Sea Of Green Hits North Wildwood For Irish Weekend

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With the thunderous crash of each wave, the ocean reminds us that far off storms are still sending dangerous swimming conditions to the Jersey Shore.

“It’s very, very rough,” said Philadelphia resident Tracey Ellison, who once got caught in a rip current like the shore is experiencing right now. Now, she knows her limits.

“I went in up to my thighs and it was pulling really hard,” she said.

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While dozens of families enjoyed the beach Friday afternoon in North Wildwood, it’s about to get much more crowded.

The revelry is well underway for the 26th Annual Irish Fall Festival.

The four-day event put on by Cape May County’s Ancient Order of Hibernians is now one of the nation’s largest Irish festivals.

Jack Maley of the Ancient Order of Hibernians says the festival could bring 150,000 to 175,000 this weekend.

With warm weather expected over the weekend, town officials anticipate many of those in sea of green will venture into the sea of rip currents.

So, the beach patrol pulled some of the lifeguard stands back out of winter storage – and started calling in every guard they could find.

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“We talked to the mayor and council; we decided to put lifeguards on the beach this weekend,” Chief Tony Cavalier of North Wildwood Beach Patrol. “We weren’t supposed to be but we have this Irish weekend and it’s going to be very crowded.”

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Five beaches between 7th and 22nd Streets will be guarded and officials strongly recommend swimming only at guarded beaches.

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