Winterfest Attendance Solid, Called ‘A Good Year’

Approximately 3,000 people were estimated to watch the fireworks at Northside Park on New Year’s Eve. Photo by Chris Parypa Approximately 3,000 people were estimated to watch the fireworks at Northside Park on New Year’s Eve. Photo by Chris Parypa

OCEAN CITY – With the 21st Annual Winterfest of Lights coming to an end on Wednesday night, city officials are optimistic 2013 will prove to be another successful year, as an official attendance count will come next week.
“In terms of attendance, we are on pace with last year, which is great, so our patrons still look at Winterfest of Lights as a wonderful place to come,” Ocean City Special Events Superintendent Frank Miller said. “It has been a good year, absolutely.”
Miller explained there are a couple of factors playing into a possible decrease in attendance this year compared to last starting with last year’s Winterfest of Lights season had an extra week as Thanksgiving came early. Additionally, there were three weekends with foul weather this year.
“But we did have weekends in December that were just beautiful to make up for that, which is why I think we are on pace with last year,” Miller said. “If we would have had that extra week, I think we would have had one of the largest years of attendance in the history of the event.”
Last year’s Winterfest of Lights was the second highest in attendance ever with about 95,600 riders, and 2011 held the highest number in attendance with 107,000.
“I don’t think we are going to meet last year’s number only because we lost that week, but we will be close,” Miller said.
On New Year’s Eve, Winterfest of Lights featured a fireworks show at midnight for the second year. The crowds starting filling in Northside Park’s parking lot as “DJ Kutt” started live music at 11 p.m.
Hours for Winterfest of Lights, which was recently named a prestigious Top 100 Event by American Bus Association and voted “Maryland’s Finest Holiday Tradition” by Maryland Life Magazine, were extended until midnight on New Year’s Eve.
“It was great, even if it was 27 degrees by midnight,” Miller said.
Miller added the fireworks show was a “festive experience” this year as the 10-minute show was synchronized to music.
“I bet we had 3,000 people here. That is off the cuff,” Miller said, between those at Northside Park and those watching from nearby streets. “I think fireworks on New Year’s Eve at Northside Park are growing, and I personally see an opportunity to continue that tradition here and grow it.”

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