonies:
9:30 a.m. Island Beach Park, through Seaside Park, onto the boardwalk and up to Casino Pier in Seaside Heights
Gov. Christie, Mary Pat Christie and Seaside Heights Mayor William Akers
Asbury Park 8:30 a.m. Asbury Park Boardwalk at Fifth Avenue
Long Branch 10 a.m. Pier Village at Centennial Plaza
Spring Lake 8:30 a.m. South End Pavilion (intersection of Atlantic and Ocean Ave)
Avalon 8:30 a.m. 30th Street Beach Front
Brigantine 8 a.m. 14th Street south-36th street south (Ocean Avenue- right along the beach)
Monmouth Beach 7:45 a.m. Monmouth Beach Pavilion
Mayor Sue Howard is starting early so that she may engage school kids and first responders, as well as other folks with human interest stories to share.
Oceanport 8:30 a.m. Boro Hall- 222 Monmouth Blvd.
Ocean City 8:30 a.m. Between Sixth and 14th streets on the boardwalk
Stone Harbor 95th street and the beach (stretching from 87-106)
Sea Isle City 8:30 a.m. SIC Promenade at Sheridan Avenue
The Wildwoods noon Andrew Avenue, behind the Convention Center
Highlands 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Chilangos Restaurant, 272 Bay Ave.
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno in attendance. Ribbon-cutting to be followed by Memorial Day Parade at 1 p.m. and an afternoon of ribbon cuttings in downtown restaurants and businesses, resuming at 2 p.m.