OCEAN CITY – The holiday spirit is being revived downtown through the initiatives of Light Up Downtown Ocean City 2011.
The Downtown Association, Ocean City Development Association (OCDC) and the Boardwalk Development Association (BDA) have announced that Light Up Downtown Ocean City is underway. The associations have begun asking downtown residents and business owners to display holiday lights during this year’s holiday season.
Tiffany Lowry of the Downtown Association and Carmen’s Haircuts said that efforts were initiated a few years ago when the Inlet’s drive-thru light show was cut off by the city.
“Our long-term goal is everybody will see we are putting up lights, and we will continue to put up lights year after year, and hopefully in our efforts the city will see that and put our lights back up in the downtown Inlet that they took away … because they said that it wasn’t in the budget,” Lowry said.
Lowry went in front of the council a couple of years ago asking for the Inlet lights to return and she was told they “would look into it”. She added that she has customers express how much they miss the Inlet’s holiday display year after year.
“Since the city took our lights away from downtown … there is nobody coming downtown anymore to see all the lights,” Lowry said. “The more lights that are up downtown the more visitors we will start having downtown.”
Lowry added that even businesses that are not opened year-round are being asked to participate.
“If they put up their lights, even if they are closed, it is going to be good for their business in the upcoming season because this way they have been spotted and people will be able to see them,” she said.
Lowry pointed out that a dark downtown area is not inviting, especially during the holiday season. She compared downtown Ocean City to downtown Berlin, which is lit up from all directions during the holiday season as a result of its widely popular Victorian Christmas celebration.
“Somehow we are forgotten about during the winter season downtown,” she said. “Our efforts in adding the holiday lights are to get the city to put their lights up, too.”
According to Lowry, the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce is all for Light Up Downtown and has even added a special category, Light Up Downtown, to their holiday decorating contest on behalf of the three associations, OCDC, BDA and the Downtown Association.
Downtown residents and businesses have been on the move participating in the program. Participating businesses include Weavers Bros Beer & Wine, Candy Kitchen, The Pour House, Snappers Saloon, The Bearded Clam, Trimpers Rides and Amusements, Davey Jones Locker, Carmen’s Haircuts and the OCDC.
Light Up Downtown is being emphasized along Philadelphia and Baltimore Avenue and the Boardwalk from the Inlet to 5th Street, from Thanksgiving weekend through New Year’s Day. However, the associations are also encouraging other businesses and residents from the Inlet to 15th street as well.
“Downtown is the heart of Ocean City … this is where it all started and I don’t want them to forget about us,” Lowry said.