Ocean City Today

Year In Review 2017

By Kara Hallissey | Dec 28, 2017
Close to 1,600 people registered for the sixth annual Susan G. Komen Ocean City Race for the Cure, April 8, which included a 5K timed competitive run, 5K recreational run and walk and 1-mile fun walk.

(Dec. 29, 2017) From the annual Winterfest of Lights and Ocean City Air Show to runs, walks and a swim benefiting area organizations, here are some of the year’s top stories:

OC Air Show

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels headlined the 10th annual Ocean City Air Show this year, which took place June 16-18 in the resort.

“It’s a family-oriented event, while also containing a patriotic feel,” said Chris Dirato, director of public relations for the OC Air Show.

Additional performances included the USAF F-22 Raptor, USMC MV-22 Osprey, a USAF Heritage Flight featuring the A-10 Warthog, and more jaw-dropping acts.

“The F-22 Raptor is especially intriguing since it is considered America’s super fighter and the only operational fifth-generation fighter aircraft in the world today,” Dirato said. “Its combination of stealth, super cruise, thrust vectoring and integrated avionics, represents an exponential leap in fighter aircraft capabilities.”

In addition, the operational demand for F-22’s are significant with only 186 in the fleet, which limits air show demonstrations to only 24 per year, he said.

The B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber has stealth technology making it virtually invisible to enemy radar.

Another exciting aspect to the show was when two GEICO Skytyper World War II planes raced against Miss GEICO, which is an eight-time world-champion powerboat used in offshore racing.

A performance from the B-25 Mitchell “Panchito” WWII Bomber commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid on Japan in April of 1942. The Northern American B-25 Mitchell is a twin-engine medium bomber plane used by many Allied air forces during World War II in addition to getting use after the war across four decades.

Hundreds of thousands of people watch the Ocean City Air Show from the Boardwalk, hotels, on the beach or on a boat in the ocean and bay each year, Dirato said.

In 2018, the Ocean City Air Show will return June 16-17 and feature the United States Air Force Thunderbirds. The United States Navy Blue Angels are slated to headline the 2019 show, June 15-16.

Visit www.ocairshow.com for more information or to purchase tickets.

Penguin Swim

About 879 participants plunged into the 43-degree Atlantic Ocean on New Year’s Day 2017 during the 23rd annual Penguin Swim, a fundraiser for Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin.

Swimmers gathered on the beach behind the Princess Royale hotel on 91st Street before taking their dip at 1 p.m.

Participants came out dressed as penguins, superheroes, sharks, minions, lobsters, pirates, clowns, King Neptune, Triton, Disney characters, Super Mario brothers, firefighters, military members, a snowman, a rooster, Little Bo Peep, a bull, Elvis and even Marilyn Monroe.

An awards ceremony followed the swim inside the Princess Royale atrium. Awards were presented to the youngest and oldest swimmers, as well as to the top team and individual money-raisers.

The Bull on the Beach team, which included at least 150 swimmers, was the top business team again, donating $31,215. During the 23-year history of the event, the Bull on the Beach team has generated more than $455,000 for AGH.

In 22 years, the Penguin Swim has raised more than $1 million for AGH including more than $83,000 in 2017.

“This year’s Penguin Swim was a great success,” said AGH President Michael Franklin. “The weather was ideal, the event was well organized, the participants were in great spirits, and we all had a fun time raising money for our great local hospital.”

The 2018 Penguin Swim is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. in the ocean near 91st Street. The Berlin hospital has been providing health care to residents of Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties as well as Sussex County, Delaware, since May 1993.

For more information about Atlantic General Hospital, visit www.atlanticgeneral.org.

Winterfest of Lights

During the 2016-2017 Winterfest of Lights season, 111,052 passengers took a ride through illuminated Northside Park during the 46-night holiday spectacular on 127th Street from Nov. 17 to Jan. 1.

“It was a good year and our final week helped our numbers to mirror 2014,” said Special Events Superintendent Frank Miller. “We want to give a special thanks to everyone who continues to make Winterfest a tradition. A lot of patrons come back every couple of years to see modifications and changes to support the event, which we are happy to see.”

The 12-minute tram ride took guests through 58 acres of more than 400 light displays representing everything from fairytale characters to the 12 Days of Christmas accompanied with holiday music. An average of 2,414 people rode through the park each night with about 45 people per tram, Miller said.

Attendance during the final weekend of the 24th annual event was up from the past couple of years with 3,433 riders on Friday, Dec. 30, 5,651 passengers on Saturday, Dec. 31 and 2,202 on the last night, Sunday, Jan. 1. The biggest night overall was Friday, Nov. 25, when 7,183 people road the tram.

“We saw an interesting trend in December with a steady trickle of people checking out Winterfest on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this year,” Miller said. “I think people saw how busy the weekends can get and we had higher numbers on historically lower attendance nights.”

Winterfest of Lights has a different layout each year to keep excursions fresh for returning visitors. Riders are challenged to find their favorite displays in new locations. The city’s crew began setup in early October to transform the park into a winter wonderland.

The 25th annual Winterfest of Lights kicked off Nov. 16 and runs nightly through Monday, Jan. 1.

Hours of operation are 5:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 5:30-10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The cost to ride the train is $5 for adults. Children 11 and younger ride for free.

Call Ocean City’s Recreation and Parks Department at 410-250-0125 for more information.

Race for the Cure

Close to 1,600 people registered for the sixth annual Susan G. Komen Ocean City Race for the Cure on April 8, which included a 5K timed competitive run, 5K recreational run and walk and 1-mile fun walk.

More than $148,000 was raised through race entry fees, donations, sponsorships, merchandise sales and raffles, according to Kim Schmulowitz, communications and marketing director for Komen Maryland.

Since the inaugural event in 2012, Ocean City cancer survivors, supporters and race participants have contributed more than $1.3 million to the organization.

“Since one in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, it’s a disease that touches so many lives,” Schmulowitz said. “Komen Maryland is working to better the lives of those facing breast cancer in the local community and funding national research into the cures for breast cancer.”

The 2018 event is scheduled for April 14. For more information, visit www.komenmd.org.

Besides Ocean City, Komen Maryland hosts a Race for the Cure event in Baltimore each year.

In addition, 128 races were planned in the United States and 14 international Race for the Cure events took place in 2017 to help eradicate breast cancer.

“Susan G. Komen’s mission is to save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer,” Schmulowitz said. “Seventy-five percent of the net funds we raise from all events and donations go to local breast health programs.”

In 2017, Komen Maryland awarded thousands of dollars to Eastern Shore grant programs including the St. Agnes Hospital Foundation, the University of Maryland Medical System Foundation, Wicomico County Health Department, the Meritus Healthcare Foundation, the Northwest Hospital Center, Moveable Feast, Maintaining Active Citizens and Nueva Vida.

In addition, the remaining funds contributed to national research through Komen headquarters and address new early detection technologies, more effective treatments and the understanding of metastasis by treating and preventing recurrence, Schmulowitz said.

“Fundraising is an important component of the Race for the Cure,” she said. “We depend on so much more than the race registration fee to meet our goals in funding local breast health programs and national research.”

For more information, call 410-938-8990 or visit www.komenmd.org to donate.

Making Strides

About 1,200 people registered for Ocean City’s seventh annual American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K run and walk on the resort Boardwalk, Saturday, Oct. 21.

“Every action we take moves us one step closer to a world without breast cancer,” said Jamie Barrett, community development manager, Northeast Region of the American Cancer Society, Inc. “From research to education, prevention to diagnosis, and treatment to recovery, we provide support to everyone impacted by breast cancer.”

The Ocean City Making Strides 5K run and walk is one of several events that make up the Pink Ribbon Classic at the Beach Series, an assortment of local activities to increase breast cancer awareness while raising money for the American Cancer Society.

This year’s Classic included a ladies-only fishing tournament; Real Men Wear Pink competition; card game and mahj party/luncheon; mah jongg and golf tournaments; Brews for Boobs; the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K walk and run; and “Pamper Yourself for Charity Raffle.”

Most of the events are held in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The Pink Ribbon Classic Series was started in 1996 by a group of local volunteers and many are still on the committee. Since its inception, the series has raised about $3 million for breast cancer research, awareness, programs and services. As of Dec. 6, more than $290,000 has been raised through the 2017 Pink Ribbon events, Barrett said. Donations will be accepted until Dec. 31.

Some of the local programs and services available in this area include free wigs for patients; Road to Recovery, which connects local drivers with patients to transport them to and from treatment; and the Look Good Feel Better program available at Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin and Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, which teaches patients how to cope with the cosmetic side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

There is also the Hope Lodge, which provides lodging during treatment; Cancer Survivors Network available at www.cancer.org, a 24-hour-a-day cancer information center; and 1-800-227-2345 for patients to access ACS services.

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