Between The Lines

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The Dew Tour kicks off Thursday, and it’s worth putting this event into perspective.

There’s no records kept around here to gauge magnitudes of events, but I feel confident saying this is the largest and most extensive event Ocean City has ever hosted. The resort, particularly the downtown area, is going to be mobbed next weekend, which holds the potential for being among the largest ever for the resort area.

While huge crowds are expected, they would more than likely already be here because it’s the peak of the summer season. However, the true rewards of the event are not what it will do for business in Ocean City this weekend. It’s the long-range impact of introducing a national television audience to the resort as well as bringing some of the top extreme athletes in the world to this area. The Dew Tour is a first-class event, one that will bring Ocean City millions of dollars’ worth of free publicity and promotion.

It may seem like I am sipping on the public relations tea here, but there’s no disputing this is a big deal for Ocean City and this entire market.

The reality is this event will bring dozens of top action sports competitors and their families, well-known entertainers and their teams of personnel and hundreds of behind-the-scenes workers who are constructing the stages and arenas for the extreme sports and working the various details involved with putting on events like this. These folks have to stay somewhere and they have to eat and presumably drink. Unquestionably, they will boost commerce with their mere attendance and willingness to soak up all of our offerings.

Although still a week away, John Gehrig with D3Corp, which operates OceanCityRes.com, a hotel marketing & reservation service, said advanced bookings look solid for Dew Tour weekend, but not off the charts as some expected.

“I am only mildly surprised that the event did not help advanced bookings. I am confident that the week and weekend will be very strong for Ocean City businesses,” he said. “The main thing to remember is that the primary benefit of this event was not to put more people in town on an already busy week. Rather, the benefit is the national exposure the event provides to Ocean City, Md.”

From a hotel perspective, Gehrig said, “I am not worried about selling that weekend as the booking window seems to be within seven days and hotels will implement yield management strategies to maximize bookings. My motto: If the sun shall shine, the numbers will be fine.”

While some believe it’s simply a money grab by the federal government, I think there’s justification for issuing fines to people found on Assateague Island to be “willfully approaching or remaining within 10 feet of any horse.”

I spend a lot of time on Assateague Island throughout the year, and the horses, of course, are always around. They usually mind their own business and do their own thing, allowing the perfect venue to observe them in their own habitat. It’s charming to be sitting on the beach and watching a herd of horses walking along the shoreline and sometimes even swimming in the ocean. However, there are times when they are not charming at all and can tend to the aggressive side, particularly when it comes to food and if there’s a male rivalry issue at play.

For obvious reasons, visitors to Assateague are enthralled with the horses and are ignorant to the dangers of getting too close to them and particularly feeding them. I have seen people allowing their little kid to feed a horse a carrot; some parents have even placed their child on the back of a horse for a photo; and one guy last summer opened a six-pack of beer and made a bowl in the sand for a few horses to drink on a hot day. There are plenty of other examples to illustrate the point.

The intent of the new regulation is wise. The devil, like most laws, will be enforcing it and using discretion. There may be some incidents that require a $100 fine to be issued, but my thinking is most of the time a verbal or written warnings while raising the specter of a fine should be most suitable.

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