Ocean City, BikeFest Promoter Finalize AgreementOcean City, BikeFest Promoter Finalize Agreement

OCEAN CITY — Now less than two weeks away, OC BikeFest is officially a go after resort officials this week approved the final memorandum of understanding.

In July, the Mayor and Council reviewed the draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) with staff. The MOU outlines both the town’s responsibilities and those of the event’s promoter, OC JAMS. While generally satisfied with the MOU as proposed in July, the Mayor and Council directed staff to clarify a few minor issues in the document and bring it back for final approval.

The final MOU came back before the Mayor and Council during Tuesday’s work session and the elected officials approved it unanimously. It’s not as if OC BikeFest was hinging on final approval of the MOU. The event was coming anyway. The MOU simply clarifies each party’s fiscal responsibilities, and the provision of in-kind services, for example.

Last year, OC BikeFest was cancelled as a formal event because of COVID-related restrictions, but many of the participants came anyway for the long weekend, despite no major concerts of other attractions. This year, OC BikeFest returns as a formal, sanctioned event for the town.

The MOU covers a request from OC JAMS to take over the Inlet lot for the entire week from Monday, Sept. 13 through the following Sunday. A free concert has been added this year on Wednesday of OC BikeFest week and the producer needed additional days on the front end for the event set-up.

While OC BikeFest will be extended this month, it will not be a two-weekend event as proposed last fall. In November, the promoter pitched an extended bike week bookended on either weekend with major concerts and other events. Under one proposal, the second weekend would have overlapped with the often-troublesome pop-up motorized event, but town officials were less than keen on intermeshing bike week with the unsanctioned event.

One new feature this year will be a parade of motorcycles on the Boardwalk on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 18. On Tuesday, Mayor Rick Meehan suggested including language in the final MOU about potential damage to the Boardwalk.

“They’re going to do a Boardwalk ride,” he said. “We need to add something in here about burnout marks on the Boardwalk.”

Meehan also suggested certain Boardwalk businesses should be alerted about the motorcycle parade.

“We need to notify the bike rental companies on the Boardwalk,” he said. “That’s the time of day they are renting a lot of bikes out there.”

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.