Monday morning was a tough one for many once word spread that Peppers Tavern owner Dennis King (Denny-O) had passed away.
Denny-O was a large man in stature, but his personality was something altogether different than what could be perceived to those who didn’t know him as a gruff exterior. He was a gentle giant to those who knew him well.
I would often stop in Peppers in West Ocean City on my way back from the beach to grab some Mexican carryout with the family. If Denny-O was in the building, and he was most of the time until his recent health issues, he would always express his sincere appreciation for the business. He meant it. There was no phony lip service.
I will remember him as an authentic and kind-hearted individual, and it’s always sad when the community loses one of those types.
On Monday, from 6-8, Burbage Funeral Home will host a visitation for him, and a service will be held on Tuesday at noon at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea followed by a gathering at Peppers Tavern on the Boardwalk.
Heading into the weekend, Ocean City officials thought they were prepared for the onslaught of vehicles and youngsters associated with the H2Oi event. For the most part, they were wrong, unfortunately, and the town was essentially overwhelmed by the crowds. In fairness, there is no way to prepare for a crowd of unruly, self-entitled punks intent on raising hell, disrespecting anyone and everyone they come into contact with and essentially trashing the town.
Although there are many observations to make about the event weekend, the one that sticks with me is Ocean City was lucky. There were no major incidents on the crime front and no major injuries or deaths. It’s actually difficult to believe that was the case after being in town last weekend.
The scenes that played out over the weekend were ridiculous. Vehicles were pulling off donuts in the middle of Coastal Highway in broad daylight. Men were riding around in their little vehicles with their bare butts hanging out the windows. Beer was routinely seen being poured on side roads to boost burnouts.
Clearly, many of the event attendees came here with chips on their shoulders and their goal to be trouble makers only became exacerbated when they realized the police were taking an aggressive stance against them. It became adversarial and combative and that much is clear from the bevy of online videos from the weekend. Simply go to YouTube and search H2Oi 2014 and you can see for yourself.
Although the exact date of next year’s event is up in the air currently, it appears the event will be coming back to the area, so the town has time to evaluate what was done right and what was not in advance of next year’s event.
Ocean City is in a difficult position here. The attendees, or at least those who want to cause problems, seem to enjoy the fact they are not welcome by many and part of the future direction needs to be understanding that an adversarial approach fuels the collective fire of a lame-brained group of trouble makers.
Next week another automotive show rolls into town. The fall Cruisin’ event is always tamer than its spring counterpart. Nonetheless, a new public relations campaign has been launched in advance as a result of many of the same problems, particularly trash and public consumption of alcohol, from the spring event that arose last weekend.
The new campaign stresses, “Keep CALM and Vacation On.” The idea being the “C” stands for “clean up, please place trash in proper receptacles.’ The “A” refers to “always drive with care, obey speed limits and watch for pedestrians.” The “L” refers to limiting “alcohol consumption to bars and restaurants.” The “M” reminds that “Manners matter” and to “please be courteous.”
The concept here is for the flyer to be distributed to event attendees and for hotels to provide them to guests and for other businesses to display in high-profile places. It seems like a worthy endeavor.
In the interest of full disclosure, Ocean City’s decision to further delve into the commercial advertising business by installing illuminated panels on Boardwalk trams has the potential to impact this newspaper’s bottom line.
Therefore, some could view my opposition to the illuminated tram advertising program approved this week as biased.
I was on the Boardwalk over the summer and saw the illuminated McDonalds panels on the Boardwalk tram. It looked terrible and I unfortunately happened to see it while standing near the most unflattering block of the Boardwalk. The stretch just north of the pier with the obscene T-shirts, the loud music and the trashy urban stores offering two-for-one piercings when mentioning you were referred by the nearby costumed character working for the store.
While I may be biased, I know I am not alone in thinking this is a bad move by the city. In fact, within an hour of posting this week’s story on the council’s 4-3 vote to offer these advertising messages, there were 25 negative comments on the decision. The more than $100,000 in new revenue the city could receive by offering these mobile billboards is important, but make no mistake it comes with much negativity.