OCEAN CITY – A series of events premiered in Ocean City last weekend that will continue throughout the summer and is expected to draw larger crowds as the season progresses.
“The Summer of Thanks program is off and running,” Bob Rothermel of T.E.A.M Productions told the Mayor and Council on Tuesday.
It started off with the OC Beach Lights show on Sunday night. Beach Lights will be held every Sunday through Labor Day weekend. Each show is eight minutes long and there will be three shows per night at 9:30, 10 and 10:30 p.m.
The show entails a five-story tall inflatable sphere featuring a visual laser, lighting, video and audio production that will have visibility from up and down the Boardwalk. The sphere will be located on the beach in the area of N. Division, Dorchester and Somerset streets.
“We had a great crowd for our first laser show, it kind of waned a little bit as we went a little bit later but as the summer goes I think that will improve,” Rothermel said.
Rothermel did admit there were some lessons learned with the show and improvements will be made to lighting and sound in coming weeks.
“The lasers that we were shooting were actually running at 40 percent and we can get another 60 percent out of it, but we have to have that dialogue again with the FAA at the local airport, and that is an ongoing process,” he said.
On Monday, Memorial Day, a tribute took place with a presentation of the “Big Flag” on the beach at noon. The event, which was held in Ocean City in the past, included the unfurling of a football field-size American Flag held up by participants and was visible up and down the Boardwalk.
“The Big Flag event yesterday went under the theory of keeping it simple,” Rothermel said. “We had maybe a thousand people on location.”
By “keeping it simple” Rothermel explained there was no PA system provided for music.
“It was a great event … the people actually broke into the Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America on their own,” he said.
The Ocean City Fire Company provided a latter truck so that aerial pictures could be taken of the display. A photo was posted on the town’s Facebook page and only an hour later it had received 5,000 “likes.” As of Wednesday the photo had received almost 13,500 “likes.”
“The American Flag yesterday on Memorial Day was a great show,” Mayor Rick Meehan said. “That also let people realize that in Ocean City we are inviting everybody down here to enjoy Memorial Day weekend, and there is a lot of time spent on the beach and going out partying and having a good time, but we also remembered what the true meaning of Memorial Day was.”
The third weekly event to premier was fireworks on Tuesday night.
“It will be another great night,” Rothermel said on Tuesday.
Beach fireworks will be held on Tuesday evenings through Labor Day. It will be a low-profile, high-intensity aerial fireworks and musical presentation with visibility up and down the Boardwalk. Each fireworks show will also be eight minutes long and will begin at 10 p.m. The fireworks will be held on the beach near North Division Street.
Due to weather, this week’s fireworks display was moved up to about 9:15 p.m.
The Mayor and City Council made their final approval of the series of events in April.
The concept was first introduced in September of 2011 and at that time the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) brought forward Rothermel who proposed a number of new events that would be funded with TAB’s funds, $275,000, which was allocated by the town of Ocean City.
Another event to be included is OCtoberfest, which will take place Friday through Sunday, Oct. 19-21 and Oct. 26-28. It is a beach maze built out of sand with a large “OC’ posted in the center. It will feature Halloween displays, music and activities including a family costume parade and a Howl-o-ween costume pet parade. The event will take place on the beach in the area of N. Division, Dorchester and Somerset streets. There are 100 participants expected for the parade and 2,000 participants expected for the maze.