Ocean City’s Spring Block Party is this Saturday and officials say it should draw record crowds with new vendors and entertainment. (Courtesy City of Ocean City) By Maddy VitaleThe Spring Block Party in Ocean City is always big, with hundreds of vendors lining Asbury Avenue creating a shopping mecca for throngs of visitors. This Saturday will be even bigger, said Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce.“The Spring Block Party is the unofficial kick-off of the season and we are expecting great weather,” Gillian said. “Everyone is always ready for Spring and the Block Party is an excellent way to get outside, see old friends and neighbors, and stroll through the downtown.”There will be 500 vendors in the sold-out event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Vendors featuring clothing, jewelry, pottery and garden décor are just some of the featured choices available in the downtown shopping extravaganza. More than 350 crafters, food vendors, musicians and activities for the kids will span over a mile of downtown Asbury Avenue between Fifth Street and 14th Street. Downtown will be closed to traffic and all street parking and municipal lots near the downtown will be free on Saturday, officials said. Asbury Avenue transforms into a pedestrian mall for the day.And there will be some new additions to this year’s Spring Block Party. “There are many new vendors from up and down the East Coast,” Gillian said.The event will also feature a Philadelphia Mummers Band and other entertainment along the Asbury Avenue including the Tidal Wave Band and the Pennsport String Band.Gillian said the block party really showcases what makes Ocean City special.“Both the Spring and Fall Block Parties help extend the shoulder seasons,” Gillian noted. “The Block Party highlights the downtown shopping district and all that makes it unique.” Gillian credited Justin Juliano and Rose Savastano from the chamber for their efforts to make the Spring Block Party a success in hosting the event, which is in its 36th year, that brings in more than 50,000 tourists and residents.“They do an outstanding job making sure we have diversified offerings, keeping everything organized, and managing the many aspects involved,” Gillian said.Ione Talese, right, the owner of Artisan Body Products, did brisk business at her Asbury Avenue shop during the 2017 Spring Block Party.More than 100 downtown stores will be open for business and have table sales out front. In addition, kids can even take pony rides from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the grounds of the Ocean City Tabernacle. Ocean City Public Information Officer Doug Bergen said the Spring Block Party certainly isn’t the first event of spring, but it is the most popular. “It falls on the first Saturday of May and that usually coincides with some nice spring weather,” Bergen said. “It’s a chance for folks to get down to Ocean City, get outside, and check out all the downtown shops, vendors, food and entertainment.”Live music is performed throughout the day.