By Donald Wittkowski
They drank, they danced, they dined. And some of them did all of that in their pajamas.
The “girls” have invaded Sea Isle City for a weekend of partying, minus their husbands and boyfriends.
Now in its ninth year, the Girls Weekend celebration is a big boost for the beach town’s economy during what would otherwise be a slow time of year, the lull just before the bustling summer tourism season gets underway.
“After four nor’easters and terrible weather in March and April, we’re ready for the summer season,” Mayor Leonard Desiderio said of the much-anticipated end to an unusually chilly and stormy early spring.
Each April and November, Sea Isle welcomes women to town for a Girls Weekend getaway consisting of shopping, dining, dancing and more. Shopping discounts and drink and meal specials at more than 40 participating businesses provide an extra incentive for the women to visit the town.
Desiderio did his part by throwing a pajama party for hundreds of women on Saturday morning at his Kix-McNutley’s bar and nightclub complex on 63rd Street and Landis Avenue. He had 400 T-shirts printed up as souvenirs for his PJ-clad guests.
“This is going to ‘Kix’ off the main event,” the mayor said, laughing at his pun. “We’ll give them a great show to lead the way into a great summer season.”
For the women, there is also a big social component to Girls Weekend. After they are done visiting the stores, they often spend a relaxing evening together having drinks and dinner and hitting the dance floor.
Sarah Lentz, 23, of Gibbsboro, N.J., got an early start on the drinking part during the pajama party at Kix-McNutley’s.
“I’m on my third one,” she said while enjoying a La Marca Prosecco and cranberry at 8:30 a.m. “Oh, my God, I started at 7:30.”
Kix-McNutley’s bartender Vicky Rutledge was busy during the pajama party making Bloody Marys, dirty martinis, mimosas and other cocktails mixed with Tito’s Homemade Vodka.
Lentz, who was part of a group of five friends and family members, said Girls Weekend is all about having fun.
“I’m loving it,” she said. “I love the discounts. I love the shopping. I also want to do a beach day. So, it’s like the start of summer vacation.”
Lentz is staying the weekend with a friend, Denise Cipollone, 60, who has a summer home in Sea Isle. Also part of the group are Lentz’s mother, Diane Lang, 60, of Atco, N.J., and her friends Janet McGugan, 60, of Cape May Court House, and Susan Copper, 57, of Springfield, Pa.
Getting into the swing of things for Girls Weekend, McGugan was wearing a pajama top inscribed with the words “Babes do it better.” She completed her comical outfit with leopard print bottoms.
“I love spending the weekend with friends,” McGugan said. “We go out for drinks and dinner. We especially like the dancing. And the laughter is the most important thing.”
McGugan and the others got a laugh out of Copper’s pajamas and fuzzy unicorn slippers. Her top consisted of a cotton print and the pants were black and pink.
“My ensemble is from Walmart,” Copper said with a smile.
Meanwhile, business owners throughout Sea Isle were preparing for a big turnout over the weekend. The shops, bars and restaurants that are participating in the event fly a colorful “Girls Weekend” flag at their front entrance.
Nina Malone, an independent consultant for the Arbonne line of beauty and health products, had a table set up on the sidewalk along Landis Avenue in the downtown shopping district.
“Girls Weekend is always bustling. It’s always busy,” Malone said. “It’s great for Sea Isle. It’s a great way to kick off summer.”
One of the Girls Weekend visitors who stopped at Malone’s table was Inez Curry, 59, of Langhorne, Pa. Curry, who is staying the weekend at a friend’s house in Sea Isle, said cocktails, dinner and shopping are high on her list of things to do.
“Shopping for sure. Dining for sure. And cocktails at Henri’s,” she said of the outdoor bar attached to the Braca Cafe on Pleasure Avenue.