Council Gives Blessing To Sunset Park Concert Series

OCEAN CITY – After tossing around some ideas for how to
spruce up events at Sunset Park and ultimately agreeing on an idea at the
Recreation and Parks Committee meeting last week, Special Events Director John
Sullivan and Recreation and Parks Director Tom Shuster came before the Mayor
and City Council Monday night to pitch their plans.

Completed in August of last year and located on South
Division Street between Philadelphia Avenue and the bay, Sunset Park is planned
to play host to at least eight events so far this summer aimed at attracting
both visitors and locals alike to the unique setting.

As reported last week, Sullivan approached the Recreation
and Parks Committee with an idea he hoped would create an event that would
bring people there, introduce them to the park itself and have them take an
ownership of it.

“When we were asked to put together this recommendation,
we wanted to think of what would truly be successful, what would appeal to the
visitors and the residents of the town, and what would work in the venue,” he
said Monday night.

His idea was to expand on the current plans of hosting
90-minute to two-hour concerts by encompassing them in an ethnic theme and
incorporating amenities such as food, beer and wine that would correlate to the
theme.

“We thought, of course, you can do some type of concert
but what you really want to do is bring people there and let them celebrate the
sunset, the location, and being in Ocean City,” Sullivan said. “Of course,
being Americans, we all come from some other country, some other place, so we
thought we ought to maybe celebrate that.”

Sullivan said the events would be full of music, food and
dancing all based on cultures around the globe. One such example would be
German night, scheduled for July 30, where an umpah band would perform on the
park’s music stage while a vendor served up knockwurst, bratwurst and German
beers.

The second ethnic night, planned for Aug. 27, will be
Italian night where the vendor will serve wine, as well as beer, to go along
with the Mediterranean cuisine. Decorations, such as small strings of lights
similar to the ones used in Italy, would also be implemented to set the mood
and invite the public to enjoy the night as if they were spending it at a small
town festival in Europe.

Taking place from 7 to 10 p.m., the events will serve as a
type of pilot program to see if events of this nature will be able to attract
crowds to the park.

“I think it’s a great idea and we’re kind of stepping out
a little bit here but I think it’s the right thing to do,” Mayor Rick Meehan
said following the presentation. “We need to do different things and try
different things and we can see if they will work and I think this will work
under your leadership.”

Following the proposal and the mayor’s comments, the
council went ahead and unanimously approved Sullivan’s and Shuster’s plans.

Other
events already approved and looking to make an impact on Sunset Park include a
Family Fun Day sponsored by the National Aquarium in Baltimore on June 29 and
concerts sponsored by the Ocean City Development Corporation featuring bands
such as No Byscuyts, Opposite Directions and Neon Swing X-Perience. 

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