Category Archives: Town of Ocean City Press Releases

September is National Preparedness Month

(September 15, 2014) – September marks the 11th Annual National Preparedness Month, and The Town of Ocean City is reminding residents, business owners and visitors that it is a perfect time to prepare for emergencies.  National Preparedness Month is designed to educate the public to be ready with an “all hazards approach” to emergencies in their home with families, the community and in business.

National Preparedness month for 2014 focuses on turning awareness into action by encouraging individuals and businesses to create an emergency preparedness plan.  The Town of Ocean City’s Emergency Services Department encourages residents and visitors to be prepared by following these simple steps;

  1. Become knowledgeable about emergency preparedness in your community, town, county and state by identifying sources of information that will be beneficial before, during and after an emergency.
  2. Create a family plan for emergencies that includes an emergency supply kit customized to meet the needs of your family and pets.  The key component of National Preparedness Month is to be prepared for any emergency preparing your family to be self-sufficient for a minimum of 72 hours but realistically 96 hours or greater to be without power, utilities, water service, supermarkets, gas stations and possibly no Police, Fire or Emergency Medical Services response.
  3. Understand that preparedness requires involvement from the public with government to create a whole community approach to disaster preparedness.
  4. Get involved with volunteer organizations that help citizens and the community before, during and after an emergency.

“National Preparedness Month is a great time to make sure you have the needed tools to survive a crisis or major disaster,” said Joseph Theobald, Emergency Services Director for the Town of Ocean City. “By taking a few simple steps – creating a disaster supply kit, making a family disaster plan and staying informed – citizens can help make preparedness a priority in the community.”

Ocean City residents and businesses should prepare to be self-sufficient for at least three days after an emergency. After a major disaster, electricity, gas, water, and telephones may not be working. Transportation routes and businesses may be closed. Services in the Ocean City area may also be impacted as staff may be handling serious incidents during the initial hours of the disaster. It also may take some time for public safety personnel to reach those in need.

The Town of Ocean City Department of Emergency Services offers presentations several times a year on preparedness and is willing to schedule presentations to organizations or groups.  They also offer citizens training in the fall for the Community Emergency Response Team program.  For more information or for helpful preparedness tips, call (410) 723-6646 or visit the Ocean City Emergency Management website

In conjunction with National Preparedness month, the revised Storm Survival Guide is available to the public. Copies are available in Town at City Hall, Public Safety Building, Ocean City Library, 15th Street Fire Headquarters, Roland E. Powell Convention Center, Northside Park and the Chamber of Commerce in west Ocean City. The cost of printing was reimbursed to the Town through the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. The brochure provides valuable information related to preparedness before, during and after a storm and includes the following text from the State:

“Part of your long term preparation for storm events can include mitigation measures to provide permanent protection from storm damages.  Ocean City works in cooperation with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency to develop hazard mitigation strategies for the city, and to provide opportunities for property owners to participate in the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).

The HMGP provides grants to State and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major storm disaster declaration.  The purpose is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.

HMGP funds may be used for projects that will reduce or eliminate losses from future disasters, and must provide savings greater than the cost of the project.  All mitigation projects must be cost-effective, technically feasible, and meet Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation requirements in accordance with FEMA Guidance.  In addition, all mitigation activities must adhere to all relevant state and local regulations, and requirements.”



Sunfest kicks off Ocean City’s ‘Second Season’

Rick Springfield, Eric Paslay, Parmalee and Righteous Brothers in event line-up

(September 8, 2014) – Sunfest, which recently ranked number one on Sunshine ARTIST Magazine’s annual 200 best shows list for 2014 , celebrates its 40th year as it takes over the Inlet Lot and beach Thursday-Sunday, September 18-21. 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 18 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.

Also adding to the excitement is this year’s fireworks and beach laser light shows.  The fireworks will be displayed on opening day, Thursday, September 18, at 10 p.m. in the area of North Division Street.  Guests won’t want to miss the OC Beach Lights shows on Saturday, September 20, when the five-story inflatable sphere lights up the night sky.  The shows, which are approximately 8 minutes in length, feature a visual laser, lighting, special effects, video and audio production with visibility along the Boardwalk.  Also including a firework effect, the shows will take place at 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Live entertainment plays throughout the event. All entertainment is free with the exception of evening headline shows.  Headliners start on Thursday night with an evening of classic soul hits with the Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley. Country music fans will flock to the festival on Friday night, when Eric Paslay and Parmalee take the stage. Finally, the ladies will swoon on Saturday when 80’s heartthrob Rick Springfield performs on the Sunfest stage.

Tickets for all three shows are on sale at the Ocean City Convention Center Box Office on 40th St. Box office hours are 9 a.m. to 4 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 $3 ride all day.

Special Event express shuttle service is also available at the Convention Center on 40th St., where you can park for free in the south lot and ride the express shuttle directly to Sunfest. Fare is $3 ride all day, as is the normal Coastal Highway 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 $3 ride all day pass is valid for use on Coastal Highway, Park n Ride and Express Shuttle buses from 6am to 6am. Exact fare is required. The Boardwalk tram also will be in service during the event with fare of $3 one way. For additional information regarding bus fares for Senior Citizens, Disabled Persons, Medicare Card Holders and Children please call Ocean City Transportation at 410-723-1606 or visit the Public Works Transportation webpage at


El Galeon will Set Sail Tomorrow, Leaving Ocean City after Successful Month Long Stay

tallshiplgAfter more than a month’s stay in Ocean City, the Galeon Andalucia will be departing the resort early on Friday, September 5.  With a sunrise departure planned for as early as 6:15 a.m., the 16th century vessel is expected to begin its journey to the Baltimore area.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the event,” commented Special Events Director Frank Miller.  “The El Galeon offers a unique draw to our residents and visitors.  Having the opportunity to tour the only Galeon class vessel sailing the open seas today while visiting Ocean City, its boardwalk and beach is a rare experience.”

According organizers from the National Air, Sea and Space Foundation, several thousand visitors stepped aboard the ship during the five week stay in Ocean City.  “Although final numbers are not available, it was a well-attended experience with thousands of tickets sold,” Miller continued. “Locals and tourists from as far as Canada and a handful from abroad, with ages ranging from 3-years-old to 102, toured the Spanish vessel, so it was clearly an event for all ages.”

Along with the regular admission, the tall ship hosted several school groups from the lower shore during the past several weeks.  “The ability to open the ship to school groups had several benefits,” Miller finished.  “The students had an opportunity to step back in time, meet and interact with members of the Spanish crew, and complete special projects custom-designed for the Galleon by the teachers which made the visit fun and educational.”

If you wish to watch the vessel depart Maryland’s eastern shore, plan to be near the inlet and bay no later than 6 a.m. tomorrow morning. The departure window is based on weather and tidal conditions so the Galeon Andalucia is expected to be underway between 6:15am and 7:30am.

To view more information or to check the ships schedule, please visit:




Employees Celebrated During 10th Annual Boardwalk Employee Appreciation

(September 2, 2014) – The Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC) recognized the Town of Ocean City’s Boardwalk maintenance crews for a job well done over the summer season on Labor Day, Monday, September 1. This marks the tenth year the OCDC has publicly recognizing the efforts of the Public Works crew beneath the Boardwalk Arch at N. Division Street.

The Boardwalk employees, who are responsible for everything from sweeping and grooming the sand to emptying the hundreds of trash cans both on the Boardwalk and in the downtown area to ensuring everything’s working properly in the comfort stations, were presented gift bags provided by Boardwalk merchants, hoteliers and restaurateurs, which includes many OCDC members. In addition, special envelopes were compiled with various gifts from merchants that will be given to employees throughout the year for special recognition. 

“The Boardwalk wouldn’t be the same without the hard work of our Boardwalk employees,” said Vicki Barrett, the chair of the OCDC’s Boardwalk Committee.  “Most of their work in unseen by our residents and visitors but it is noticed by the businesses that depend on a clean beach and Boardwalk for a successful summer each year.”

This year, more than 15 businesses donated to the Boardwalk Employee Appreciation ceremony. Following the ceremony, the employees were treated to pizza from the landmark Tony’s Pizza and subs from Pizza Boy.  “We have a very dedicated and hard working group of individuals who help keep Ocean City’s Boardwalk and beach in tip-top shape for our residents and visitors to enjoy,” said John VanFossen, Deputy Director of Public Works.  “It is quite an honor to have our local business community recognize their hard work and commitment to the Town, especially the downtown area.”



Ocean City Emergency Services Urges Visitors to “Know Your Address”

(September 2, 2014) – Knowing your address might seem like something that should have been learned in elementary school, however; the Town of Ocean City’s Emergency Services Department insists that all too often callers don’t know their location.  The address, which may not seem like a “must know” to visitors, can be critical for first responders during emergency and lifesaving response time.


“Most of our visitors disregard the address where they’re staying as soon as they arrive,” said Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald.  “Once they turn off their GPS and park their car, they are officially in vacation mode, which is exactly what we want. Unfortunately, if one of our visitors is in need of medical attention or calls 911 for emergency response, they often times don’t know their location and it can be quite challenging for our personnel to try to determine where they are located rather than immediately sending help their way.”


Also, due to the decreased use of landline telephones, Theobald notes that emergency dispatchers are not able to get an exact location for callers.  “Most of our calls come from cell phones, and while they do give GPS locations, it is often inaccurate,” Theobald continued.  “Unless they are calling from a landline, the GPS does not give an exact location and this greatly delays getting our visitors help.”


The Emergency Services Department is currently working with the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association to make addresses more visible for visitors, as well as inform customers to know their address when they check-in.  Owners of rental properties are encouraged to display a complete address, including the name of the building, on the back of the front door of their rental.  Lastly, visitors are encouraged to know where they’re staying.


“We certainly hope our visitors never need to call us,” Theobald finished.  “But in the worst case, if they need us during their trip to Ocean City, we want to be there for them and we want to be there fast.”