OCEAN CITY – Figures prove that last weekend’s 22nd Annual Cruisin Ocean City event had the most visitors in town in the past three years, although the congestion would have you guessing there was much more.
According to demoflush figures, which are estimates based on wastewater flow, there were close to 191,000 people in town this past weekend. In 2011 there was a little less at about 190,500. This year’s figures are the highest since 2009 when there were about 230,700 people in Ocean City over Cruisin weekend.
“It has definitely changed in population as far as participants and spectators, and I think with the forecast of beautiful weather and the actual beautiful weather there was just a lot of people in town for the event,” Meredith Hennen of Special Event Productions said.
Special Event Productions amped up the number of registered participants this year and had to cut it off at 3,500 registered hot rods, customs, classics and trick trucks.
“But there was also thousands of other cars in town cruising around that weren’t participants,” Hennen said.
The production company held car shows and vendor locations at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center parking lot and the Inlet Parking Lot downtown throughout the weekend.
According to Special Event Productions, other car shows, which were judged and included prizes for top finishers, took place at business locations, such as Seacrets, Harpoon Hanna’s, Hooters, Jolly Roger, Gold Coast Mall, Hall’s Restaurant, OC Square Shopping Center, Crab Alley, Phillips, Tanger Outlets, and the Town of Berlin. There were approximately 450 awards selected by various businesses, town representatives, community leaders, event sponsors, and others.
Boardwalk parades were held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings where hundreds of cars cruised down Ocean City’s famous and newly revamped Boardwalk. To see pictures from the first parade on Thursday, see www.facebook.com/thedispatchoc. Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association Executive Director Susan Jones said 90 percent of their lodging member properties were booked to capacity over the weekend.
“It was fantastic, definitely quite amazing,” Jones said. “It was definitely a great way to kick off the season … what was great was people were coming in earlier, you saw people arriving on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
Hooters on 122nd Street Manager Jason Meredith, who has worked there for about seven years, said this past weekend was without a doubt the busiest it has ever been.
Cruisin weekend 2012 broke multiple Hooters records for the sixth year in a row, such as the most sales and merchandise sold in one day.
“Without a doubt, it has grown every year,” Meredith said. “Every year we pretty much break a new record … so we pretty much break our own record every year … over any other Hooters in the world.”
Over the years, Hooters on 122nd Street and its parking lot has become a popular gathering place for cruisers and spectators.
“Our parking lot is mobbed of cruisers and people walking around checking out other cars … I don’t know how they all started coming here but it has always been that way as long as I can remember,” Meredith said.
Here’s another look at Cruisin’ weekend populations totals: 2012, 190,500; 2011, 190,538; 2010, 175,430; 2009, 230,743; 2008, 200,611; 2007, 176,471; 2006, 179,134; 2005, 186,071; 2004, 190,122; and 2003, 176,249.