The Jersey Shore is back, and according to tourism officials, it's better than ever and open for business. Monday kicks off the New Jersey top 10 beaches competition, but this year there's a twist. After one of the worst natural disasters in the state's history, the contest no longer puts one beach up against another, but rather focuses on coming together to recover from hurricane sandy.
"We wanted to put them to commemorate the beaches in the Jersey Shore so we put them in a calendar. Each of the communities came up with sponsoring a page or a month in the calendar," says Diane Wieland, the Director of Tourism in Cape May.
Several hundred photos were received at the New Jersey top ten beaches web site.
They were narrowed down to 41 finalists by a panel of professional photographers, and starting Monday, you have the power to vote on the images that will be featured in the calendar.
"Things changed a little bit since Sandy. So we decided as a committee working with the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium to highlight some of the great memories people have," "It was decided by those who are involved to make it more of a memories contest making memories, new memories of the shore rekindling old memories," says Wieland.
The top beaches calendar has also reached a new level of prestige. With calendar goers having the opportunity to not only read, but also share Governor Christie's own personal memory of the jersey shore.
"The governor always supports what we are doing but to have him some what of a spokesperson that's important for all of us," says Wieland, who continues to say, "This is going to put a little more focus on you know what folks, we're back and New Jersey is open for business and we're Jersey strong."
And as we are on the brink of the first tourism season after Sandy, tourism officials boast that the beaches are stronger than ever. Voting closes on the 28th, with the winners and awards being announced Memorial Day weekend. Portions of the proceeds from the calendars will go towards hurricane sandy relief efforts.
If you'd like to place your vote, click here.