SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A free beach concert by Poison frontman and reality TV star Bret Michaels helped kick off the summer season at the Jersey shore.

Scott Shannon and his Big Show crew celebrated the start of Memorial Day weekend with the WCBS-FM Summer Blastoff concert early Friday morning.

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Michaels played hits from the hair metal band Poison. There were also performances by The E Street Shuffle and Mike Rocket.

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More than 1,000 people showed up for the show, including Hoboken resident Diana Volaric, who ditched work and came to the shore. She was rewarded with an autograph from Michaels.

“This is the best way to start summer!” she said.

Mayor Anthony Vaz said this is just the first of many special events happening in Seaside Heights this summer.

“Last year we focused on redeveloping our community into a good family trade, as you can see this morning the sun is out, we have a lot of families here — young children, adults, grandparents — this is great,” Vaz told CBS2’s John Elliott. “We have a lot of entertainment going on this summer, almost every day we have something going on and a majority of our promotions are free.”

“We have a full year of stacked events,” Mike Loundy, Director of Development, said. “We have 1975 coming June 18, Trace Adkins July 13, we’ve got about 50 free events this year.”

For the full list of events, visit

Elsewhere at the shore, the summer season was to be ushered in in quirky rituals. In Atlantic City, Mayor Don Guardian was to ceremonially “unlock” the ocean for the season. And in Ocean City, businesspeople march into the water in full boardroom regalia as “Pomp And Circumstance” plays over loudspeakers.

State tourism officials say advance bookings for this summer are strong across the state, helped by low gasoline prices.

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