OCEAN CITY – Details were released this week about two upcoming summer special events — the OC Air Show in June and the two tall ships planned to be on display in the resort for the month of August.
“We are about six weeks out from the 7th Annual OC Air Show that is taking place June 14-15,” Brian Lilley of B. Lilley Production LLC said. “We are very excited to be here talking about having military performances back with us in supporting the air show industry. Last year was a very hard year for the industry in general, and I think we together, the Town of Ocean City and sponsors, showed amazing resilience and a had a fabulous show last year with our all-star all civilian line-up. We were very happy to see the military support being given to us for 2014.”
Due to last year’s federal government cuts, military performances were cut from air show events across the country due to massive restructuring and emergency cost-cutting steps, including a reduction in non-essential flying.
This year the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will be returning to Ocean City for their fourth performance in the event’s seven-year history. Also returning this year is the U.S. Navy Seals Leap Frogs parachute team, which is only performing at seven shows this year, and the U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier Demo, which is planning six performances this year. Additionally, the U.S. Army Silver Wings parachute team is slated to appear. The U.S. Coast Guard will also be involved in the show once again.
“It is a very unique air show,” Lilley said. “As far as I know we are the only show being supported by every branch of the military.”
The event will also feature civilian performances that include the Raiders Flight Team, GEICO Skytypers, Sean Carroll YAK-9 Fighter Demo and B-25 Mitchell Bomber flight.
“Very special and the first time we will have World War II aero bomber fly over with Panchito’s B-25 Mitchell Bomber flight,” Lilley said. “This year’s show will be on Flag Day. It is also the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner, so we are going to have Panchito fly over as part of that, and it is great way to honor the veterans.”
Looking ahead Lilley also reminded the council the U.S. Navy Blue Angels will be performing in the OC Air Show in 2015 for their first performance in Ocean City but not their first appearance.
“For those of you who remember back in 2008, the Blue Angels were the first air craft to ever fly in the aerobatic box of the OC Air Show,” Lilley said. “It was great to have them fly over in 2008 and it will be even better to have their first performance here in 2015.”
According to Lilley, the amount of publicity and interest in the OC Air Show this year is far more than ever seen in years before.
“We track our website statistics closely and I am happy to report that for the last 30 days we are seeing double the traffic to our website than in 2012, which was our biggest year ever,” he said. “We are expecting the biggest and best, Mother Nature willing with great sunny skies, the best OC Air Show to date this year.”
Mayor Rick Meehan called the OC Air Show an all-American event.
“When you see them drop from the skies with an American Flag and plant on the beach and if don’t get chills you are missing something,” the mayor said.
Lilley thanked the Town of Ocean City for its ongoing support of the air show.
“This has been such a great partnership with the town and the Mayor and Council and we appreciate the continued support. We could not do it and have been so successful without the support of you,” he said.
On Tuesday, Lilley also gave a presentation of the second appearance of the tall ship, El Galeon Andelucia, in Ocean City and new this year its sister ship, Nao Victoria, both arriving in Ocean City July 31 and be open to patrons from Aug. 1 to Sept. 1.
“The timing that we are looking at gives a tremendous opportunity as a result of the El Galeon being the featured ship in the upcoming NBC series ‘Crossbones’,” Lilley said.
The El Galeon Andelucia is a replica of the late 16th century fabled merchant vessels and war ships that made up the early navies of Europe.
Crossbones, staring John Malkovich as the legendary Blackbeard, will premiere on May 30 and air on Friday nights at 10 p.m. The season finale of the show will air while the El Galeon is in Ocean City.
“We are very excited about this. It will obviously bring identity to El Galeon as most of the filming was done on El Galeon,” Lilley said.
The Nao Victoria is an exact replica of Ferdinand Magellan’s ship that was the first to circumnavigate the globe on a three-year, 32,000-mile voyage from 1519-1522.
“The ships are such a historical attraction creating a destination, and this year versus last year we are able to promote them well in advance. Last year we found this opportunity only a few weeks before we brought the ships in,” Lilley said. “With Crossbones airing all summer it gives us the opportunity for us to partner with the NBC affiliates in Baltimore and Washington D.C. We will be the only port of call El Galeon comes to during the series.”
Lilley explained the National Air, Sea & Space Foundation (NASSF) is looking to put on events while the ships are in Ocean City, such as a Pirate Festival and a showing of Crossbones season finale on a big screen.
“We have been kicking some ideas around,” he said. “It will generate opportunities for regional and national media exposure.”
The vessels will be berthed at the bayside boardwalk between 3rd and 4th streets. Modifications to the boardwalk are required, including the addition of a second set of mooring anchors.
The total projected cost is $5,920, which is the same cost estimate as in 2013 for the first set of cleats and modifications. Staff recommended that the costs be split 50/50 between promoter and the town.
However, the proposed event location requires closing Chicago Ave. between 3rd and 4th Streets including the 12 parking spaces.
“That is a loss in revenue from those meters,” the mayor said. “Typically when someone uses an area such as that they compensate us [town] for lost revenue from the meters.”
Meehan suggested instead of sharing the cost the town and NASSF can call it even.
Ocean City Special Events Superintendent Frank Miller responded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be drafted between the town and NASSF that will reflect the mayor’s suggestion but recommended the council’s approval to have Public Works install the additional cleats.
“I know they [Public Works] are very tight right now on timing, and the installation of the cleats is on their plate and they want to try to get it done prior to the season,” Miller said.
The council voted unanimously to approve the private event request of tall ships in Ocean City from Aug. 1-Sept. 1 and have the second set of cleats installed on good faith.
“The tall ships were a big hit last year, and what you’re planning for this year will be even better,” Meehan said.