200K Bikers In Area For Events; Ticket Sales Soar For OC BikeFest

200K Bikers In Area For Events; Ticket Sales Soar For OC BikeFest

OCEAN CITY — The hybrid OC BikeFest and Delmarva Bike Week last weekend was by most accounts a rousing success with an estimated 200,000 bikers visiting the resort.
For the first time this year, OC Bikefest and Delmarva Bike Week operated under a single umbrella with both events owned and operated by OC Jams LLC and event producer Cliff Sutherland. With near perfect weather, aside from thunderstorms Thursday evening, everything line up for a highly successful Bike Week event this year with an estimated 200,000 motorcycles converging on Ocean City and across the Lower Shore.
“There were probably 200,000 bikers, of which at least 150,000 were in Ocean City,” said Sutherland this week. “I have talked to a lot of merchants, hotels and restaurants and everybody seemed really happy.”
While the 200,000 figure is just an anecdotal estimate, a spike in ticket sales at officially sanctioned events reveal a significant increase. OC BikeFest’s official events were held at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center and the Inlet parking lot, where the entertainment took place and the only location where attendees had to purchase tickets to enter. According to Sutherland, in 2011, there were just over 9,000 tickets sold, with 14,000 tickets sold last year. This year, however, Bike Week’s paid entertainment events sold over 20,000 tickets.
Live on stage at the Inlet parking lot were a variety of acts, including Ozzy Osbourne tribute band Blizzard of Ozzy, Led Zeppelin tribute band Kashmir and Jimi Hendrix cover band Jamiah on Fire, which proved to be the most popular, according to Sutherland.
“All of the acts were amazing,” said Sutherland. “The biggest surprise to people was Jamiah on Fire. People walked in and saw these three kids, ages 17, 13 and 11 and from the first chord they were mesmerized by them.”
Sutherland said the stage tents were filled to capacity and crowds were watching from outside the tents and even looking in from the beach. At the Convention Center, vendors offering motorcycles for sale and demonstrations and all other goods and merchandise associated with the event set up shop.
“The vendors at the convention center were ecstatic,” said Sutherland. “Most of them said it was the best show of the year anywhere in the country for sales.”
Bike Week was relatively calm from a police perspective, according to OCPD Public Information Officer Mike Levy this week. Levy confirmed there was at least one serious accident involving a motorcycle on Saturday evening in the area of 118th Street, but few details were available.
“There was one pretty bad accident at 118th Street on Saturday involving serious injuries,” he said. “It was event related and it appears the cyclist was at fault. We don’t know the extent of the injuries.”
Otherwise, Levy said the weekend was relatively normal for an event of that size considering the large number of motorcycles on the streets. He said the number of calls for service were about the same as last year, although the number of police-initiated calls were up somewhat.
“We knew going in we were going to have a lot of bikes in town and we were prepared for that,” he said. “We were trying to be very proactive and eliminate possible problems before they occurred.”
Levy said the huge crowds were relatively well behaved with few serious incidents, although he did acknowledge there were certain elements that caused problems.
“At the end of the day, we had another successful event and we want everybody to have a great time,” he said. “At the same time, there is always some element that seeks to diminish the character and quality of the event and we were cognizant of that. We knew we were going to have a lot of different and diverse visitors associated with this event and we got phenomenal assistance from our allied agencies in the area and all over the state.”