Legendary Ocean City Public Relations Guru Mark Soifer Dies
Mark Soifer, the man famous for creating memorable wacky events to promote Ocean City during his 45 years as the city's public relations director, died Sunday at age 89.
In a Facebook post, Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian tried to put Soifer's legacy into context.
“It’s hard to imagine an Ocean City without Mark. From the Doo Dah Parade to Martin Z. Mollusk Day and all the way to First Night, so much of what we celebrate came from Mark’s imagination. Everything he did had a simple message: Ocean City is a great place for families, and generations of residents and guests have enjoyed the results of his work.”
After serving in the Army and working in public relations in Philadelphia and Vineland, Soifer began working for Ocean City in 1971.
He is credited with bringing events such as First Night and the Doo Dah Parade to Ocean City, and sustaining traditions such as the Baby Parade and Night in Venice.
Soifer also created an array of unique family-oriented activities for the city — Miss Crustacean Pageants, Woof N Paws Pet Fashion Shows, Weird Weeks, Freckle Contests, Mr. Mature America Pageants and more.
He had a sense of humor in everything he did. Soifer retired in 2016 after 45 years in his role with the city.
In a column for The Press of Atlantic City when Soifer retired from his role with Ocean City, longtime friend Martin De Angelis remembered his relentless promotional spirit.
He took the town’s motto/self-image as “America’s Greatest Family Resort” and burned it into the brains of anybody who’d listen. He came up with an endless stream of events that basically begged parents to take the kids to them, from a dog parade for basset hounds to translating French fries into a sculpture medium to a few newer items, like an off-season Quiet Festival.
DeAngelis remembered how one local Ocean City official said Soifer was “probably the most influential person in Ocean City history.”
The park at Ninth Street and Asbury Avenue (the former City Hall Annex, where he worked) was dedicated as Mark Soifer Park in 2016. He was honored as Citizen of the Decade in 2013
“He was before his time,” Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michele Gillian said. “His signature events make Ocean City what it is, and they have been recognized throughout the nation and the world. I always said we have the beach, the boardwalk, the bay – and Mark Soifer.”