21 Down Day on Wildwood Beach

WILDWOOD – With sunny, blue skies and temperatures in the high 80s, July 17 was a perfect beach day. And more than 60 kids learned that when it comes to summer fun, the Wildwood beach is the perfect place to be.

The Wildwood Beach Patrol hosted the 9th annual 21 Down Day event that brought swimmers, surfers and fun seekers to Wildwood’s wide free beach for a chance to taste the salt air and take a dip in the ocean.

A Down syndrome awareness group, 21 Down provides support for families who have a loved one with Down Syndrome or any other developmental disability.

According to lifeguard and event organizer Billy Auty, this year’s event was more successful than ever before.

With more than 300 friends and family members cheering them on, participants took to the water and played games in the sand – all under the watchful eyes of Wildwood lifeguards.

“The Wildwood Beach Patrol tries to insure a safe, fun day for the kids and their families,” Auty said. “We take them out on boogie boards and surfboards.” With lifeguards on hand to supply one-on-one support, both swimmers and non-swimmers get to experience playing in the water.

“It’s difficult to say who has more fun; the lifeguards or the kids,” Auty said. More than 40 beach patrol member volunteer their time to help.

In addition to members of the WBP volunteering their time to insure the day’s success, students from Wildwood Middle School were on hand to help. Local businesses also donated to the day’s festivities to help make a day at the beach even better.

“This is a community event and the community comes together to make it a great one,” Auty said.

Stephen Liczbinski, left, and Lifeguard Marty Hagan, right