The Wildwoods, New Jersey, host and presenting sponsor of the new Celebration of Heroes Beach Festival saluting America’s military servicemen, women, veterans, first responders and their families announces a star-studded lineup of award-winning musical guests to the Festival that further establishes the resort as one of America’s most beloved loved vacation destinations and “THE place to be” this coming Memorial Day Weekend.
The Wildwoods Convention Center’s Oceanfront Arena will host the culminating event of Celebration of Heroes Memorial Day Weekend Beach Festival: the Wildwoods Celebration of Heroes(COH) Benefit Concert, a compelling homage to the immensely popular USO Variety Show concerts hosted for decades by legendary comedian, U.S. military supporter and humanitarian Bob Hope. The Wildwoods’ COH Benefit Concert performers scheduled to appear include:
- Joe Piscopo: The high-energy Saturday Night Live star alum will emcee, perform his wildly popular 17-piece orchestra-backed Frank Sinatra musical sets, and keep the audience laughing throughout the evening with his dry wit and inimitable brand of comedy.
- Lee Greenwood: Best known for his hit single God Bless the USA (originally released in 1984, reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart following the 9/11 terrorist attacks), this Grammy Award winner and three-time Country Music Association Award winner is also author of the recently released Does God Still Bless the USA? and is also the official spokesman for “Operation Never Forgotten,” an all-volunteer non-profit service that connects our military and civilian worlds through public service announcements (www.leegreenwood.com).
- Michael Longoria: Currently touring with his co-stars from the original cast of “Jersey Boys” as “The Midtown Men,” Michael is best known for his star turn on Broadway as Frankie Valli in the 2006 Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys.” He made his Broadway debut in the smash hit musical “Hairspray,” which also won the 2003 Tony.
- Miss America 2012, Laura Kaeppeler: Hailing from Kenosha, Wisconsin, Laura Kaeppeler was crowned Miss America 2012 on January 14, 2011. Since her crowning, she has been traveling the country appearing on numerous national TV programs, making corporate appearances, and talking about MAO’s national platform, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. During 2012 pageant week, Laura’s operatic vocal performance of “Il Bacio” won her the Talent Award on the first preliminary night.
- American Idol Finalists Michael Sarver and Haley Scarnato: Michael was a Top 10 Finalist of American Idol Season #8 (2009). He has since toured with Idols Live and American Stars in Concert. He sings for Special Olympic events around the U.S., and recorded a song in memory of the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver titled "Carry the Torch.” Since Idol, he has recorded and released two country albums: a self-titled debut album, and Michael Sarver Christmas. He’s presently in the studio recording a new single to be released this month.
Haley earned a spot in the Top 10 American Idol Season #6 (2007). Nicknamed “Legs” by Simon Cowell, this young singer earned global fans with her expressive and powerful voice. She began a performing career in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas at age 15 as the lead singer for a highly successful regional band, “The Oh So Good!”
“With the incredibly diverse crowd of attendees we’re proud to be hosting – from active duty military service personnel to veterans to their family members of all generations – our goal was to produce a truly memorable concert that appealed to and really moved all of our guests,” explained Diane McGraw, Celebration of Heroes’ Executive Producer and President of McGraw Productions. “We feel this incredible mix of music talent and genres will cap off an unforgettable weekend that balances fun, sun, great food and music with sincere and heartfelt recognition of the sacrifices made by our military and their families,” she added.
“The Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority is proud to present this incredible weekend celebration as a tribute to our ‘heroes’ and provide a fun and exciting family event for all to enjoy,” said John Siciliano, Executive Director of the Authority. “We hope this will be the start of a yearly tradition to honor those who have made sacrifices to keep us free and remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.”
Benefit Concert tickets, which are expected to sell quickly, have been priced by the Wildwoods at the deeply discount levels of $25-50, so as to be more affordable for military service personnel and their families. Fans should visit www.ticketmaster.com for tickets. In addition, several hundred tickets will be donated by the Wildwoods to the various armed forces organizations. Special Wildwoods hotel rates, restaurant offerings and discounts to area attractions will also be available to active military, veterans and first responders throughout Memorial Day Weekend.
The first-ever Wildwoods Celebration of Heroes Memorial Day Weekend Beach Festival event highlights include:
- U.S. Coast Guard Recruit Graduation Ceremony in the Wildwoods Convention Center (Friday, May 25, 11 a.m.)
- Weekend Kick-Off Veterans Motorcycle Caravan, Memorial Ceremony and Fireworks Display (Friday, May 25, 7 p.m.)
- Ford “Family Beach Games” & Celebrity Beach Action (Saturday, May 26, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.)
- “Taste of Wildwoods” Food & Music Festival (Saturday, May 26, Noon-9 p.m. and Sunday, May 27, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
- Military Parade, Remembrance Ceremony & Air Force “Fly Over” at the Wildwoods Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall (Sunday, May 27, 1 p.m.)
- Wildwoods COH Benefit Concert (Sunday, May 27, 8 p.m. at the Wildwoods Convention Center, Oceanfront Arena)
- Comcast Connect Military Call Center & Mail Call. Families, friends and attendees can offer thanks and video Skype live Saturday and Sunday, noon- 2 p.m., with active duty troops and officers based in Afghanistan, via the Liberty USO. A mail call will also be operated onsite by the Philadelphia National Constitution Center, for those attendees interested in mailing a postcard to troops overseas.
- Interactive Military Display Area. Attendees can experience some of the U.S. Armed Forces military technology, and interact with active duty troops, officers and service organization volunteers throughout the entire weekend.
Tri-state area music fans, foodies and Jersey Shore beachgoers are also invited attend along with military personnel, veterans and first responders, and are encouraged to make their travel plans and hotel reservations early, as the Wildwoods Celebration of Heroes promises to be one of the largest Memorial Day Weekend tributes at the Jersey Shore.
In addition to the Wildwoods’ role as presenting sponsor and host of Celebration of Heroes, corporate sponsors include Ford Motor Company and the tri-state Ford Dealers Association, title sponsor of the Ford “Family Beach Games,” and Comcast, sponsors of the Comcast Connect Military Call Center. Media partners include Philadelphia’s NBC-10, the Celebration’s official TV partner, which will actively promote the event on-air in advance and throughout the weekend, along with Philadelphia and New Jersey public television stations WHYY and NJTV, and the Newark Star Ledger. Radio sponsors include Philadelphia’s B-101 and WXTU 92.5, New Jersey 101.5 and South Jersey’s Longport Media Group.
Visit www.WildwoodsNJ.com/heroes for more event details and information regarding discounted hotel specials and other special offers for military service personnel, families, veterans and first responders.
The Black Keys—Akron, OH natives Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney—recently released the album El Camino following the most successful two years in the band’s career. The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 and has already been certified RIAA Gold. They are currently in the midst of a sold out tour including two nights at Madison Square Garden, Austin’s Frank Erwin Center and Seattle’s Key Arena as well as headlining the Coachella Festival.
Ovation Hall, designed by Scéno Plus, creates an elevated concert experience for more than 5,000 fans by making the expansive space feel decidedly intimate. Every seat has an unobstructed view of the performer and a state-of-the-art sound system puts the audience in the center of the action with immersive audibility.
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