OCEAN CITY – Organizers of a new festival say they are hoping to replace the unsanctioned pop-up car rally with a weekend of fun and support for military and law enforcement organizations.
This weekend, military and law enforcement personnel, residents and visitors are invited to take part in OC AdventureFest, a festival to benefit first responders and service members and their families.
Held Sept. 22-25, the event features an outdoor, sports and gun show, K-9 exhibitions, concerts, a memorial ride, and more.
“Our goal is to get this event up and running,” said co-organizer Cliff Sutherland, “bringing economic impact to Ocean City while providing law enforcement and military with their own week and deterring unsanctioned H20i participants.”
OC AdventureFest organizers Rebekah Jones, Mike Alexander and Sutherland are no strangers to producing and executing successful events. In addition to their past involvement with the MountainFest Motorcycle Rally in Morgantown, W. Va., the friends are three of the four founders of OC BikeFest.
And while the trio is no longer involved in those events, Sutherland said it was the connections made at these motorcycle rallies and relationships with the Hogs and Heroes Foundation – a nonprofit community of motorcycle riders that support public safety, U.S. military and Wounded Warriors – that ultimately spurred the creation of OC AdventureFest.
“We had a great relationship and [founder] Andy Mutchler came to us and said, ‘We have a great idea about an event’” he recalled.
Sutherland said it was during this conversation that Mutchler pitched the idea for a festival to be held in the days following Bike Week. With a strong police and military presence in town for a festival, organizers are hoping to deter some of the activity associated with the unsanctioned pop-up car rally, which is expected to return the same week.
“We’re all getting together to make Ocean City the place for military and law enforcement to come while also getting rid of the unsanctioned H2Oi event,” Sutherland said.
In addition to biker games, raffles, vendors, motivational speakers and K-9 exhibitions, OC AdventureFest features the Ocean City Gun Show, presented by Showmasters, Boom Boom Firearms Training, the Mid-Atlantic Sports & Outdoor Show, and a gun auction, which will be held from noon to 3 p.m., Friday, Sept. 23.
“There’s usually only a few of those in the whole country,” Sutherland noted.
Organizers report the show will also feature a memorial ride and walk to honor the late Corporal Glenn Hilliard.
“On Saturday, Hogs and Heroes and Rommel Harley-Davidson, our title sponsor, are doing a memorial ride and walk honoring Corporal Hilliard,” Sutherland explained. “The ride leaves from Rommel Harley-Davidson and will arrive at the convention center, while a walk to the Boardwalk and back will honor our men in blue.”
Rounding out the festival will be a concert series.
Performances by Kashmir the Live Led Zeppelin Show with special guest Dave Bray USA on Sept. 23 and Priscilla Block with special guest Lauren Weintraub on Sept. 24 will be held at the Ocean City Performing Arts Center.
“They are truly amazing musicians and singers,” Sutherland said.
Organizers say admission to the outdoor, sports and guns shows will give attendees access to all the events taking place inside the Ocean City convention center, the host for this weekend’s festival, while tickets can be purchased for any of the the concerts. Saturday’s biker games and K-9 exhibition, as well as a memorial service and prayer, will be free and open to the public.
But Sutherland noted OC AdventureFest is more than an entertainment opportunity. Organizers will be giving away 20% of proceeds, including a portion of ticket sales, to nonprofits that support military and law enforcement, including Maryland C.O.P.S., U.S. Kennels, Patriot Point, Ocean City Helping Heroes Foundation, and the Hogs and Heroes Foundation.
“This is about our charities,” he said, “supporting our law enforcement and military nonprofits while having a good time.”
For more information, or to purchase show or concert tickets, visit ocadventurefest.com.