Air Show Accord With City Tweaked

OCEAN CITY – With the 8th Annual OC Air Show being headlined by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels next year, the town and the event promoter get their proverbial jets in a row by renewing the specifics of the operation.

Last Tuesday afternoon, Special Events Director Frank Miller presented the renewal and modification to the OC Air Show Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during the Mayor and City Council work session.

“The MOU that we are presenting today is a draft MOU for 2016-2018. The Air Show has been with us since 2008. It came to us as a private event.

What we are looking at is revisions to what we have seen in the previous MOU,” Miller said.

According to Miller, who was previously affiliated with the event in the private sector, OC Air Show producer Bryan Lilley has requested modifications to the MOU as part of its renewal for 2016 through 2018. The current MOU is in place through the June 13-14, 2015.

Miller recommended the council approve the requested changes of making the working for the show center to be more generic to allow for modification to or movement of the show center;  new wording that will allow for an automatic rolling renewal without needing to go before the Mayor and City Council unless the Mayor and City Council choose to make a change, discuss the modification or cancel the event; hold two weekends for the event, such as the second and third weekend in June, for the promoter to potentially adjust dates subject to jet team schedules; and grandfathering in the placement of 36 Boardwalk banners at 18 locations without payment for services, which is $950 cost absorbed by the town each year.

Lilley also requested timing of the automatic rolling renewal to take effect immediately after the current air show allowing for the August DD2535 military demonstration request submittal deadline.

“Those are documents that go to the Air Force and Navy formally requesting a jet team appearance at the event,” Miller said.

Miller recommended a buffer of 30 to 45 days be written in, between conclusion of the current year’s event and the execution of the third year renewal, for town departments and Mayor and City Council to review fulfillment of town expectations.

Additionally, the $950 banner fee should be considered part of the “up to $100,000” in “in-kind” town services already provided as part of the MOU.

Regarding the show center location, Council Secretary Mary Knight expressed concern over the location moving south. Currently, the show center is in the area 15th to 17th streets on the beachfront.

“It is very advantageous to the folks [businesses] that are on the Boardwalk to where the Air Show is now because it is probably the only major event that they have,” Knight said. “They stop me every year when the show is over and ask if it will be back next year. I don’t have a real problem if it was within several blocks but I wouldn’t want to see it down in the Inlet area.”

Miller explained Lilley’s request is not in regards to moving the entire event, but more so if the show center area needs to be expanded. Such as, the Blue Angels are known for increasing the numbers of patrons to an air event by 30 percent.

Councilman Dennis Dare added the air show cannot operate in the Inlet area because boat traffic must be restricted within the air box and boat traffic cannot be restricted in the Inlet.

The council voted unanimously to approve the staff’s recommendation in the changes to make to the OC Air Show MOU renewal.