You are not wanted.
Is that the ultimate message the special event zone in Ocean City hopes to give disorderly motorists intent on creating a ruckus here? We hope so.
The great majority who attend the major motorized special events in Ocean City, such as the two Cruisin events and Bike Week, have good intentions. They are true car enthusiasts who enjoy displaying their vehicles while also admiring others. That cannot be said for the crowd in town this week. These are the undesirable “hangers on” from the H2Oi event that was held for years at Fort Whaley campground. Though it was held 15 miles from the beach, the event attracted thousands of unaffiliated participants intending to wreak havoc on this area with burnouts, vandalism, littering, foul language and ignorant actions. Ocean City, its businesses and residents do not need this element. If their economic impact was significant, tolerance would likely be in order. That’s simply not the case, and we like the idea of making them as miserable as possible while they are here. The special event zone helps make that possible by hitting them where it hurts – their finances. Tweaks can and likely will be made in the future to make it even more difficult for the misbehaving types.
Though the event is technically now held in Atlantic City, N.J., the H20i crowd is still a major factor in Ocean City. In fact, it appears the true car enthusiasts have headed north with the event, while the miscreants have continued to come to Ocean City. The troublemakers know they are not wanted in Ocean City by and large and they relish it. One vehicle was seen this week on Coastal Highway with a handmade message in tape, “We’re Not Leaving.”
That sort of message plays out on social media as well. Like it or not, we are coming. Here is a gathering of events that may or may not occur but have been promoted heavily online.
- A planned massive burnout throughout town has been organized for 11 p.m. on Saturday tagged, “They can’t stop us all.” It’s unclear and impossible to know how many participants there will be in this organized attempt.
- A “Mallard Island Drive Through” is planned for the year-round bayside community off 15th Street. The organizer seems to be simply pointing out the area is ripe for vehicles. “An absolutely perfect neighborhood to cruise through,” the post reads. “Neighborhood boasts an abundance of supporters and enthusiasts of the H2Oi scene. The layout of the streets also makes it perfect for doing a “loop”. Be sure to roll through this PUBLIC area at least twice while in OCMD! Night-owls welcome.”
- An organized meeting for vehicles was set for Thursday at a Wawa in Allentown Pa. to ride to Ocean City under the tagline, “H2Oi Ride Out, We’re not (expletive) Leaving.” Similar travel events were planned from the National Harbor, Salisbury, Hagerstown, Prince Frederick, Philadelphia, Cranbury, N.J., New Castle, Del. and King of Prussia, Pa.
- There are dozens of meetups planned throughout the area for specific makes of vehicles. Most of these appear to be peaceful gatherings in restaurant parking lots where organizers encouraged attendees to support the businesses for the use of their parking lots.
With a nice weather forecast, all indications are this weekend will be a rowdy one. Consequently, flyers seen around town this week serve as reminders about the special event zone, which lowers the speed limit to 30 mph and reminds violators could face fines up to $1,000. The flyer reports, “The highest priority of the Ocean City Police Department is to keep our citizens safe, while also ensuring a positive quality of life by using a friendly, fair and firm enforcement strategy. Due to the increased number of visitors, expect to see a large police presence throughout the weekend.”
Though they will not state it publicly, we hope law enforcement makes it miserable for the troublemakers through hefty fines and a zero-tolerance attitude.