OC Season Starts With A Bang

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All indications point to a wonderful Memorial Day weekend in the Ocean City area, and that’s good news for a business community that reported a slower off-season than usual.

As is the case with any weekend, there are some businesses that reported outstanding sales, while others who say it was on par with last year’s and even some that report it was not as good. Mixed reviews are commonplace when ascertaining business success. However, it’s easy to report most businesses said the weekend capped off a tremendous two-week run including the Cruisin’ event and last week’s holiday.

It was a weekend that seemed more like that of the Fourth of July than Memorial Day. There were the same crowds and all that goes with it, but what made it most seem like the heart of summer was the weather, which was absolutely perfect for an Ocean City holiday weekend.

One of the most memorable aspects of the weekend was Saturday night’s raucous thunderstorm, which pounded Ocean City with torrential downpours but left some areas within a couple miles without a drop. Even that storm was not all bad news as it most likely got people into local restaurants and bars earlier than usual.

Although demoflush has its flaws, there’s no mistaking the fact that it’s adequate for year-to-year comparisons. It’s problems lie in the total number. It’s difficult to say how many people are actually in town, but so long as we are comparing apples to apples, then it’s a good tool to determine crowd size. This year’s 259,823 crowd total was the highest in 13 years, and it blows away the five-year average of 226,792 between 2002-2006. That’s says a lot and most businesses said this week they could tell by their sales that the crowds were robust.

Although it’s wonderful to hear local businesses had a good weekend, it’s also welcome news that high gasoline prices are not deterring vacationers from making the trek to the beach. For many visitors, Ocean City may only be a tank away, but it’s a relief to see the motorists are okay with spending $50 for a tank of gas for the family vehicle rather than what was more like $35 a couple years ago.

It seems an outstanding weather forecast of hot, hazy and humid conditions coupled with sun and mostly dry conditions are still the critical ingredients in a recipe for success. The metropolitan meteorologists are powerful folks and, in this case, they helped the resort.

Memorial Day weekend has always been dependent on the weather. If the forecast looks bad for the weekend, the holiday can be a total bust, largely due to school-aged kids still being in school and families not wanting to risk the trip for poor weather. That’s happened more often than not in recent years.

All that went by the wayside this week. Mother Nature is largely to thank, certainly, and that’s fine, but one thing the weekend did was boost expectations and bring a little optimism to the beach.

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