Resort Special Events Approved

OCEAN CITY — Ocean City’s special events lineup is getting a few new additions after resort officials this week signed off on a handful of recommendations from the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB).

Each year, Ocean City’s budget includes a $300,000 allocation to TAB, which reviews proposed special events and makes recommendations to the Mayor and Council on how best to use the funding. TAB typically recommends events that bring people into town, fill hotel rooms, restaurants and other attractions. The council then has ultimate say.

During Monday’s meeting, TAB submitted three special events for funding approval to the council, including a significant regional surfing championship, a Marine Corps Semper Fi bike ride and a major youth basketball tournament. The council ultimately approved funding for each of the special events recommended by TAB.

The first event recommended by TAB and approved by the council is the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) Northeast Region Championships.

The Delmarva ESA, which includes Ocean City, has moved from the ESA’s mid-Atlantic district to the northeast district. As a result, Ocean City is now a planned site for a future ESA Northeast District championship venue, according to Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association Executive Director Susan Jones, who represented TAB.

“It has been held for 50 years,” she said. “Because Delmarva ESA recently joined the northeast district, that allows Ocean City to be a championship venue.”

Jones said hosting the ESA Northeast District Championships represents a potential boon for Ocean City because of the large number of competitors it will attract, along with their families and friends and spectators. The surfing championship could represent as many as 1,000 room-nights.

“The ESA’s Northeast Regional brings nearly 200 surfing competitors from Maryland through Maine and the Great Lakes,” she said. “The event runs Friday through Sunday, with most competitors arriving on Thursday and leaving Sunday evening, with some staying until Monday.”

The ESA Northeast District was seeking a three-year commitment from the town for the event, which the council ultimately approved. The town’s financial contribution to the surfing championships is $20,000, including $10,000 in the first year and $5,000 in years two and three.

The second TAB-recommended event approved by the Mayor and Council on Monday was the Marine Corps League’s Semper Fi Bike Ride, which is entering its second year. The inaugural event was held last year and was highly successful, raising $10,000 for Marine Corps League (MCL) and America’s Fund charities.

The event is a one-day bike ride on the Boardwalk for participants in multiple categories with the goal of raising funds for the designated charities. The Semper Fi bike ride, set for October, expected to generate 500 to 600 room nights. The council approved a $5,000 financial commitment to the event, based on the recommendation from TAB.

The third special event approved on Monday was the Premiere One Youth Basketball Tournament, which has been held in and around the resort area in recent years. In the past, the youth basketball tournament has been held on courts in both Ocean City and Snow Hill. This year, it will be a uniquely Ocean City event with all games played in the resort at the convention center and at Northside Park.

Last year’s tournament was cancelled because of COVID, and Premiere One was seeking to roll over the town’s commitment from last year. The town’s financial contribution is $12,000 for the floor rental. The event, scheduled for June, is expected to generate 1,700 room-nights.

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.