Monthly Archives: September 2013

Sunfest Attendances Boasts Over 186,000 Visitors

sunfest2012The 39th Annual Sunfest kicked off the Town’s “second season” with four days of music food, arts, crafts and just plain fun. Recently ranked the best Arts & Crafts show in the nation by Sunshine Artist magazine and the 2012 Finest Festival for Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore by Maryland Life Magazine, the weekend festivities drew a crowd of approximately 186,779 people to the Inlet Lot and beach Thursday-Sunday, September 19-22.

Accompanied by beautiful late summer weather, Sunfest featured over 300 vendors, along with live music, hayrides on the beach and a wide and delicious offering of food.  The festival grounds at the Inlet Parking Lot were bustling with visitors, as attendance was up 1,761 from 2012, boasting the highest attendance since 2008 and trending above the five year average of 175,299.

“I am extremely pleased to report that we had a very successful Sunfest,” said Thomas Shuster, Director of the Town of Ocean City’s Recreation and Parks Department.  “We had outstanding vendors, great entertainment, fabulous weather and the largest attendance since 2008.  It was a picture perfect weekend and an outstanding event for the Town of Ocean City.”

The Comcast Entertainment Pavilion was the venue for the headliner entertainment, where an enthusiastic audience of 1,367 was on hand for Jesse Garron’s Tribute to Elvis on Thursday night.   On Friday, a sold out concert turned out for country entertainers Kip Moore and Kacey Musgraves and The Beach Boys played to a full house on Saturday night.

Crowds enjoyed additional entertainment, including new Sunfest performers the Full Circle, Lady Invidia, The Patty Reese Band, Mockingbird Sun, the Jimmy Charles Band, the Power Play Band, Separate Ways “Journey Tribute” , the Weird Science Band and the US Army Field Band featuring the Concert Band and Soldiers’ Chorus.

Also celebrating this weekend’s success were the following raffle winners, who were announced at the conclusion of Sunfest 2013:

  • St. Luke’s      Church, grand prize $20,000, Marie Moyer.
  • Ocean City      Elks Lodge #2645 & Ladies Auxilary, 2013 Can-Am Spyder RS Version with      Trailer,  $20,000, John Hamilton.
  • Knights of      Columbus #9503, 2013 Harley Davidson Motorcycle Street Glide, $21,500,      Dale Russell.

The 40th Annual Sunfest is scheduled for September 18-21, 2014.  For more information, or to sign up to receive email updates for the Town of Ocean City’s Special Events, please visit




Update: Ocean City Fire Department Battles Sunday Afternoon Blaze



On Sunday, September 15, 2013, at approximately 2:25 p.m., Ocean City Communications received a call for a house fire in the area of 94th Street on the bayside.  Ocean City Fire Department personnel responded to the home, which was a three unit townhouse, and found fire coming from the building upon their arrival.

Initial witness reports indicated that the fire began on the exterior of the structure and rapidly consumed the vinyl siding and porches on the front of the units before burning into the attic area, which is unsprinklered as allowed by code.  The fire then extended into the attics with significant damage to the roof and upper rooms of all three units.

The occupied portions of the building were fully protected by a residential, automatic sprinkler system, designed for occupant safety.  This system, which functioned as designed, kept the bulk of the fire at bay on the exterior of the structure until the Fire Department’s arrival and quick extinguishment.

“Only limited fire damage was evident to the interior of the first and second floor rooms,” said Ocean City Fire Marshal David Hartley.  “Although the structure was unoccupied at the time of the fire, had the occupants been inside, they could have safely evacuated from the rear exit of the structure.”

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. Anyone with photographs or video of the fire prior to the arrival of the Fire Department is asked to contact the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office at 410-289-8780.

Media Invited to Participate in Simulated Emergency Exercise

On Saturday September 28, 2013, the Town of Ocean City’s Emergency Services Department will be conducting a hazardous materials exercise at the Coast Guard Station on Wicomico Street.  This exercise will rehearse the response of local, state, and federal agencies to a simulated 3000 gallon fuel leak into the bay after the detonation of an explosive device.

The Town of Ocean City Emergency Services would like to invite the media to participate directly in the event. Participation from media outlets will help Ocean City to evaluate protocols in disseminating information to the media in a timely and proficient manner.  “We are hoping our local media outlets will participate in this exercise,” said Ocean City Emergency Services Director Joseph Theobald.  “Participation will involve ways to allow media better access to unfolding events while also helping Ocean City to evaluate protocols in disseminating information to the media in a timely and proficient manner.”

The simulation starts with a briefing at 8 a.m., with the exercise taking place between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Agencies involved will include the Ocean City Fire Department, the Ocean City Police, Ocean City and Worcester County Emergency Management, the Salisbury Fire Department, the Maryland State Police Dive Team, the United States Coast Guard, Delaware Hazmat Response, and the Ocean City Crisis Communication Team.

For more information about the exercise or to find out how you can participate, please contact Colin Orsini at 410.726.6616.

Sunfest kicks off Ocean City’s ‘second season’

Tribute to Elvis, Kip Moore, Kasey Musgraves & Beach Boys in event line-up

Tickets on Sale for Springfest beginning September 13, Merle Haggard headlining

Sunfest, which recently ranked number one on Sunshine ARTIST Magazine’s annual 200 best shows list for 2013 , celebrates its 39th year as it takes over the Inlet Lot and beach Thursday-Sunday, September 19-22. The Town kicks off its “second season” with four days of music, food, arts, crafts and just plain fun. Admission to Sunfest is free.

Earning the top spot for “traditional arts and craft shows in the nation,” Sunfest boasts over 180 crafters, along with live music, hayrides on the beach and a wide and delicious offering of food.  Opening day on Thursday, September 19 begins with a parade down the Boardwalk beginning at 9:30 a.m. at 12th St. and the Beach Plaza Hotel and ending at the festival grounds with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m.

Live entertainment plays throughout the event. All entertainment is free with the exception of evening headline shows.  Headliners start on Thursday night with Jesse Garron’s Tribute to Elvis. Friday night will be two country stars, Kip Moore and Kacey Musgraves. Saturday night, The Beach Boys will rock the Sunfest tent to a sold out crowd.

Tickets for all three shows are on sale at the Ocean City Convention Center Box Office on 40th St. Box office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tickets will also be available on site during Sunfest, or at , 800-551-7328.

Parking is restricted at the festival grounds so it is advised visitors take advantage of the Town’s park and ride services. The West Ocean City Park and Ride on Route 50 just west of the bridge provides a convenient location for attendees with free parking and shuttle service to and from the South Transit Center on S. Division Street, just a block from Sunfest. Shuttle service is $1 per boarding or $3 ride all day.

Express trolley service is also available at the Convention Center on 40th St., where you can park for free in the south lot and ride the trolley directly to Sunfest. Fare is $3 ride all day or $1 per boarding as is the normal bus fare service. Additional park and ride locations are also located at the Public Safety Building on 65th Street, the municipal lot at 100th St. and Northside Park at 125th St. (walk to bus stop on Coastal Highway). The Boardwalk tram also will be in service during the event with fare of $3 one way.

Tickets are also on sale beginning Friday, September 13, for Springfest headliner Merle Haggard.  At the age of 73 the veteran singer/songwriter is still making some of the most compelling music of his long and storied career.  It almost goes without saying that Haggard is widely regarded as country music’s greatest living recording artist.

Along the way, Haggard has scored no less than 39 number one country hits; won various Grammy, CMA and ACM awards; become the only California-born artist in the Country Music Hall of Fame and been the only country performer ever featured on the cover of the jazz bible Downbeat.

In 1965 Haggard launched an incredible string of classic hits including “Swinging Doors,” “The Bottle Let Me Down,” “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive,” “Branded Man,” “Sing Me Back Home,” “Today I Started Loving You Again,” “Mama Tried,” “Hungry Eyes,” “Silver Wings,” “Workin’ Man Blues,” “The Fightin’ Side of Me,” “If We Make It Through December” and the much-misunderstood  “Okie From Muskogee.”  Those classics found Haggard honoring country-music traditions while drawing upon a broad range of jazz, blues, and folk influences, while his vivid, emotionally nuanced lyrics poignantly chronicled the dreams and heartbreaks of common people, as well as his own harsh life experiences.

Haggard will take the Springfest stage on Friday, May 2.  Tickets will be on sale at the Ocean City Convention Center Box Office on 40th St. Box office beginning September 13 or at . Ticket prices range from $24-$55.  For more information about Sunfest 2013, visit or call 800-626-2326.


American Bus Association names Ocean City’s Winterfest of Lights one of North America’s 100 Best Events for 2014

The American Bus Association (ABA) recently announced that Winterfest of Lights, to be held from Nov 21-Jan 2, has been designated as one of the Top 100 Events in North America for 2014 by an experienced expert tourism industry selection committee. Inclusion in the Top 100 list, published as a supplement to the September/October issue of Destinations magazine, indicates that Winterfest of Lights offers excellent entertainment value to both tour groups and individual travelers from around the world, according to ABA.

With the release of the American Bus Association’s 2014 Top 100 Events in North America, ABA celebrates 32 years of the program. What began as a way for motorcoach operators to incorporate new product into their itineraries has grown to one of the most sought-after lists by travel professionals, motorcoach operators and the general public.

“The attractiveness of Winterfest of Lights as a don’t-miss entertainment value is only part of why its selection this year is such a distinction for Ocean City,” said Peter J. Pantuso, CTIS, ABA’s president and CEO. “The real news here is that Winterfest of Lights has been recognized as a potential magnet for tourism dollars, at a time when reenergizing domestic tourism is so important to our spirit and our economy. The honor gives Ocean City an important boost in visibility among professional tour planners.”

According to studies completed by researchers at The George Washington University and Dunham and Associates, one overnight visit by a motorcoach group can leave from US $5,000 to more than US $11,000 in a local destination’s economy. Those dollars are spent on lodging, meals, admissions, fees, shopping, souvenirs, services and local taxes.

“Motorcoach groups spend more and stay longer,” Pantuso said. “That’s why Winterfest of Lights is truly a local economic asset. There is no better way to jump-start tourism than to attract motorcoach groups to a great event and convince them to extend their stay.”

ABA’s 2014 Top 100 Events Selection Committee selected Winterfest of Lights from hundreds of event nominations submitted by ABA members. Judges considered the event’s broad appeal, its accessibility to motorcoaches and skill at handling large groups, and a variety of other relevant criteria.

The Top 100 Events list is available online at