(Nov. 30, 2018) Get into the holiday spirit in Ocean City this Saturday when the 36th annual Christmas parade rolls through town.
Coastal Highway between Old Landing Road and 120th Street, southbound, will be closed from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the parade, which begins at 11 a.m.
The parade will start on Old Landing Road near 100th Street and continue north to 120th Street where 60 units featuring high school bands, horses, antique cars, local businesses, floats, car clubs and service vehicles including police and fire department and the Coast Guard are slated to participate.
“It’s just another great tradition. Just like Winterfest [of Lights at Northside Park],” Frank Miller, special events director for the Town of Ocean City, said. “They’re just great holiday traditions. It’s fun for the whole family. [There’s] a lot of history for both of them.”
Originally created by the Gold Coast Mall Merchant’s Association, on 115th Street, the Town of Ocean City has been coordinating the annual Christmas parade for the last four years.
Three professional judges from the National Judges Association will be reviewing parade participants in the following categories: school bands, marching units, floats and motorized vehicles or groups.
“We have some great floats that come in…,” Miller said. “The OC Stars have a fabulous float, and it’s always fun to see them entertaining the crowds.”
The parade will feature three local high school bands—Snow Hill, Pocomoke and Stephen Decatur. In addition, the Stephen Decatur Middle School Marching Band will participate for the second consecutive year.
Many local businesses and nonprofits will join Trimper’s Rides and Harrison Group’s commercial floats, which have participated since the parade’s inception. They include Plak That, Bearded Men’s Society of Ocean City, Frontier Town, Century 21 New Horizon, OC Paintball and Sport Center, Seaside Christian Academy, Bank of Ocean City and Coastal Fitness.
Trophies will be awarded at the Carousel Hotel on 118th Street following the parade for first, second and third place in each category.
In addition, two special trophies will be awarded. The Coca-Cola Award will go to the parade entry who displays the most energy and fun. The Carousel Group will present an award to the best Ocean City vacation-themed unit.
Coco-Cola, Carousel Oceanfront Hotel and Condominiums, Dunkin’ Donuts and Food Lion are sponsoring the event this year.
“It’s a really nice fun, family friendly event for that afternoon,” Miller said. “As far as parades go, we’re the only daytime parade [in Worcester County].”
WBOC television anchors Chris Weimer and Bill Mich will share the master of ceremony title and provide a play-by-play of the parade for spectators.
The event will last approximately two hours and seating will be located in the Food Lion parking lot on 118th Street for spectators along with the judges’ stand.
Hundreds of people participate in the parade annually and thousands of spectators are expected to line up along Coastal Highway to watch the procession, Miller said.
Santa, one of his elves and Mrs. Claus will conclude the parade in an IG Burton Jeep and are also included in Winterfest of Lights activities at Northside Park on 125th Street, until Christmas Eve.
After the parade, festivities will continue at the Carousel Hotel with half-price ice skating, complementary refreshments including coffee, apple cider and hot chocolate, a deejay playing holiday music, discounted food items and free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Traffic pattern changes will begin around 8 a.m. on Saturday.
“This parade for many years shuts down the southbound side of Coastal Highway,” Miller said. “We still allow southbound traffic, but it’s condensed all over to the eastern lanes of Coastal Highway which means if you’re traveling through Ocean City just expect it may take a little longer to get from north to south and south to north.”
Due to the high volume of pedestrian traffic, everyone is reminded to use crosswalks and cross with the traffic signal.
There is no fee to participate in the parade. To register, contact the Ocean City Special Events Department at 410-250-0125.