Wine Festival Date Change Approved

OCEAN CITY — The popular Wine on the Beach special event, postponed this fall because of COVID, will return on a new weekend this spring along with an earlier weekend for the annual event next September.

The Mayor and Council on Monday had before them a pair of requests from the producers of the Wine on the Beach weekends for next year. The Wine on the Beach event each September features tasting samples, arts and crafts, food sales, wine by the glass or bottle sales, microbrew sales and live entertainment.

For decades, it has been held on the last weekend in September. In recent years, however, Wine Fest has clashed with the disruptive pop-up car rally event on that weekend. To make things worse this year, the Wine on the Beach event was postponed because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

To that end, Wine on the Beach promoters had two requests from the Mayor and Council. The first was to move the traditional September event from the last weekend of the month to Sept. 10-11 at the Inlet lot as usual. The earlier weekend moves the Wine on the Beach event away from the unsanctioned pop-up car rally weekend, which has been further complicated this year by a proposed expansion of OC BikeFest. The council on Monday unanimously approved the earlier weekend for the Wine on the Beach event.

The second request from the organizers was to hold a Wine on the Beach event in May, a request that was also approved unanimously by the council. The spring wine event would be held on the weekend of May 14-15 in the same basic footprint at the Inlet lot and the same basic offerings, according to Special Events Coordinator Lisa Mitchell.

“The second event mirrors the event that has been going on the past 25 years,” she said. “This will allow the vendors to recoup some of the lost revenue from last year when the event was cancelled.”

The council approved both requests after determining the proposed dates do not conflict with other special events planned in and around the Inlet and the Boardwalk area. The organizers’ contributions to the town for holding the two events are carefully spelled out in the memorandum of understanding.

Councilman Mark Paddack said the Wine on the Beach events should be embraced and promoted.

“It’s a great event,” he said. “I think a lot of our non-resident property owners come down here in the fall just for this event and now they can have one in the spring.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.