by Robin Rieger
WILDWOOD, N. J. (CBS) – No shoes, no shirt, no problem. Kenny Chesney fans are finding all they need on the Wildwood boardwalk while they wait in line–with an eye on the stage that’s set up on the beach for the singer’s free concert at 8:30 p.m.
The heat is on, and so are fans’ efforts to stay cool:
“[I have] my hat and water and [I’ve] just [been] keeping my back…away from the sun,” says Vicki Strowe of Spotswood, New Jersey.
“I’m roasting…working [the] parking lot, so it’s hot. I’m drinking lots of water…pouring cold water all over me,” says Bill Perrone of Wildwood.
Fans spent their time cooling down and spending money in stores and restaurants.
“[They] probably were spending a good $400 or $500,” says Ann Marie Gifford of Scranton.
Gifford brought some Kenny Chesney fans with her from Scranton, and they have big plans for the day: “Do some shopping, go on the beach, maybe do some jet skiing,” explains Gifford.
Business owners like George Caravangelos are fans of Kenny Chesney’s fans. “It’s going to be great for business [since] this is off season, we have extra staff,” says Caravangelos, the owner of Du Wop Diner.
Paul Franco is glad to be running the Ocean Sands Hotel and Smitty’s Parking. “We’re full at the hotel, we rented our last room this morning. It’s mainly concert goers,” he explains.
“This has got to be worth $15-$20 million to the City of Wildwood,” says Mayor Ernie Troiano, who also says many city employees are on overtime. But the expected $40,000 price tag will be covered by concert sponsor, American Express.
“It’s [not] just police, it’s fire, public works…we brought in a security company, Strike Force is the name of it, and there’s about 120 people working security inside the event,” says Troiano.
The stage faces the boardwalk. There are metal bleachers set up, but most fans will stand in a fenced in area and can only access the beach area with tickets.
Extra medical personnel, including doctors and nurses, are on-hand on the beach boardwalk and at the Convention Center.
Troiano says the city can handle the crowd–the 25,000 to 30,000 people expected to come doesn’t compare to the 200- to 300-thousand that will come for 4th of July fireworks.