OCEAN CITY – Hopes for holding a large foam party on the beach were grounded this week amid concerns over timing and the event’s fit in Ocean City.
Brothers Kyle and Corbin Kelly, of ALFP Inc., presented the event, Foam N’ Glow “World’s Largest Foam Party” Summer Fest 2014, to the Recreation and Parks Commission on Tuesday afternoon. The event is described as a foam party fused with high-energy music, ultraviolet dancers and CO2 shows.
Foam N’ Glow is estimated to host at least 3,000 attendees. The event was proposed to take place on the beach downtown in the area of N. Division Street on the night of July 5. While the target age to participate is 16 years old and older, the event is open to all ages.
The site would include a portable stage equipped with foam cannons that shoots a non-toxic, hypo-allergenic, pH balanced and biodegradable foam solution into the crowd. The promoters described it as “baby soap diluted with water”, one gallon of soap to every 200 gallons of water.
“We will go through about 2,000 gallons of water total,” said Kyle Kelly, adding if there is not access to water they bring in their own to fill 300-gallon water drums.
During the show, live music is conducted while circus acts, such as aerobatic dancers, perform with a laser light show. The entire location would be enclosed with a security fence with security provided.
“We are looking to bring Foam N’ Glow here to Ocean City, Md. Foam N’ Glow is an event that we do throughout the country. We just went international last year,” Corbin Kelly said.
Kyle Kelly recognized foam parties are associated with a negative perception but their history comes with a clean slate.
“We have been doing this for seven to eight years, and have about 250 events under our belt,” he said. “We understand what goes into this and what needs to be taken care of to go off without a hitch.”
However, Ocean City staff listed multiple concerns. According to JoAnne Hunsicker of the Roland E. Powell Convention Center, the event attempted to be booked at the convention center but after contacting Wildwood, N.J., the event was rejected. Wildwood, N.J. reported to her, “Stay as far away from this business as you can. There were large amounts of drugs and alcohol with underage kids, nudity, sex and lewd behavior.”
Corbin Kelly responded, “We held an event in Wildwood, N.J., two or three years ago, and we were surprised by their remarks. We are actually returning to Wildwood this year.” A confirmed date for an event in Wildwood this summer has not been confirmed.
The Recreation and Parks Department commented, “Though it is likely a well-planned and coordinated event, it would be for the number of people and the extreme party atmosphere, we don’t think this is the type of event that fits the mission of the town.”
The Tourism Department also commented, “This proposal does not look like a good fit for Ocean City’s beach, especially on one of the busiest weekends of the summer.”
The Ocean City Police Department also did not support the event, commenting, “The event organizer proposes this event for July 5, 2014 when personnel deployment is already maximized due to 4th of July holiday weekend.”
Kyle Kelly acknowledged the date was a concern.
“We are open to ideas that work best for the city as well,” he said. “We understand it is a big weekend but maybe we can find an off-weekend for you guys to have the event, so that we can help bring in more traffic for you.”
Other dates proposed were July 11 and 12 or July 18 and 19.
City Manager David Recor asserted the most concern will lie with the environmental impact on the beach.
“If it were at the convention center, I think it would be likely to have a receptive audience and further discussion there,” Recor said.
Councilman Dennis Dare explained the event is not consistent with Ocean City’s goal of being a family-friendly resort.
“We host a number of special events that compliment creating business in a beach resort. I don’t know a foam party on the beach supports what we have also been successful with,” he said. “I would not be able to support it in the end.”
Councilman Lloyd Martin pointed out beach-goers at the proposed location would become irritated with another event being placed in that area.
“I cannot support this taking place on the beach in the middle of summer,” he said.
Commission Chair and Councilman Joe Mitrecic added, “As the chairman of this committee, I will have a hard time taking this [Foam N’ Glow] to the full Mayor and Council with a favorable recommendation.”
Special Events Superintendent Frank Miller suggested Corbin and Kyle Kelly get to know Ocean City better as a venue.
“Look at the things that we are interested in. Look at what we have available and when we are not available,” Miller said. “In the summer months, our staff is extremely taxed as is, and are saturated in terms of events, so get to know the town a little bit … and let’s see if we can come up with something that is a good match.”