There’s never a dull moment in Ocean City
By Angela Blue
It seems like the things to do in Ocean City are truly endless. Between the beach, the boardwalk, the shopping, the dining, the nature, the sports and the amusements, it’s impossible to fit everything in during your vacation. But just to be absolutely sure you’re smitten with fun during your time here, Ocean City offers a slew of exciting events to occupy your fancy all year long.
Kicking off the prime spring and summer seasons is Springfest, the annual gathering of food vendors, live entertainment and arts and crafts galore. For four days (May 1–4) beachgoers fill the boardwalk and oceanfront area for this event, giving a taste of summer fun before the sun fully comes out for the season. Springfest serves up a continuous variety of musical performances on two ages. Best of all, admission to the four-day event is free!
Foodies will delight in the incredible offerings during Ocean City Restaurant Week (May 4–18) where the city’s most spectacular restaurants will create special menus at fixed prices of $10, $20, $30 or $40 for this much-anticipated two-week event. Explore the culinary masterpieces at a restaurant you’ve never dined at before, or sample some new delicacies at a local favorite. Dining options range from simple to fine dining, and some fixed price menus even feature dessert! Visit oceancityrestaurantweek.com to see what participating restaurants are offering, and don’t forget to make reservations in advance as this is an incredibly popular week to dine out.
Most people would rather not see a shark during their beach vacation, but others like a bit of excitement in their lives. If you’re part of the latter group, you’ll enjoy visiting from May 29–31 during the Ocean City Shark Tournament, one of the largest shark tournaments on the East Coast. Come see the boats at the dockside weigh-ins on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Ocean City Fishing Center. This year’s entry fee has been reduced, so visit ocsharktournament.com to learn more and sign up.
If you enjoy fishing in Ocean City, make plans to come in August for the White Marlin Open, the world’s largest billfish tournament. From Aug. 4–8, more than 300 boats vie for over $2 million in prize money. Even if you’re not much of an angler, you can watch the fish weight-ins from Monday to Friday at Harbour Island Marina for free! Visit whitemarlinopen.com to learn more.
September in Ocean City is known for many traditions including the OC BikeFest (Sept. 11–14). Motorcycle clubs from all over the East Coast ride to the ocean for bonding and bike stunt shows. This year’s entertainment features Jackyl, Travis Tritt, The Marshall Tucker Band and more! Visit ocbikefest.com for information.
Ocean City’s most popular festival is Sunfest, the late-summer twin of Springfest, which is a free event that brings hundreds of people together every year for arts, music and delicious food from Sept. 18–21. Celebrating its 40th year, Sunfest is rated #1 of the 100 Best Classic and Contemporary Craft Shows in the country by Sunshine Artist Magazine. Artists will delight your senses with their art and craft creations while demonstrating artists amaze you with their unique talents. Guests will see performances from nationally known and regionally popular entertainers in celebration of summer’s end and fall’s fabulous beginning. Plus various food vendors will be on site to awaken your taste buds with Eastern Shore delicacies, pit beef, gyros, Asian cuisine and more. Children can enjoy hayrides and inflatables on the beach. Kids and adults will have a blast at Sunfest Kite Festival where thousands of spectators travel to see master kite flyers from around the world showcase their aerial displays of art.
Music lovers unite in Berlin during this time of year for the Fiddlers Convention, two days of free, live bluegrass music held Sept. 20–21. Join bluegrass musicians from across the country as they vie for thousands in cash prizes in adult and youth fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin and bluegrass band competitions. Friday night’s exciting headlining act will be Reno & Harrell Sons of Legends. The band will play again Saturday morning, followed by a full day of spectacular bluegrass music. Visit berlinchamber.org for more information.
If you’re a fan of merlot, chardonnay, reisling (or all of the above), this next event is right up your alley. Winefest at the Beach will take place Sept. 26–27 where guests can sample some of the best wines found on the East Coast. Micro-brewed beers, Delmarva cuisine, quality arts and crafts and local and regional live music will be focal points of this year’s event. More information can be found at winefest.com.
Of course there’s something for the beer enthusiasts as well. From Oct. 11–12, brew buddies will gather for the 5th Annual Good Beer Festival in Pemberton Park, Salisbury. Attendees will receive a 5 oz. tasting glass for as many 2-oz. samples as they can responsibly consume. There will also be live entertainment, peddlers of craft and cool items and of course plenty of Eastern Shore food. Visit goodbeerfestival.com for more info.
Even in the cooler months, Ocean City finds something to celebrate. From Nov. 20–Jan. 4, visitors can experience Winterfest of Lights, a 1-mile journey set to music through 58 acres of spectacular lights featuring themed displays and a 50-foot Christmas tree. After your ride, you can warm up with a cup of hot chocolate at the Winterfest Pavilion and browse the Yukon Cornelius Gift Shop. Word has it that the jolly fellow in red will be available every evening through Dec. 23.
With a full year of fun ahead, begin marking your calendars now because there’s always something happening in Ocean City!