Always eagerly anticipated however sometimes receiving rather rough treatment by Mother Nature, the stars seem to be in perfect alignment this year for the annual SPRINGFEST 2011! Beginning Thursday, May 5th and lasting through Sunday, May 8th each day builds upon the last with hopefully ideal weather conditions in the Ocean City Maryland area. The warm sunshine and fresh breezes at the Springfest inlet site requires for most, a quick trip to the closet for summertime gear – a light sweater, broad-brimmed hats and sunglasses! This fun festival features almost constant live entertainment (mostly free) on two stages, two huge arts and craft tents with over 180 vendors and filled with hand-crafted creations, a food tent containing a variety of terrific Eastern Shore-style food specialties (second to none in our opinion) and a Country Fair style midway lined by vendors offering more interesting stuff. Crowds are everywhere; along the boardwalk going to and from the fest…the line waiting for those famous salt and vinegar spiced fries from Thrashers is sometimes endless and nearly every bench seat is taken with folks just basking in the sunshine welcoming the beginning of the summertime season which is now nearly upon us. Late Sunday however will find the tents being carefully packed away awaiting the even bigger festival…SUNFEST 2011, running from September 22nd through the 25th which marks the beginning of the Fall beach season – locally known as ‘Second Season’. For more information on these and other seasonal events visit the Ocean City Parks and Recreation website at www.ococean.com.
Free parking is available at the West Ocean City Park & Ride. Park free & ride shuttle bus to Springfest for $1. Ride the Boardwalk Tram to the Inlet for $3 each way. Express trolley shuttles will depart from the south lot of the Roland E. Powell Convention Center at 40th Street, ride all day for $2.
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It’s that time again…the long awaited Salisbury MD…PORK IN THE PARK! Beginning tomorrow, Friday, April 15th at 4pm (thru Sunday at 5 pm), we can re-visit and experience again this increasingly ‘notorious’ event. Few, early Spring, annual events in and around the Ocean City Maryland area are more anticipated by ‘foodies’, friends and would-be chefs than Pork in the Park.
Our visit last year was exciting (and filling) I’m sure this year 2011, knowing the ropes, we’ll fare even better! It’s to be noted that a new ‘activity’ will be offered…a mechanical bull will be available Friday from 4 – 10 pm and Saturday from 12 – 6pm. A ride will cost $5.00 – potential visit to your Chiropractor is ?
Last year, hoping to avoid having to park far away and ride the shuttle, we decided that an early, ‘brunch’ visit at 10 am was in order. Weather-wise, we were already enjoying a breezy-sunshine on our way to Winterplace Park on Rt. 346 (Old Ocean City Boulevard) near Salisbury. Within two miles of the festival – we began to sniff traces of wood smoke and good cooking. Seems many of the contestants, in order to have their ‘specialties’ considered ready for judging, stay up all night to insure a good slooow, cook to produce a perfect tender offering!
Upon entering the lovely fairgrounds, (admission $2 adults/children 12 and under FREE) we were confronted with row upon row of tents, trucks and massive cookers spread over several acres of spacious parkland. Early this day the most activity was to be in front of the judge’s tent – a sign up area for the day’s contestants. After viewing this, all the while assailed with wonderful smells, we wandered off to find our ‘brunch’ only to find we were in the wrong area to purchase food. Again, row upon row of busy barbecue cookers and serious contestants – but no food to have –YET! Finally, crossing over several aisles we found what we were looking for! Colorful signs, proclaiming past achievements and tables of trophies vied for our attention. We had finally found our ‘brunch’ although it was now nearly lunch! We stopped at one bright place and placed our order; my companion asking for a genuine pulled-pork sandwich and for me – a ‘pulled’ chicken platter; complete with slaw and baked beans. When presented, we were told to take our pick of today’s sauces…a ‘secret’ hickory recipe or one that spoke of ‘apple’. I chose the apple barbecue sauce – and found it to be a real winner with my smoke infused, chunky, tender chicken on multi-grain roll (thank you). We found a nearby seat; near the stage where consecutive musical groups were performing their most lively tunes. Off in the distance we saw the colorful children’s rides already spinning and twirling. Our food was good – really, really good. We shared a bit and I can vouch for the pork barbecue and the chicken (with ‘apple’ flavored BBQ sauce).
Later, we ambled along the real mid-way – again rows of vendors offering about everything including some really tempting caramel popcorn! When I begin desiring large quantities of warm, sticky popcorn I know it’s time to leave…but I promise to return again next year to this wondrous gathering of foodies…Pork in the Park!
For more exciting info visit – http://porkinthepark.org
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Each spring, along with the big Ocean City Maryland, four-day, “resort season opener” SPRINGFEST event, other nearby area towns and villages on Maryland’s famed Eastern Shore schedule concurrent crowd-pleasing, fun activities. In the village of Historic Berlin, a short seven-mile jaunt west of the beach, the feature on Friday evening was the annual celebration of Spring ARTS NIGHT with musicians, visual artists and artisans and their works overflowing from shop doors and jamming the streets! The event, along with a “Fall ARTS NIGHT” allows this tiny jewel of a town to exhibit why it has earned the title of a Maryland designated “Arts & Entertainment Community”. From 6 pm until sometimes the wee hours visitors may enjoy strolling, shopping, dining, listening to performances and meeting friends – new and old. And, it’s FREE!
For a double whammy weekend – on Saturday, Berlin followed with the Second Annual JAZZ & BLUES BASH. Again, offering that air of fun – this time with added street side vendors and continuous musical performances set on two stages placed at either end of Main Street in the downtown District. Begging to be mentioned were the giant, hot, smoked turkey drumsticks served up that day by the towns’ own GLOBE restaurant. Certainly adding to the enjoyment of a true festival air on this fine spring day was this most tasty ‘fist’ food!
It goes to show that any time you find yourself here at the beach, take a minute to peruse a local tabloid (available anywhere) or jump online and learn about ALL the fun events and activities we have to offer ALL year round!
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No matter what the date, the spring weekend upon which Easter falls each year is really the official opening of the Ocean City Maryland beach season here in the mid-Atlantic coastal region. Signs are everywhere – an increase in the numbers of visitors, a little more vehicular traffic and the smiling faces of folks seen in shops, restaurants, hotels, and motels and especially at annual holiday events all over the area. This year, despite a bit of Saturday morning dampness, visitors, young and old found the annual Easter Art & Craft and Kids Fair held at the OC Convention Center filled with color and seasonal cheer. Sponsored by the Ocean City Lions Club and Viva Paper Towels, no effort was spared to make spring a reality! On the Kid’s side – there were many activities including Easter Egg Hunts, ‘Balloonamania’ Classes, Juggling Lessons, Magic Shows – the offerings list goes on and on. For adults there was a spring Art & Craft Show…filled with tempting and unique items as well as my favorite, several booths with CHOCOLATES – some to sample!
To add to the festivities, a short trip over to Berlin MD (7 miles west) helped many prolong this day of cheer – at Spring Celebration. There too was the ubiquitous Easter Egg Hunt on the lawn of the Town’s Taylor House Museum, rides offered by Jolly Rogers, both Breakfast and later, Teatime, with the Easter Bunny and more. Alas, this year the infamous 4 pm “Berlin MD Pig Races” were canceled due to weather. However, all in all between Ocean City and Berlin there were still many happy activities to go around to celebrate the beginning of our favorite season!
For more information – visit the websites at www.oceanpromotions.info and www.berlinmdcc.org!
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For the past six years the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, Area III has performed a Spring Festival Concert allowing Ocean City Maryland area visitors and locals alike to enjoy their special sounds. This year was no different. On Saturday, members from Area III (MD, DE, VA, DC, NC) converged in the large hall on the second level of the Convention Center to perform eight classically inspired pieces especially arranged for this unique instrument – the English handbell.
These are not garden variety bells – the clanging kind, but special solid brass bells particularly tuned to the notes on a piano keyboard – in fact many of the bells have colored handles (straps)– black or white, depending on the key! Of course inside there is a clapper, however upon inspection it was noted that these too could be further tuned to make the sound hard, medium or soft.
Imagine now your favorite music being played by a multitude of bells – most melodiously! There were over 500 well-trained, ringers in attendance this year. The audience surrounding the large hall listened intently and judging by the rapt expressions, enjoy it immensely!
For further information and a list of special performances performed on this unique but ancient instrument, you may visit the website at http://areaiii.org. And, be sure to mark your calendars for this special spring event in Ocean City Maryland next year!
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In its 12th year the American Cheer & Dance Academy continue to sponsor the hugely successful National event – a family focused weekend aptly named “Reach the Beach” here in Ocean City Maryland. This activity honors recreation, school and all-star cheer teams from throughout the region. Parents and coaches give their children a valuable gift by supporting them in their athletic endeavors. This past weekend, the first of two closely scheduled activities, drew huge crowds – obvious as both of the Ocean City Convention Center lots were parked to capacity. Inside, in the smaller first floor exhibition hall, were vendors offering a myriad of “cheer” related apparel and other necessities. In the large hall, the floor viewing area along with the bleachers were also filled to capacity. Every eye was directed at the stage…or for close-up viewing, the “Jumbo-tron”. In huddles off to the side, youngsters, in every manner and color of cheer costume, were gathered with their coaches anxiously waiting their turn to demonstrate their skills. Music boomed throughout the hall.
At every American Cheer and Dance Event, a portion of the proceeds goes to charity. For the 2008-09 seasons the charities are: Make-A-Wish Foundation, Susan B. Komen for the Cure and The Living Legacy Foundation, in Honor of Rochelle McCoy and Alexa Shearer.
To extend the excitement the International Reach the Beach American Cheer & Dance Academy will hold their All Star and college event here April – 3rd – 5th. Admission. For rules, registration forms and additional information visit the website at acdaspirit.com.
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Mention dining out in Ocean City MD and chances are the first question you’ll hear is, “How’s the crab soup?” Anyone who knows this area knows their crab soup – and their favorite, be it red or white. This event, in its fourth year, called the “White Marlin Festival & Crab Soup Cook-off “ is really all about sampling and then determining the soup-making prowess of the entrants – who is currently making and consequently serving the BEST in town? Although taste is subjective this is a serious competition – chefs and recipes do change! This year 10 contestants vied for 2008 braggin’ honors, the three in the “red” category were loaded with fresh crab, vegetables (the best of the locally grown, in season) and spices. The seven remaining entries were the “whites”, containing fresh, sweet lump crab gently folded into an appropriately seasoned, rich cream base. Sherry along with other secret ingredients are sometimes added to make that special difference. We attendees cheerfully paid our fee (a reasonable, $12) and were given a paper numbered 1 – 10 along with two tickets with which to vote for the “best red” and “best white” soup at the end of our tastings. We then proceeded to the appropriately numbered tent and were given a generous sample – and sample we did – ’til we were very full! Some of the cups were rimmed with lemon and Old Bay giving the soup an even greater “shore style” flavor! And, yes, there were some community exhibits, face painting and clowns for the kids – even some lively music in the background but the Crab Soup Cook-off contest was surely the reason for the day! This festival is sponsored each year by the Downtown Association and is conveniently located just steps from the Boardwalk in the Somerset Street Plaza. For more information phone 410-289-1413 or visit the website at www.downtownassociation.net. Note: To enlarge any photo, just “click”!
Long known as that quiet little town located just off Rt. 50, 7 miles west of Ocean City MD, Berlin is rapidly becoming a partner destination here on the Shore. This past weekend along with SPRINGFEST 2008 in OC, Berlin offered a couple of quality attractions to fulfill anyone having a need to have fun and enjoy a weekend of season welcoming attractions. First up on Friday evening, there was annual Spring Arts Night…wherein local shops; galleries and restaurants within the downtown historic area offered displays of original works from local artists and artisans. Note that in the 5 years since Berlin became the holder of a Maryland State designation as an official Arts and Entertainment District, it has become hometown too more than just a few nationally known artists. Arts Night is fun, roaming the streets at dusk viewing some really fine art in shops housed within charming and landmark architecture, munching on tasty treats served throughout the town and being part of a relaxed crowd – who could ask for more?
The second event quickly followed on Saturday – the “first” annual Berlin Jazz/Blues Street Festival. Being a “first time” one could not be certain of the “depth” of this event despite efforts in planning by the Berlin Chamber of Commerce. It was with pleasant; even a bit awed, surprise that this viewer confirmed this joyous activity would no doubt become one of the special highlights on the annual Town calendar. Throughout the day, seven live and lively bands each offering their own unique styles of jazz and blues performed on alternate stages set at either end of the downtown district. Limited seating was available (bring your own next year!) However, few viewers were challenged, many finding curbs or leaning on tree trunks and buildings a comfortable spot from which to enjoy the sounds of some really terrific music played out of doors on a fine spring day.
For further information on these and other Berlin Town events visit the Chamber website at www.berlinmdcc.org
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Spring signals a resurgence in outdoor activities…with balmy days it’s a beautiful time at the beach. Come on down!
Spring 2008 – Events and Activities Ocean City MD
Home, Condo & Garden Show & Art & Craft Fair – March 14-16, Convention Center. Over 200 exhibitors display new products and services with artists showcasing their most creative crafts and gift items.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival – March 15 noon, 60th St. south to 44th St. Over 100 entrants including bands, floats and more. Entertainment, food and beverages at festival.
Easter Art & Craft Fair – March 21-23, Convention Center. Over 100 exhibitors. Admission includes Easter Kids Fair.
Spring Celebration – March 22nd, Main Street, Berlin, MD. Events for adults for children alike including the famed Annual Pig Races.
Adult Basketball Tournament – March 29-30, Northside Park. Open competition to ages 35 plus. Additional session, April 11-14 open to all ages.
Mid-Atlantic Symphony – March 30, Community Church at Ocean Pines. Performances feature the Peabody Violin and Peabody Children’s Chorus.
Julia A. Purnell Museum Exhibit – April 1- October 31, 208 W. Main St., Snow Hill, MD. New exhibit depicting religious life on the Eastern Shore. www.purnellmuseum.com
Reach the Beach All Star Internationals – April 4-6, Convention Center. Cheerleading & dance competitions. All star & college event. www.acdaspirit.com
Hooked Rug Exhibit – April 10, Dunes Manor Hotel. Exhibit held during the 15th annual MD Shores Rug Hooking School. www.Ocrug@aol.com
Quota International of OC Antiques & Collectibles Show – April 18-20, Convention Center. Array of antiques & collectibles from around Delmarva & Mid-Atlantic region.
Sweet Adelines Regional Convention & Competition – April 25-26, Convention Center. Stage performances with music and choreography that spans decades.
MD International Kite Exposition – April 25-27, Beach between 1st and 6th Sts. One of the largest kite festivals in the USA. www.kiteloft.com
Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition & Art Festival – April 25-27, Convention Center. Carvers from around the world convene for the most prestigious competition of wildfowl art. Includes auction, classes, demonstrations and more. Over 100 exhibitors. www.wardmuseum.org
Mid-Atlantic Symphony Season Finale, April 26, Community Church Ocean Pines. Performing Mozart’s “Overature to the magic Flute”, Chopin’s “Piano Concert No.2 in F Minor” & Shumann’s “Symphony #3 in Eb Minor”. www.midatlanticsymphony.org
Board Walkin’ for Pets, April 26, OC Boardwalk at the Inlet. 9th annual dog walk benefits the Worcester County Humane Society.
Julia A. Purnell Museum Exhibit, May 1 – October 31, Snow Hill MD.
Experience American folk art with a new display of antique quilts. www.prunellmuseum.com
SPRINGFEST – May 1-4, Inlet Parking Area. Live entertainment on 2 stages, 184 crafters in tents, food vendors galore!
Festivals of Music – May 2-3, Convention Center. Music festival for middle, junior high & high school instrumental and choral organizations. www.fetivalsofmusic.com
Historic Church Tour – May 10, Snow Hill, MD. Visit many historic churches in Snow Hill. Learn history and architecture of the area. www.purnellmuseum.com
White Marlin Festival & Crab Soup Cookoff – May 10th, Somerset St. Plaza, Downtown OC. Competitive crab soup cookoff, local chefs, live music, community exhibits. www.dowtownassociation.net
Cruisin’ Ocean City, May 15-18, Convention Center & Inlet Parking Lot. Features 3,000 hot rods, customs, classics, street machines and muscle cars. Live entertainment & more. www.specialeventpro.com
Cruisin’ Concerts – May 16-17, Convention Center. Live “name” entertainment, two concerts bring back all the sounds you love. www.ticketmaster.com
Scrapbook Shopping Expo – May 16-17, Convention Center. Come shop or crop. Vendors to help with all scrapbooking needs. www.theoceanretreats.com
Stamping by the Sea 2008 – May 16-18, Carousel Hotel. 8th Annual Rubber Stamp, Scrapbook & Paper Arts Show. Exhibitors & booth demos. Classes. www.seasidestampin.com
Salute to the Services, May 17- June 18, Townwide Ocean City. Discount program honoring those serving community and country.
International Museum Day – May 18, Ocean City Life Saving Station Museum. Interesting displays on history, the lore of the sea & more. www.ocmuseum.org
Spring Arts & Crafts Show – May 24-25, Convention Center. OC’s only Memorial Day craft show featuring home-made “everything” crafts. Bake sale.
Council of Baltimore Ravens Roosts Annual Parade – May 31, 19th St. & Baltimore Avenue to 28th St. Annual parade showcasing 50 member roosts from three states as they show pride for the Baltimore Ravens. www.councilrr.com
Ride Across MD – May 31-June 2, Francis Scott Key Motel. Motorcycle ride to benefit fight against breast cancer. www.rideacrossmaryland.org.
Ocean City Restaurant Week – June 1-8, City-wide. Week long culinary experience allows guest to indulge in the finest OC far at fixed prices. www.oceancityrestaurantweek.com
Play It Safe – June 1-20, Ocean City Area. High school grads from the class of 2008 are invited to participate in fun, free activities including karaoke, beach volleyball, windsurfing, kayaking, rock climbing, midnight bowling, basketball, mini golf, laser tag, access to health & racquet club, paintball & much more. All events are drug & alcohol free. Wristbands entitling participants to free Town of Ocean City bus transportation. www.playitsafeoceancity.com
Eastern Shore Men’s & Women’s Outdoor Tennis Championship – June 6-8, OC Tennis Center. Tennis tournament will attract some of the best players in the Mid-Atlantic region. www.ococean.com/tennis
OC Car & Truck Show – June 7-8, Convention Center. Hundreds of vehicles, music, entertainment, celebrity appearances & much more.
Mid-Atlantic Classic Chevy Festival – June 7-8, Francis Scott Key Motel. Open to all 1929-72 Chevrolets. Events include boardwalk cruise & competitions.
OC Air Show – June 10-11, OC Beach & Boardwalk. Aircraft demonstrations and flyovers. Includes the US Army Golden Knights, US Air Force reserve bi-plane and other celebrity performances. www.ocairshow.com
Village Fair – June 14, Main Street, Berlin. Old time celebration. www.berlinmdcc.org
OceanCity.com Sandcastle Contest – June 14, Carousel Resort.
Professional showcase & clinic. “Medieval Times” will appear with “knights” in a choreographed combat exhibition. Judged by local celebrities. www.oceancity.com
Flag Day Ceremony – June 14, Northside Park. Pause for the pledge with a ceremony & patriotic music at the Flag Plaza.
MD State Firemen’s Assoc. Conference & Parade – June 14-20, Convention Center. Parade, Downtown OC. www.msfa.org
Children’s Discovery Day – June 21, Julia A. Purnell Museum, Snow Hill. Art activities, scavenger hunt & more. www.purnellmuseum.com
Art’s Alive – June 21-22, Northside Park. Fine art at the beach. Over 100 artists display and sell their treasures. Relaxing music while you lunch at the “Artists Café” around the picturesque lagoon.
East Coast Pullers Truck & Tractor Pull – June 28, Pocomoke Fairgrounds, Pocomoke City. Super & pro-stock tractors. www.thegreatpocomokefair.org