Too many parallels are being drawn between this weekend’s Ocean City Jeep Week being held versus next month’s Ocean City BikeFest/Delmarva Bike Week being canceled.
Though both special events are for-profit operations, there are few similarities between the two events. The bike events are massive in crowds compared to the jeep weekend events. Though both are successful events packing an economic punch for the resort area typically, the concerns expressed about the events being treated unfairly by Ocean City are unwarranted.
The reality here is the bike week festivities were canceled because the event’s primary revenue source – ticketed music concerts – could not be held due to the pandemic rules and regulations against gathering size. Without the revenue from the national acts who headline the weekend, the promoter had no choice but to nix the entire event because the expenses were too high. It’s an understandable decision, one made by the special event organizer.
Conversely, the pandemic restrictions – such as social distancing and limits on crowds – have little impact on this weekend’s gathering of Jeeps. The Jeep events are much smaller scale and can easily be held by nature of the movement associated with the individual activities. Fees are charged to participate in any event, such as the sand jam, beach crawl and obstacle course. In fact, each passenger in each vehicle pays to participate in the activities. Unlike its motorized companion in September, Jeep Week can still be a financial success while working through social distancing and other requirements.
Special events are organized to make money. When it’s not possible for the organizer to reap a profit, such as with bike week, the event must be canceled. When there is money to be made, as in the case of Jeep Week, the event will be held. This is the key element of any special event notwithstanding the pandemic implications.
It’s important to understand the events are granted approval to occur by the Town of Ocean City because they each involve public property and resources, but town officials did not make the calls on whether BikeFest or Jeep Week could be held under health guidelines.