American Legion’s Annual Parade No Longer Running In Resort

OCEAN CITY – A three-decade-old tradition in Ocean City
came to a close this week when representatives of the state’s American Legion
told the Mayor and Council they were discontinuing the annual American Legion
Parade held in the resort each July largely due to waning interest.

American Legion-Department of Maryland Events Coordinator
Tom Davis told the council on Monday the parade, which has been the centerpiece
of the Legion’s annual convention in the resort for the last 36 years, will no
longer be held. Davis said the convention will continue to come to Ocean City,
but the parade has been discontinued.

“The good news is, we’re trying to save the town of Ocean
City some money,” he said. “The bad news is everything must come to an end.”

Davis said the decision was made based on the apparent
lack of interest in the parade in recent years.

“We’ve seen a substantial decrease in participation,” he
said. “More importantly, we’ve seen a substantial decrease in the number of
people watching. Therefore, we have to cancel the parade effective this year.”

For 36 years, the American Legion State Convention has
been held in Ocean City with the Legion Parade the centerpiece of the event.
The convention will be held from July 10-13, but there will be no parade as
planned on July 12.

“The parade goes back 36 years,” he said. “In the past, it
was much more than just a parade. It was a major event, but those days are
gone. The town has so many more things to do now and the people have more to

While the parade has been held in Ocean City for over
three decades, it has not been without its difficulties. Davis told the council
about a near-tragic event 14 years ago when National Guard skydivers making an
entrance as part of the parade landed on power lines near Jolly Roger amusement
park and shut down much of the town for several hours.

Davis said he was disappointed to tell the Mayor and
Council there would be no more parade at Monday night’s meeting.

“We felt like we wanted to come down here in person to
explain,” he said. “We could have done this over the phone.”

Town officials also expressed disappointment the parade
would cease to exist and urged the American Legion representatives to continue
their relationship with the resort.

“Thirty-six years is a long time and the parade has been a
great event for a long time,” said Mayor Rick Meehan. “Your convention has been
a big part of summer in Ocean City.”