OCEAN CITY — The growing craft beer craze in the local area and around the region will have another outlet this spring after resort officials this week approved the inaugural O.C. Brew Fest in conjunction with the half marathon in late April.
The Mayor and Council in Tuesday approved the O.C. Brew Fest special event at the Inlet lot on April 29 after getting some assurances the local craft brewing industry would be included and the Inlet parking lot will remain open to non-participants. The event organizer, Steve Ryan of Masiv, hopes to feature at least 15 local breweries, each of which will provide two types of beer to sample in three-ounce servings. The event will also feature food vendors, live music and interactive games.
It is set for Saturday, April 29 from noon to 8 p.m. at the Inlet parking lot where the Springfest tents will be in place. The O.C. Brew Fest is being held in conjunction with the Island to Island Half-Marathon produced by OC Tri-Running on the same day. The half-marathon, which runs from Assateague to a finish line at the Inlet lot, will be held in the morning and will dove-tail into the O.C. Brew Fest later that afternoon and evening. Special Events Coordinator Lisa Mitchell told the Mayor and Council the O.C. Brew Fest organizers were working in partnership with OC Tri-Running to coordinate the events.
“It’s an inaugural event and will be held in conjunction with the Island to Island Half-Marathon,” she said. “It will essentially be a marriage of those two events and the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce is also on board as a sponsor and facilitator.”
The special event was first presented last week to the Recreation and Parks Committee, which forwarded a favorable recommendation to the Mayor and Council. Recreation and Parks Committee Chairman and Councilman Wayne Hartman last week expressed a desire to be sure the local breweries in Ocean City are represented, or at least invited to participate, and Councilman Tony DeLuca this week pressed Mitchell to ensure that was happening.
“I certainly support the event and I certainly support the breweries that were mentioned,” he said. “I noticed a week ago Councilman Hartman asked that we invite the local breweries in Ocean City. The event planner has had a week and I hope they reached out to our breweries like the OC Brewing Company and Backshore, for example.”
Mitchell said she would reach out to the promoter to make sure all of the local companies were invited to participate.
Councilman Dennis Dare voiced concern about the amount of parking at the Inlet lot during the event and wanted to ensure no parking areas would be dedicated just to participants at the O.C. Brew Fest. He pointed out the Springfest tents will be erected on the Inlet lot at that time, reducing the number of available parking spaces from around 1,100 to something more like 500. Mitchell assured Dare there were no special considerations for parking at the Inlet lot given to O.C. Brew Fest participants and the lot would be open to the public on a first come, first served basis as usual.
DeLuca made a motion to approve the event with the stipulation the local breweries would be invited. The motion passed 4-0, with Councilman John Gehrig abstaining because of his involvement as president of the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, a co-sponsor of the event. Council Secretary Mary Knight and Hartman were absent.