OCEAN CITY – A West Ocean City-based special event received a significant boost this week when the City Council voted to allocate $5,000 for the maritime event if the county provides a matching amount.
The Harbor Day – A Day At The Docks event is scheduled for Saturday Oct. 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be both free and open to the public. The event is being touted as an “innovative, family-friendly program,” that will highlight the area’s maritime traditions.
“I’m looking at this as a celebration of what we have here in Ocean City,” said organizer Ruth Waters last week to the Tourism Commission.
The event will be held in West Ocean City, along the waterfront and Sunset Avenue.
“Our maritime history, for the most part, does reside over the water,” said Waters, adding that space, parking and accessibility also contributed to the decision to hold the event in West Ocean City.
Events will include seafood cooking demonstrations, fish cleaning techniques, net mending, marlin rigging, children’s games and story telling. The day will culminate with a blessing of the fleet.
Waters said it would take $15,620 to make the concept a reality this year. Waters noted that while private sector donations are coming in, county and town contributions are needed to jumpstart the event.
“This is something that’ll be great for the whole community,” said Dr. Lenny Berger.
“I think it’s important that we have these events,” said Mayor Rick Meehan. “I think we’ve seen that when we have these events, people come.”
Waters and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Melanie Pursel made an official plea to the City Council Tuesday, asking for a one-time only, $5,000 grant, to match $5,000 from the county.
“We need to jumpstart it, we need to make sure it happens,” said Waters.
Council members Jim Hall and Jay Hancock suggested actively pursuing more support from the West Ocean City business community.
“That’s going to be very good for their bars and restaurants over there,” said Hall.
“That’s where all the businesses have gone, and they’re going to be the ones that benefit,” agreed Hancock.
Waters said several businesses in the harbor area had already come forward with financial and in-kind support, with many more anticipated to contribute.
“I think this is just a great idea, it’s family oriented,” said Council member Mary Knight.
The County Commissioners will be approached next week for the matching funds.