There lots of questions surrounding the new Ocean City Air Show, an event planned for June 10-11 on the beach between 15th and 18th streets.
The Town of Ocean City is joining with a private promoter, Brian Lilley Inc., to sponsor the event, which will feature a civilian air demonstration team, military demos and various air-related displays. The air show will take place from on a Tuesday and Wednesday in June from noon-3 p.m., raising concerns among some private business folks along the Boardwalk about whether the beach will be closed in certain areas at the time of the event.
Overall, we support the intent of the air show, while acknowledging reasons for concerns. The special event will be filling a void in the summer event calendar. Whether the decision to hold it mid-week before school lets out is a wise one will have to be revisited after the inaugural event. Our guess is that’s a scheduling blunder that will severely limit attendance, but we hope that’s not the case.
June for years has been written off as June Bug month. The high school and college students dominate the resort. Most weekly rentals in town are vacant as a result, but lodging establishments that rent to the kids are full most of the month. Restaurants and bars usually report it’s the lightest month of the summer season. This air show will not do anything to change that perception. However, it could be a building block to diversifying the crowd during this time of year.
The event comes with some risks and the town has put itself in the awkward position of having to not only help maintain public safety at the event but also needs to monitor its financial success. The town is providing $50,000 in funding, which could be returned to the city if there’s that much profit. Why officials are fine with subsidizing this event, but not others, is unclear. Another risk is the plan to serve beer and wine. The promoter will have to have a strict plan in place to keep the alcohol out of the wrong hands.
All in all, it will be interesting to see how this inaugural event pans out. It’s a risky endeavor to bring to Ocean City and not a cheap one at that. It’s anyone’s guess how well attendance will be and if there’s an interest in the middle of a summer week. Ocean City needs special events like this air show to attract people here. It will be interesting to see if this is successful in luring new people here or is simply an event to entertain those that are already here. Regardless, the city needs to reconsider any future investment at this time next year.