The intent behind bringing back a flea market to Ocean City is commendable, but it’s going to be interested to see how it’s received this summer. The Ocean City Mayor and Council recently voted to allow specific vendors to set up shop in the Worcester Street parking lot during summer weekends. Downtown merchants have good reason to be concerned, especially since it’s going to be held on Saturdays and Sunday from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. beginning tomorrow. It’s certainly competition for the other merchants, but it’s our understanding they have been assured there will be nothing up for sale that will be in direct competition. That’s not practical. There are bound to be conflicting wares peddled and merchants should keep a close eye on the situation. On one hand, it’s good for the Downtown Association, which will reap the benefit of the vendor fees, but the city will certainly need to evaluate the situation after a month or so to determine what kind of impact the flea market is having in general.
Cruisin’ came and went last weekend. As usual, the event brought with it the crowds, about 170,000, according to demoflush estimates. In many ways, the event was just what the town needed, a balm for a terrible off season as far as most businesses are concerned. Despite the cold, wet weather during some of the event, the cruisers came in large numbers and packed area hotels and motels.
A couple things on this year’s event:
— As it seems to every year, Baltimore Avenue’s surface took a hit over Cruisin’ weekend. It appears this year the constant peel-outs along the road got so bad the road was closed on Friday and Saturday evenings for a spell. This is a shame because Baltimore Avenue is a gorgeous thoroughfare for the most part. It’s a treat to drive along because those ugly utility looming have been buried under the skid-marked road’s surface.
— The Ocean City Police Department needs to crack down on the amount of people camping out at the 94th Street mall during Cruisin’. A photo submitted this week of the parking lot on Saturday showed a dozen campers in the parking lot on one afternoon. It’s difficult to believe the people who own those vehicles were simply parking their rigs in that lot and booking hotel rooms.
Arcadia Publishing sent us two books in the mail this week. One was the “Voices of the Chinoteague” by Martha A. Burns and Linda S. Hartsock and the other was “Berlin,” which documents the history of the town through 200 images of its past, by Susan Taylor, administrator of the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum and the Berlin Heritage Foundation, Inc. During a recent conversation, Taylor was the first to admit she did not write the book by herself. She said Katie Matthews, Ed Hammond and Tom Range deserve credit as well for researching it and helping write it. In an interview from a press release this week, Taylor said, “A committee wrote our book with each person working on different chapters. Although everyone has different styles, I think the key is organization. … I hope our book will serve as a resource of information on the history of Berlin, small town life on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and the rewards of restoration.” I read the book this week and it was indeed educational. Those involved are to be congratulated for their work.
In other news, I got to see a lot of the country last week on a road trip to St. Louis. A lot goes through the mind on a 32-hour round-trip drive, but one thing that kept my attention for hundreds of miles was a question I could not seem to answer and am still thinking about a week later. Why does it say on West Virginia’s welcome sign “Open For Business”? That was vexing and makes as much sense as putting “More Fun Here” on Ocean City’s welcome sign. Fortunately, that has not happened.