Fireworks To Return To Northside Park This Summer

Fireworks To Return To Northside Park This Summer
A fireworks display is pictured at Northside Park. Photo by Chris Parypa

OCEAN CITY – Despite some potential local pushback, resort officials this week voted to bring weekly fireworks shows back to Northside Park.

Last summer, elaborate synchronized drone shows replaced fireworks shows at Northside Park during the weekly Sundaes in the Park event. Based on a recommendation from the Ocean City Tourism Commission last week, Tourism and Business Development Director Tom Perlozzo this week pitched the idea to the Mayor and Council during a larger presentation about proposed summer, fall and winter special events.

“We are going to recommend the return of fireworks at Northside Park for Sundaes in the Park,” he said. “We are not recommending the return for drones for Northside Park.”

Councilman Mark Paddack questioned how the decision was reached to return fireworks on a weekly basis at Sundaes in the Park. It should be pointed out fireworks would continue at Northside Park on the Fourth of July.

“How did the discussion come up to move fireworks back to Northside Park?” he said. “As a council, we agreed to stop fireworks at Northside Park. A lot of the feedback we got from people that live up there is the fact you can hear some music from Sundaes in the Park. It’s not that loud banging and annoying dogs and things like that. Down south, our Boardwalk businesses have reached out saying they want more fireworks downtown.”

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Perlozzo said while the drone shows at the park last year were well received, the majority of the visitor feedback expressed a desire for a return to fireworks.

“That’s what we heard more often than not,” he said. “A desire to bring fireworks back to Northside Park for Sundaes in the Park. We have other ideas we’re working on for Sundaes in the Park including tethered hot air balloons. We’re going to grow some of these things and see how they evolve.”

Mayor Rick Meehan agreed much of the feedback he got last summer was the repetitiveness of the weekly drone shows.

“A lot of the same people go to Sundaes in the Park every week,” he said. “What I’ve heard is they like the drone show, but it becomes repetitive for the residents and visitors up there. It’s the same show every week. Downtown on the Boardwalk, the visitors change every week.”

Each year, TEAM Productions and Bob Rothermel produce a variety of value-added special events for the town from fireworks and drone shows to concerts on the beach and other events. Rothermel has a commitment to bring back the drone shows this summer, which were critically acclaimed for the most part, and the plan is to present around 20 shows on the Boardwalk this summer, according to Perlozzo.

“We need to figure out how to use the drones,” he said. “That’s why we’re thinking downtown because it rolls over with visitors more often, more so than Northside Park, which gets a regular crowd throughout the summer.”

Paddack reiterated his impression from north-end residents is that they prefer the drones to fireworks, with a couple of obvious exceptions.

“I just know we are going to hear from our local residents who were so glad to minimize the fireworks up north in our residential neighborhoods,” he said. “The Fourth of July is one thing, and then there’s New Year’s Eve.”

As he did last week, Councilman John Gehrig questioned if the value-added events were even necessary.

“Some of the value-added events just seem random,” he said. “You’re walking down the Boardwalk on a Monday and suddenly there are fireworks or a drone show. Sundaes in the Park is an event. I think it’s a good idea to attach some of these things to an event.”

After some debate, the council voted unanimously to bring fireworks shows back to Northside Park during Sundaes in the Park this summer

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.