Was it the hot, hazy and humid weather? Was it a sign the economy is recovering some and discretionary income is being restored? Was it a result of the town’s expanded advertising and marketing?
Whatever the case, the local tourism market’s prime season has gotten off to a splendid start, thanks to another strong Cruisin’ weekend and a better-than-expected three-day holiday run.
For years, Memorial Day weekend has been an uncertainty on the town’s calendar. It has become so bland of late that we began suggesting Ocean City start holding special events on this “spring” weekend, maintaining that the fact it’s a three-day holiday weekend alone does not always result in crowds flocking to the beach, particularly when the weather is an unknown and the ocean is still too cold to swim in for most.
It’s also been said and confirmed by many resort businesses over the last decade that Cruisin’ weekend is the better of the two weekends, as they come no matter what the weather predictions are and they are consistent when the Memorial Day crowds are not a given since schools are still in session and again that Mother Nature card.
All that went out the window this year as most are reporting both were banner weekends, and demoflush numbers confirm it. Although it’s unclear exactly how accurate demoflush numbers are when calculating the crowd size, the one constant here is the estimates are a sound tool when comparing weekends from year to year.
Our demoflush figures date back to 1987 and this past weekend was by far the largest of any Memorial Day crowd on record.
That’s significant and something that the town should use to build confidence. Ocean City is still a destination that people seek out for family vacations, a little fun in the sun and rowdy nights on the town.
Sure, a little cooperation from Mother Nature plays a big part in it, but to see the crowds and hear the reports of sold-out hotels beginning to get their three-night minimums, landmark restaurants exceeding historic sales records and two-hour waits at new eateries cannot be disputed.
Things are looking up in Ocean City, and no matter what the cause it behooves all of us to keep the momentum going and put our best foot forward this time of year.