Weekend festivities kick off with Sham Jam

(March 13, 2015) Kick off St. Patrick’s Day weekend festivities tonight, Friday, at Sham Jam, a big party at the 45th Street Taphouse featuring drink specials, live music and 50/50 raffles to benefit the Ocean City FOOLS, a local firefighter organization, and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

“Anything we can do to raise funds for firefighters and their families—that is where our heart and souls are,” said local FOOLS Chapter Treasurer, Jason Bloom. “Sham Jam is special because it kicks off St. Patty’s weekend in Ocean City and raises money for an organization that takes care of our loved ones when we are killed in the line of duty.”

Doors open at 5 p.m. for Sham Jam, where a $10 donation includes a souvenir pint glass to fill with the beer specials being offered.

Johnny Bling will be providing the music and the Delmarva Emerald Society pipe band will perform as well.

There will be an ice luge shining bright green with this year’s Sham Jam logo, an abundance of drink and food specials, in addition to long sleeve Sham Jam T-shirts for $20.

A 50/50 drawing along with door prizes including free oil changes and donations from Parties Your Way will take place during the event.

Proceeds benefit the Ocean City Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society (FOOLS) and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

“It started off with smaller parties for a few years and then about six years ago it got crazy,” said Bloom, who has organized the event with president Tim Jerscheid and FOOLS member, Joel Feldman for a number of years. “It grows every year.”

Sham Jam has outgrown several local venues since its inception. It has taken place the last couple years at the Taphouse and organizers are fond of the location.

“Jeff Burton [Taphouse’s general manager] has been terrific with supporting our events,” Bloom said. “He donates staff and time to make sure he can accommodate us as much as he possibly can.”

In 2014, about 1,000 partygoers started off their St. Patty’s Day weekend at this local favorite event and helped to raise close to $8,000. This year organizers hope to top attendance numbers.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, a nationwide effort to remember America’s fallen firefighters and provide resources to assist their survivors, hits close to home for Bloom.

His friend, Kenny Hedrick, died in the line of duty at the age of 18 and Hedrick’s mother, Cathy, began volunteering for the non-profit organization during Memorial weekend in 1993, which honored her son.

“It is a big Memorial weekend in October where survivors and their families come out to help each other get through their losses,” Bloom said about the event.

Hedrick joined the Foundation’s staff in 2004 where she works with the “Taking Care of Our Own” training program, manages family registration during the Memorial weekend and makes presentations at fire service meetings across the United States, according to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation website.

The celebration kicks off tonight at 5 p.m. and goes until 2 a.m. at the Taphouse. Search “Sham Jam 2015” on Facebook for the event page.

For more information on the local FOOLS chapter, visit the Ocean-City-FOOLS-Alpha-Chapter on Facebook or www.ocfools.com. Learn more about the Fallen Firefighters Foundation at www.firehero.org.

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