OCEAN CITY – The Fourth of July is always a busy time for local businesses as they prepare their staff for large crowds, but this year, with the holiday falling on a Wednesday, businesses are hoping to see a significant surge from the two-weekend split.
The lure of having Independence Day fall on a weekend is certainly enticing as it promises a blowout weekend full of vacationing tourists. However, the mid-week Fourth of July has its own appeal for local businesses, offering the possibility of visitors filling the town for two weekends instead of one.
The prediction among those in the tourism industry is that people will choose to vacation in Ocean City for an extended weekend, either staying this weekend through Wednesday, July 4th or arriving on the holiday and staying through the following weekend.
Either way, businesses in the Ocean City area are crossing their fingers for good crowds, beautiful weather and booming business.
The Kite Loft owner Jay Knerr predicts a good Fourth of July this year and is excited about the mid-week holiday.
“I think we’re going to get a double hit from it,” he said.
Knerr feels that the mid-week holiday will not only bring strong business throughout the week, but also to the previous and prior weekends.
“It’s really a blessing in disguise,” he said.
After having experienced weekend Fourth of July’s and mid-week Fourth of July’s, Knerr said he looks forward to the mid-week holiday and the extended business that it brings.
“Last year the Fourth was on a Tuesday, and although it rained we still had a good weekend before and after,” he said.
Knerr is hoping for good weather this year, but he is confident that the fireworks display the city provides on July 4th will bring masses of people to the Boardwalk.
Doug Buxbaum, owner of Buxy’s Salty Dog Saloon on 28th Street, is also crossing his fingers for good weather and looking forward to the upcoming holiday.
Buxbaum feels that the week will probably be weather conducive. He went on to explain that people will most likely wait for a strong weather forecast before making plans to travel to Ocean City.
“People really like to wait and see,” he said.
Although Buxbaum would like to see a big four-day holiday weekend, he is looking forward to the business that a holiday spread over two weekends will bring.
“We’re hoping for a great week and we’re keeping our fingers crossed for good weather,” he said.
Steve Hoffman of Crab Alley, located in West Ocean City on Golf Course Road, prefers the mid-week Fourth of July than one blockbuster weekend.
“It [following on a Wednesday] is definitely a positive for us,” he said.
Hoffman explained that people would likely take off Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday, extending the holiday for businesses. Hoffman feels that it will bring good business to Crab Alley all week long and into the buffering weekends.
“In the past, it’s been a very, very good week for us,” said Hoffman, explaining that he’s experienced the mid-week Fourth of July before and has seen the boom in business that it can provide for Crab Alley.
Hoffman added, “It’s what we’ve been waiting for,” feeling confident that the holiday rush will be good for business.
Hoffman agreed the success of the holiday would be weather related. For Crab Alley, mild temperatures forecast for this week not only brings business, allowing people to enjoy the outside seating, but also keep the employees in the steamy kitchen in good spirits.
Scotty Laird, manager of Belly Busters on 45th Street, is also predicting a successful week, agreeing that business will be spread out across the two weekends and the entire week.
“I prefer to have it spread out like this,” said Laird, feeling confident that people will pour into town for more than just one weekend.
“It maximizes your potential for business,” he said.
Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association Executive Director Susan Jones agreed that the mid-week holiday would bring split business across two weekends.
“It’ll give us two weekends of solid business versus one huge bang-up weekend,” she said.
Jones also said the holiday falling on a Wednesday could make the week more enjoyable with the frenzy being spread out rather than jammed into one long weekend.
Jones mentioned the efforts that the town and the OCHMRA have made to bring people to Ocean City for the Fourth. She said that hotels have been providing great package deals, mentioning specifically the Star Spangled Special promotion that 20 hotels will be offering through July 8.
The Town and OCHMRA have provided E-News blasts through their websites, advertising the Star Spangled Specials that are available.
“We’re really trying to gather some last-minute business,” she said.
Local businesses aren’t the only ones predicting a busy holiday; AAA Mid-Atlantic is expecting a boost in holiday travel. AAA has predicted that 772,000 Marylanders will travel more than 50 miles or more this year for the Fourth of July.
According to an AAA Mid-Atlantic survey, the majority of travelers, 37.9 percent, will leave on Friday, June 29 with an expected return on Thursday, July 5. These predictions look promising for the resort town, which hopes to be the destination for most of these travelers.
“When a major travel holiday falls in the middle of the week, that can serve as a plus for holiday travelers dreading the idea of congested highways…” said Ragina C. Averella, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.