The Old Orchard Beach Pier stands to be named this week as one of the nation’s top 10 boardwalks.

Paul Golzbein, who owns the pier, said voting in the national contest closed Monday, and the last time he checked, his pier was ranked seventh. “I expect to be in the top 10, for sure,” he said.

V. Louise Reid, Old Orchard Beach’s assistant town manager, sent out an e-mail blast when she heard about the contest, urging residents and pier lovers to vote.

USA Today, sponsor of the Best Boardwalk contest, will announce the top 10 on Friday, according to its website. The newspaper holds a number of Readers’ Choice contests, ranging from the Best Fourth of July festival to Best Italian Sub/Hoagie in New Jersey.

“I felt kind of proud after hearing how we did,” Golzbein said, “especially when you are going up against some of the biggest boardwalks in the country.”

Other nominees are the Navy Pier in Chicago, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in California, and the Wildwoods boardwalk in New Jersey.

There is no money at stake, only positive publicity for a Maine landmark that is already visited by one million people a year, Golzbein said.

“Every living soul that comes to this town each summer walks on the pier,” he said. “My theory is simple. People come to Old Orchard Beach to have fun. So we provide them with fun.”

Golzein bought the 600-foot-long pier at an auction 35 years ago. It first opened to the public on July 2, 1898.


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