Inaugural Air Show Okayed For OC In June

OCEAN CITY – The first Ocean City Air Show will be flying into Ocean City this June, and although the event will be occurring mid-week, organizers of the event are confident that it will be a strong first year for what they hope will become a staple event for Ocean City.

This week, Special Events Coordinator John Sullivan and Bryan Lilley of Bryan Lilley, Inc. presented the Mayor and Council with the preliminary plans for the OC Air Show.

The Air Show will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, June 10-11 on the beach between 15 and 17th streets.

“That’s when we feel we will be most helpful to fill hotel rooms,” Lilley said.

Lilley explained that because the show will be new to the Air Show circuit, a mid-week show will give the best opportunity to draw aircraft and flyovers.

“It just seems that it doesn’t look like you’re going to hit those demographics on a Tuesday/Wednesday with school still in session,” said Councilman Jay Hancock, pointing out the show is intended to target families.

Lilley explained that although Maryland schools will still be in session, he remains confident that a mid-week show will draw large crowds and bring tourists to Ocean City during a normally slow part of summer. Lilley added that the June Bugs that fill the town during that time of year are an attractive demographic for the event.

“The large number of teens in the city that week are very attractive to the military,” he said.

Sullivan added, “I think that for the first time up this is probably the best we could do right now.”

Councilwoman Nancy Howard supported the scheduling, saying, “I’m very optimistic about having it at this time of year.”

Although organizers were unable to secure the popular Thunderbirds and Blue Angels for the OC Air Show, Lilley remained confident that those marquee acts could be secured by 2009.

“We have had lengthy discussions with both teams about the event,” Lilley said, pointing out that this would be a building year for the OC Air Show.

Although the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels won’t be seen flying over the beaches, the Air Show will focus on a civilian air demonstration team that will serve as the focus of the show. Several demonstrations and military aircraft will also be featured at the event. The US Army Golden Knights Parachute team has also confirmed the date. Single ship demos from the Air Force, sponsored civilian performers, Air force and National Guard demos and a variety of other displays are being scheduled for the event as well.

As a partner to the event, Ocean City will be providing $50,000 in funding, however, after costs are recovered, Ocean City will receive the first $50,000 of profit as a return on investment. Ocean City will also provide joint sponsorship and marketing, public services, a limited section of the Inlet parking lot for an exhibit area and access to 15th through 17th streets for exhibits.

“I hope it really works, I think it could be one of the best things, short of Springfest and Sunfest, for Ocean City,” said Hancock.

The council voted 6-1, with Councilwoman Margaret Pillas in opposition, to approve the event.