Since special events are major economic drivers in Ocean City throughout the year, it’s good news that some new summer events with potential to grow are in the works.
First, the Ocean Games event, planned for July 9, looks like it will have some broad appeal. In its first year in 2013, battling strong ocean currents and abnormally cold ocean water, the event was deemed a success by all involved and donated an impressive amount for charity. A rebranded and expand version of last year’s ocean swim event, the renamed Ocean Games will feature the same swim format as last year with long and short courses just passed the breakers, kids’ activities and the East Coast SUP Cup, which will feature a course for amateur and elite racers near the Inlet.
Secondly, during this week’s discussion of designated tourism funding with the Ocean City Mayor and Council, details about a new beach event were released. Along with the weekly beach laser shows and fireworks displays that have been taking place the last couple years during the summer weeks, the town’s Tourism Advisory Board was given permission to proceed with a “sand art” event that sounds interesting. It’s a multiple-week concept, spearheaded by TEAM Productions, that involves two large sand sculptures, some measuring 10 feet high and about 30 feet in depth, being built each day starting Aug. 18 and till Labor Day weekend. They will appear between 4th Street and the pier, be easily visible from the Boardwalk and illuminated at night.
I think this concept has the potential to become a social media craze with residents and visitors capturing their own photos and creating a unique vibe about Ocean City at a time when the season is winding down. Traditional media outlets will also be drawn to these sculptures for their obvious visual appeal.
Special events are critical and it’s nice to see the philosophy that events are not needed in Ocean City during the peak season has been essentially abandoned altogether.
A couple years back, the Maryland legislature agreed to alter the gubernatorial primary election date to the last Tuesday in June as a result of party affiliation pressures. Consequently, voters will be asked to head to the polls on June 24.
This could have major ramifications in local and statewide primary-contested races. History confirms primaries typically carry lower voter turnouts than the general elections, and the fact the primary this year will be held in late June is going to make the low turnout even more pronounced.
Locally, obviously, late June is a busy time of the season. However, it’s this way for most actually with schools just ending and true summer vacations on tap. There are two things that could keep the turnout somewhat respectable despite this foolish shift three months ahead in the calendar.
One is early voting, which I think is highly beneficial to turnout and will run from June 12-19. Additionally, there is a hotly contested primary for governor between two household political names — Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Attorney General Doug Gansler — that will likely determine the next governor.
Either way, I think this earlier primary was a mistake, as surely less people will be thinking about voting in late June than they would have in early September.
Back-to-back weekly snow events of significant proportions here on the lower shore are quite rare, but not unheard of in recent history.
Actually, back in the winter of 2009-2010, about two feet of snow fell on the area on back-to-back weeks, first on Christmas Day night (actually 2009) and then a week later (the first week of 2010).
What made that so remarkable was it occurred while schools were out on holiday break. Therefore, it was enjoyed and reveled to a larger degree it seemed because school was out of the equation.
The last two weeks’ snowfalls and subsequent school cancellations have caused more headaches because school is involved, critical exams have been delayed, key sports games postponed and parent routines disturbed. All of that brings much more anxiety over what amounted to about 10 inches of snow this year than the larger and bigger snow storms four years ago that combined reached 24 inches.