Alexa Rosen is a native of Medford, but she describes Ocean City as her second home.
Ever since she could remember, Rosen attended Night in Venice, a boat parade taking place along the city’s back bay and lagoons.
When the opportunity arose for Rosen to participate in Miss Night in Venice competition, she didn’t even hesitate.
“I have watched it every year,” Rosen said. “I didn’t realize I could be a part of it.”
At 15, Rosen just met the minimum age to participate. It was enough for her to just be a part of the event.
However, Rosen didn’t just participate in Miss Night in Venice. She won the crown of Miss Night in Venice.
Rosen was crowned the 2014 Miss Night in Venice in a ceremony at the Moreland Theater after raising the most money for charity out of all participants.
“Honestly, I was in a daze,” she said. “I was so shocked because I didn’t know I was going to win.”
The charities Rosen and the other participants raised money for were the Sunshine Foundation helping chronically ill children, the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers and the Ocean City Food Cupboard.
Each participant receives a sponsor to help them raise money. Rosen’s sponsor was Johnson’s Popcorn.
“They give us bins and they let us put them all over the city and where our sponsor stores are,” she said.
Rosen made sure to get to know the charities for which she was raising money. She saw firsthand what the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers does for the community. The HERO Campaign is an organization dedicated to ending drunk driving. In 2000, John Elliott, a Naval Academy graduate, was struck and killed a drunk driver. Following his death, his parents found the HERO Campaign.
Bill, spoke to Rosen and the other participants at the crowning ceremony, which was also the anniversary of his son’s death.
“It was such a great speech he gave, and I know it was very hard for him to say,” Rosen said. “It was really nice for him to talk about that.”
Rosen and her family also help charities in their free time, volunteering with the Ronald McDonald House in South Jersey. Meeting with people from the three charities in this year’s Night in Venice was one of the highlights of Rosen’s experience.
“It was so much fun,” she said. “It felt so good seeing them and seeing how much they helped their charities.”
Rosen’s lasting memory of the event is riding at the bow of a boat carrying the Miss Night in Venice participants during the boat parade on July 26. Cruising down the bay, waving to the crowd with the crown on her head and the Miss Night in Venice ribbon draped over her shoulder is something she will never forget.
“It was so exciting,” she said. “I saw all of my family and friends, and they were cheering me on. I also watched the other boats. To be Miss Night in Venice was amazing.”