OCEAN CITY – The return of movies at Northside Park may be just what the North Ocean City Business Alliance (NOCBA) needs to get business moving in their direction.
In the beginning of this year the NOCBA was formed to gather ideas in how to draw more attention to the north end of Ocean City and its businesses. One of the ways suggested to boost business was to hold more special events in that end of town.
The Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department has recently announced that it is preparing for the first series of free movies at Northside Park, located on the bayside of 126th Street. Movies will be shown outside or in the case of bad weather the show will be indoors in the gym on a big screen projector.
The first movie, “We Bought a Zoo”, is scheduled to be shown tonight at 8 p.m. The next movie will be shown on Friday, May 25, with “The Adventures of Tin Tin.”
According to Kate Gaddis of Recreation and Parks, the department has been holding movies in the shoulder seasons at Northside Park for the last couple of years. It came about when they decided to use the equipment the city already had, a 17-foot inflatable projector screen and sound system, for Movies on the Beach to hold a few family movie nights at the park as well.
“We thought it would be a good way to showcase the park, and for people who may enjoy the whole drive-in kind of scene,” she said. “So they can bring their beach chairs and their blankets and watch a movie, and it wouldn’t be as chilly as sitting on the beach at that time of year.”
As has been the case in recent summers, Movies on the Beach will also be held in a couple of north Ocean City locations, the Carousel Hotel on 118th Street and the Princess Royale Hotel on 91st Street. Movies on the Beach are scheduled to begin June 25.
Steve Pappas, alliance member and owner of the Greene Turtle on 116th Street, said NOCBA is not directly involved with the movies being shown at Northside Park or on the beach but feels the events will assist in delivering the north Ocean City business community’s message.
“I think the Mayor and City Council are listening to the North Ocean City Business Alliance and are generating some business up north, so it is a great thing and a win for everybody,” he said.
Pappas also confirmed a wine festival has been approved to be held at Northside Park on June 15-16, 2013 in conjunction with the annual event Art’s Alive.
The wine festival was originally in the works for this summer but during a NOCBA meeting held in April it was announced to everyone’s dismay that it would not happen until 2013.
The process began when Senator Jim Mathias submitted legislation in March in Annapolis allowing Worcester County to hold three festivals per year selling alcohol to go. Currently, only one is allowed, and that’s the annual Wine Fest at the Beach held in September in Ocean City. Senate Bill 1075 authorized the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners to issue not more than three special alcohol festival licenses each year. The bill passed through the Senate in a 46-0 vote, as well as the House in a 138-0 vote.
At the April meeting, Billy Carder, owner of BJ’s on the Water, said Northside Park had dates available this June for such an event but after speaking to Jerry Hardesty, who organizes the Annapolis and Ocean City wine festivals, it would take at least four to five months to organize a wine festival in north Ocean City.
“Senator Jim Mathias was real instrumental in getting this pushed through, and Billy Carder who spearheaded this,” Pappas said this week.
An event that is planned to occur this summer spearheaded by the NOCBA is a bikini march, which will go before the Mayor and City Council in a couple of weeks for final approval.
The bikini parade is proposed to be held Aug. 25 starting at noon on the south side of the Clarion Hotel and move north to the Carousel Hotel. A registration kickoff event plans to be held the day before at BJ’s, and the weekend will wrap up with an event the evening of the parade at the Blue Ox. Two dollars of every registration fee will be donated to the American Cancer Society, Diakonia and the Surfrider Foundation.