Ventnor PBA held its first-ever Christmas in July and Sandy Claws 5K Run/1-Mile Walk, July 25.

VENTNOR – There’s a first time for everything, including celebrating a Ventnor Christmas in July.

The Ventnor PBA hosted its inaugural Christmas in July and Sandy Claws 5K Run/1-Mile Fun Walk Thursday, July 25 at the beachfront park on Newport Avenue. It was the PBA’s way to bring a little holiday joy to residents and visitors at the Jersey shore.

The daylong event included screenings of the movie, “Elf” on the beach, a bouncy water slide, holiday photos and lots of Christmas music.

Resident Kevin Cannon decorated the gazebo with decorations from his home. The Atlantic County Toys for Kids program collected new, unwrapped toys to be distributed to children in the community, not only during the holidays, but throughout the year. Participants of the Sandy Claws 5K race contributed toys for the effort.

Nearly 30 runners participated in the 5K race, timed by DelmoPRO, which started on the beach, proceeded to the boardwalk and ended back on the beach.

Santa led the race on a 4-wheeler, while ACUA mascot Supercan entertained children back at the park.

Plaques and awards were presented to the top overall male and female runners and the top three in each age group.

The top male finisher was Robert Dietz, 33, of Waretown; top female was Rebecca Klabe, 30, of Margate.

Top male age group winners were Royce Jacobs, 14, of Medford; Stephen Wenner, 22, of Somers Point; Stephen Augustyn, 32, of Ventnor; Mark Maroldo, 47, of Mount Laurel; Vince Santivasi, 54, or Bonita Springs, Florida; Joseph Agustyn, 67, of Riverton.

Top female age group winners were Libby Smith, 13, of Ventnor; Ashley Ellison, 24, of Mays Landing; Kristy Thall, 34, of Villas; Sharon Smith, 44, of Ventnor; Tangila Jefferson, 51, of New Albany, Indiana; and Maryellen Winn, 65, of Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

According to Emergency Management Coordinator Donna M. Peterson, who assists in facilitating the city’s community events, future Christmas in July events will be held on the fourth Thursday in July. Next year’s date is July 23.