Quiet Festival - Ocean City, New Jersey
In the small town of Ocean City, New Jersey, a group of local residents and curious tourists celebrate all things quiet.
The mastermind behind the 21st Annual Quiet Festival is none other than the Ocean City’s Mark Soifer. At 76 years old, he has a notorious record for creating unique events in Ocean City–the Quiet Festival is probably being the smallest and least attended. Soifer was recently named the president of the National Association of Tired People (NAP), a group that he founded about three years ago. “I’ve been tired for about 40 years now,” he said upon accepting his nomination. “I feel uniquely qualified to represent the millions of tired folks in this nation and the world.”
The Quiet Festival starts on Friday afternoon with a yawn and song in front of City Hall. A group of ‘talented individuals’ called the Yawn Alongers yawn to Beautiful Dreamer, a tune that Soifer wrote himself. After the song, the Yawn Alongers and NAP members throw maple leaves (helicopter leaves) into the air and watch them fall to the ground. Despite this seemingly quiet event, there was actually a lot of commotion. Bystanders offered their comments, locals drove by honking, and most of the participants were so amused by their own actions that they never stopped talking or laughing.
There were a number of other events throughout the weekend, but most involved visits to schools and nursing homes in an effort to bring the Quiet Festival to people who would not normally enjoy it. During the weekend, Soifer encouraged leaf-squeezing, paper airplane-making, pin-dropping, and pet-petting.
The only other visually interesting event from the weekend was the Wind Chime Symphony on Saturday afternoon. The sky was dark and the wind was blowing misty sprays off the ocean. It was a perfect day for wind chimes.