Look Out Summer! Here We Come! (Michael Calabrese)

More than 37 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home this Memorial Day weekend, trying to forget the brutally cold winter that is in our rear view mirror.

The holiday is expected to be quite busy, as travel is expected to increase by 5 percent from 2014, according to AAA. It’s the highest travel volume for the holiday in get this .. a decade!!

There’s more good news – Most drivers should expect to pay the lowest Memorial Day gas prices in at least five years. Even though you’ve seen some rise in the gas prices in New Jersey, it sure beats paying near $4.00 a gallon!

AAA predicts that more than 950,000 New Jersey residents will hit the road, skies, rails or water this weekend, a 4.6 percent increase from 2014. More than 88 percent of holiday travelers will drive to their destinations, a 5 percent increase from 2014, according to AAA.

Beachgoers in New Jersey are thrilled for the getaway, too. It’s shore season, and in Belmar, Mayor Matt Doherty says his town is ready!!

“Things are looking great,” he said “We have good public works employees who put the beachfront together, get the boardwalk ready. So we’re ready for middle-class families to come down.” Visitors are the lifeblood of the shore shops, and that loyalty is the only reason Jimmy’s Pizza Place not only survived Super storm Sandy, but is now thriving.

“We came back tenfold,” owner Jimmy Kumaris said. “They were here supporting us. All I can say is thank you.” In fact, Kumaris is expanding this year, with more outdoor dining, a raw bar and fresh lemonade.

“The returning customer is 60 percent of my business,” he said. “I don’t even know how to thank everyone for coming back.” Let’s also not forget the many venues drizzled along this fabulous New Jersey Shore where you can see some incredible bands perform all summer long. Not to mention the family oriented fairs and carnivals of the like.

So while it’s time to kick off another summer season, it’s also important to remember why there’s a three-day weekend.

Veteran Owen Fuchs, of Bayside, urges folks not to forget what the holiday is about — our military and those who have served. “My heart goes out to all the boys who are buried in Pine Lawn Cemetery, and God Bless all these kids who are over in these wars now. And God keep them safe, and let them do the right thing and come home in one piece.”

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