OC BikeFest Seeks Harley Participation

OCEAN CITY – Event details and financial particulars were ironed for the 2nd Annual OC BikeFest during this week’s Mayor and City Council meeting.

OC BikeFest organizer Cliff Sutherland came before the Mayor and City Council with a couple of requests. Before he could get the first request out, there was already a motion on the floor by Councilman Joe Hall to allow the event to be sponsored by the Casino at Ocean Downs.

“Whether we like it or not, the casino is now part of our tourism picture and I think that we should allow this to move forward,” Joe Hall said.

According to Sutherland, the casino has requested to be a sponsor of BikeFest 2012 and was not allowed to be in 2011.

“The city receives revenue from the proposed sponsor and it seems logical that it would be allowed to be a sponsor,” Sutherland wrote to the council. “OC BikeFest would treat the sponsorship the same as all sponsors and would not highlight or make it stand out from other sponsors. We recognize the family values of OC and will not place it in such a way as to make it stand out.”

The council voted unanimously to approve the casino as a sponsor of OC BikeFest 2012.

Sutherland didn’t have as much luck with his second request asking the council to consider a $50.000 credit against 2012 expenses of the event from the $85,000 paid for in 2011.

According to Sutherland, during the council meeting on Jan. 18, 2011, it was announced that the inception of OC BikeFest would cost around $134,000. At that time, Sutherland offered to pay around $65,000.

During that discussion, the town’s agreement to cover $50,000 of the OC Air Show was brought up and from that point negotiations were made upon miscommunication.

OC BikeFest ended up offering to pay $85,000 of the $135,000 estimate, assuming a $50,000 credit was included.

“We assumed that we were getting the $50,000 credit … the same as the air show,” Sutherland said. “We paid the $85 [thousand] and then the last time we came in we requested $50,000, not in a refund but a credit, towards this year’s event … and the mayor told me it wasn’t in the motions.”

Mayor Rick Meehan said that there were a lot of discussions last year during negotiations.

“It was recognized that we have a $50,000 exposure with the air show but we also we have a revenue share formula with the air show and it’s treated a little bit differently,” he said. “The council supported the event and I think that the $85,000 was exactly what the council intended to collect. I don’t think they envisioned there would be any credit or any credit moving forward.”

The council did not approve Sutherland’s request of a $50,000 credit toward this summer’s event.

“We do not give any of our vendors a credit so you are not being singled out,” Councilwoman Margaret Pillas said. “When we have Sunfest and if it rains and pours, nobody gets a refund.”

Pillas questioned Sutherland’s plans to utilize the convention center with the 2012 event.

Sutherland responded “we are working on it” but preferred not to say since he is still waiting on a letter of approval for the event from the city.

Sutherland was in need of an approval letter to submit to Harley Davidson to have them become part of the event.

“I have been trying to get them on board and I believe corporate is coming for the first time in the 11 year history,” he said. “We have a lot of opportunities with Harley Davidson coming to Ocean City, it is a big deal.”

The council voted unanimously to have the city submit a letter of approval for OC BikeFest 2012.

Once Sutherland received support he responded they plan on having a stage inside of the convention center to provide live music. OC BikeFest recently announced that Charlie Daniels Band, 38 Special, and Grand Funk Railroad will be performing during this year’s event, Sept. 13-16.