OCEAN CITY — Unsatisfied with a traditional ball-drop to ring in the New Year, Oasis Bar and Grill in Whaleyville will be teaming up with Shorebilly Brewing to lower a holiday-themed Volkswagen bus from the sky on Dec. 31.
According to Oasis owner Bobby Riccio, his bar organizes a New Year’s Eve celebration every winter and has finally decided to do something that will make the event an extremely memorable one. There will be no cover for the bus drop, live entertainment, a champagne toast, and a special brew from Shorebilly to commemorate the night. The bus will be lowered by crane, this year from Aerial Crane Company from Parsonsburg.
“We’ll do this every year,” promised Riccio. “It’ll be a big cross-promotion.”
The bus itself, which Riccio said will be decorated for the holiday, is the symbol for Shorebilly and meant to capture the unique feeling and culture of Ocean City.
“It’s just something that reflects Ocean City,” said Shorebilly owner Danny Robinson. “That surfer, summer looking van, and actually I have three of them already.”
Shorebilly is set to officially open on St. Patrick’s Day and will be the first microbrewery to operate in Ocean City in several years. Both Robinson and Riccio feel that they will share similar patrons and decided that instead of competing, they should cooperate as much as possible.
After the bus is lowered for New Year’s Eve, Robinson revealed that it will remain at Oasis.
“That bus is going to be sitting at Oasis year-round,” he said.
Once people got used to the idea of a bus coming down instead of a mirrored ball for New Years’ Eve, Robinson said the buzz began to build rapidly.
“We’re expecting a good turnout,” he said. “We’re getting a lot of good feedback.”
After its initial run this year, both Riccio and Robinson hope that the event will live on once the novelty has worn off and become an Eastern Shore tradition, especially since it will be combined with a special Shorebilly batch each winter. Riccio added that he would like to continue to cross-promote with Robinson throughout the year.
“I’d love to be on his radar to kick beers off, especially in the off-season,” he said.