OCEAN CITY – The OC Jeep Week Parade was approved this week, giving the event another shot after it was ultimately canceled last summer.
Last year, OC Jeep Week was scheduled to take place Aug. 25-28, but a mandatory evacuation and subsequent closure of Ocean City due to Hurricane Irene resulted in it being canceled.
This year the parade of Jeeps down the beach will take place Friday, Aug. 24.
“We attempted to do this as part of Ocean City Jeep Week last year, but unfortunately Hurricane Irene came in and changed our plans, and what we’re asking for is to essentially do the same event that was approved last year,” said Will Lynch of The Commander Hotel.
Previously, Lynch explained that OC Jeep Week came about when The Commander Hotel was looking for a way to book rooms on a dead weekend.
Lynch had come across a Jeep forum where they were looking to start up a Mid-Atlantic event. He posted the thought of holding an event in Ocean City and by the next morning there were several hundred responses of interest.
Event coordinators intend on following through on all plans made for last year’s event since all the vendors were in place, scheduling was complete and even trophies were ready to be awarded.
OC Jeep Week promoter Larry Sackadorf of Broken Wing Productions called last year the “coming out” of the event.
“We were really, really, geared up for last year’s event and the pre-registration we were getting online had as many as 500 forms filled out,” Sackadorf said. “The year before, which was a test the waters event if you will, we had 150 jeeps that showed up at that time. So to go from 150 at the actual time of the event to having a little over 500 pre-registered we were looking at a really good turnout.”
Last year, Lynch explained that when the event first took place three years ago organizers weren’t able to have any events within town limits.
This week, Councilman Joe Hall asked if they were planning on having any more events’ on-island.
“One of the reasons we didn’t do so much in Ocean City to begin with because we were testing the waters,” Sackadork said. “Before we stuck our neck out too far and promised too much, we wanted to make sure we had an audience and we do have an audience.”
On-island sponsors have been picked up including Seacrets, Buxy’s Salty Dog Saloon and Fat Daddy’s Sub Shop.
“A bunch of businesses have gotten on board and we plan on building this year after year,” Sackadork said.
Joe Hall thanked Lynch and Sackadorf for the update saying that they had picked a perfect weekend for the parade.
“It is a week between the busy season and Labor Day, so it a perfect week to bump us up,” he said.
Staging for the parade will begin at 7 a.m. at the Jolly Roger parking lot and will ride down the beach from 30th Street to the Inlet. The total number of Jeeps to participate cannot exceed 100.
Another event in its early years was also approved this week, the OC Rally, which will enter into its second year.
“Last year we had the parade, and it was a picture perfect day in Ocean City for those of you who were there,” Nancy Howard of the Downtown Association said. “It is just a feel good day for the people that have the Ocean City license plate.”
The OC Rally is a parade of vehicles down the Boardwalk featuring those with an Ocean City license plate. This year it will take place on Oct. 20.
Howard said this year there will be a Halloween theme added to the parade since last year there were requests from participants to decorate their cars in a Halloween theme.
“I know that the town has always been interested in doing something for Halloween … it is in October, almost Halloween, so why not combine the two and have a Halloween parade as well as a license plate rally,” she said.
Last year a couple of council members voted against the OC Rally in concern of vehicles driving on the Boardwalk in the condition it was in.
This year Council members Margaret Pillas and Brent Ashley said that they have been assured by City Engineer Terry McGean that the Boardwalk is fully capable of sustaining the weight of the vehicles taking part in the rally.
The OC Rally will begin at 1 p.m. staged at 15th Street and riding south on the Boardwalk to the Inlet where a group photo will be taken. The expected number of participants is 250, but there is potential for more since 1,200 Ocean City license plates have been sold.