The resort area will be filled with jeeps this week for the return of Ocean City Jeep Week. This is a perfectly-timed event from a tourism standpoint.
It fills a void on the special event calendar at a time when a high-volume drawing event is needed. Many schools in Maryland and surrounding states are already open and you could see the impact on the crowds this week. The opening of schools teamed with recreational youth and school sports starting up everywhere will limit the amount of traditional families that can visit here this time of year to a degree. It happens every year, resulting in the weekend before Labor Day weekend typically being a quiet one and the holiday weekend not as large as it used to be.
Jeep Week, a special event that is expected to continue to grow in popularity, comes at just the right time to keep town businesses jamming, particularly considering most are battling employee shortages as a result of losing staff in recent weeks. That happens every year as well.
By this coming Monday, all Maryland public school systems — except for Worcester — will be back open. That fact was not lost on at least one public official.
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot took the opportunity this week to reiterate his message about school start dates and to report the “Let Summer Be Summer” petition has received more than 13,240 signatures. Franchot wants legislation passed in Maryland forbidding school districts from opening until after Labor Day.
Unfortunately, we learned during the last legislative session the online petition is worthless and carries no weight, no matter how many signatures he has. A bill establishing the school start date went nowhere in the last session and continues to be opposed by the school system unions and the state’s department of education.
Quietly there is an effort underway to tackle this bill in a more productive fashion from legislative supporters. A new approach — one that involves consensus building — is critical. Time will tell if it goes anywhere this year, but in the meantime Franchot continues to hammer home his position.
“Starting school after Labor Day would give teachers, who have to return to classrooms in the stifling heat of mid-August, sometimes in schools without air conditioning, the break they need to recharge their batteries and to spend more quality time with their own families,” said Franchot. “I have complete confidence that our local school systems can make reasonable and modest adjustments to the school calendar to make a post-Labor Day start work for each of their communities. While there are significant economic benefits to changing the school calendar, this is ultimately about family and about the precious, but fleeting time parents have to spend with their kids.”
He’s right, but much more than a silver tongue is needed to get this initiative through the legislature.
I couldn’t help but laugh as I drove south on Route 113 north of Berlin this week and saw contractors erecting large signs that said “Urban Area Stay Alert.”
Safety is nothing to giggle at and the intention is clear and praiseworthy. This was one of the priority items the pedestrian safety committee sought after a young boy was killed at the intersection of Bay Street and Route 113 when a State Police vehicle struck him while crossing the highway.
New signage is all well and good and might have an impact, but the message that an “Urban Area” lies ahead is just silly and untruthful. It appears I will have plenty of time to enjoy these signs because they are not going anywhere anytime soon by the looks of their sturdy nature.
Should Ocean City create a new set of rules to address the negative side of certain automotive events in town or put more of an emphasis on enforcing current laws?
The answer in my mind is both, and I’m hearing there are concerns among the business community about the new set of ordinances aimed at combating common problems with automotive events, specifically Cruisin and the H2O International crowds.
It’s particularly noteworthy after it came to light this week on social media that two new automotive events involving oversized trucks are currently considering coming to Ocean City in the fall. These would not be official town events and it’s these sorts of gatherings that usually cause the most trouble.