OCEAN CITY — The Ocean Bowl will celebrate its 40th Anniversary on Friday, Aug. 19, from noon to 7 p.m., at the skate park on 3rd Street and St. Louis Avenue.
Skaters will be able to skate for free, while enjoying live music, skate jam sessions, one tick pony events, door prizes and an Ocean Bowl heritage awards ceremony.
The Ocean Bowl Skate Park is the oldest operating municipal skate park in the United States. Following the rise in popularity of skateboarding in the 1970s, the Ocean City Council banned skateboarding on the streets within city limits. This prompted many skaters and their parents to attend the next council meeting to ask that a space be provided for them to pursue their sport.
By the first week of June 1976, the park opened. At that time, the facility consisted of a four-foot deep asphalt bowl that proved so successful that a larger bowl was quickly added. In 1984, this “big bowl” was structurally weakened by successive tropical storms and was removed the following year. It was succeeded by an 11-foot high, 28-foot wide metal-surfaced half pipe, which served not only to replace the lost bowl, but also to respond to the changing demands of skateboarding and the huge popularity of vertical ramps at the time.
The ramp and the small bowl stood for another 10 years when finally, in 1997, due to time, wear and the current needs of skaters, the park was again in need of renovations. After long hours of planning and many meetings, the City Council along with a Skate Park Committee, comprised of local skaters, business people, politicians and parents, came up with the resources to build the park that exists today. The old bowl and ramp were torn down in the fall of 1997 and the new park opened in July of 1998.
Since the new park has opened, the Ocean Bowl Skate Park has been busy with many traveling demonstrations, tours and skating contests. The Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department provides skate camps, lessons and clinics with professional skaters, and recently even more activities have been added to the skate park’s schedule. The newest addition include a new skateboard deck design program where participants were instructed on how to design, prepare and paint a board and the new Skate Movie by the Bay event that will take place Aug. 26 from 8-10 p.m. Skaters can submit their own footage to show off their skills on the big screen under the stars.
The Town of Ocean City has continued to maintain the Ocean Bowl Skate Park with upgrades and complete re-facing, including the bowl and vert ramp in 2011.