Live music from local and national acts, hundreds of vendors and more at event
(Sept. 20, 2019) The 45th annual Ocean City Sunfest celebration began on Thursday and will continue until Sunday afternoon featuring live music, various arts and crafts and an assortment of food.
The festival, which marks the end of the summer season, is set in the inlet parking lot under large tents with more than 300 arts, crafts and food vendors as well as musical performances.
“It’s such a great family tradition event for the town, and being around four and a half decades … you know, it’s popular and people love it,” Ocean City Special Events Director Frank Miller said. “The music, the food, the crafts, the entertainment … It’s one last season hurrah for the town and for the Eastern Shore of Maryland, so we’re very excited.”
Last year’s Sunfest saw the largest crowds in the event’s history with more than 268,000 people attending, despite a rainy Sunday.
“Even with bad weather Sunfest is a great event to come to,” Miller said. “And that’s why we put up the large tents, because we know being on the beach in September, you always have the threat of some type of weather. So even if it’s windy or if it’s raining a bit, you can come here and you can still enjoy the event.”
The event kicked off on Thursday with an opening ceremony at 10:15 a.m.
Following the ceremony, Rick K & The Allnighters launched the live entertainment for the weekend in the indoor Comcast Entertainment Pavilion.
In addition to music, food and purchasing merchandise from the 300-plus vendors, including 30 food vendors, demonstrations will be set up throughout the venue.
“The food vendors are terrific,” Miller said. “We always have a great selection of food. It’s a mixture of Eastern Shore food and East Coast food. But you got to make sure that you eat really light the day before, so when you come to the festival, you can take on those calories of all that great festival food.”
The Eastern Shore International Mountain Bike Association will have a fat-tire bike demo, where guests can take a fat-tired bike out to the sand and ride on the beach.
For children, there will be hayrides on the beach, inflatables to jump and play in and sand art, for a small fee.
Sunfest hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The event will take place rain or shine.
Because parking is limited, visitors should consider taking the resort bus to the festival grounds. The West Ocean City Park and Ride on Route 50, just west of the bridge, provides free parking and a $3 ride-all-day shuttle service to and from South Division Street, a block from Sunfest.
The Special Event express shuttle service will pick visitors up from the convention center on 40th Street, where they can park for free, and ride directly to Sunfest for $3 all day.
The Boardwalk tram will also be in service during Sunfest, with fares running $4 each way. For more information on bus fares, call Ocean City Transportation at 410-723-1606.
While at Sunfest, visit the Official Event Merchandise Tent located just inside the main entrance at the inlet parking lot. Official 2019 Sunfest T-shirts are available in youth and adult sizes through 4XL.
Visit http://ococean.com/sunfest for the full schedule of Sunfest entertainment or call 800-626-2326. For more information about Sunfest, call the Ocean City Recreation & Parks Department at 410-250-0125, or toll-free, 1-800-626-2326.
The 10th annual Park Place Jewelers Treasure Hunt will also take place during the festivities, located in front of Park Place Jewelers on the Boardwalk at Third Street.
The Sunfest Treasure Hunt on the beach event will take place Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. For a $20 donation to the Believe in Tomorrow Children’s House by the Sea, the first 100 to sign up each day will get the chance to dig in the sand for prizes ranging from gift certificates to local restaurants and retailers, to diamonds, gemstones and additional jewelry. The main prize is a pair of diamond earrings.
“There’s no shovels or tools, you dig with your hands,” Park Place Jewelers owner Jill Ferrante said. “What is buried in the sand is a black velvet pouch, which has a number inside of it and that number corresponds to prizes we have in the store. There’s no actual jewelry buried in the sand because every year there’s at least one or two pieces that people can’t find.”
Register for the treasure hunt at either of Park Place’s locations, on the Boardwalk at Third Street or in the Park Place Jewelers Plaza on Route 50 in West Ocean City at any time.
Participants must be at least 18 years old. Treasure hunters should meet in front of the Boardwalk store 30 minutes before the dig for a briefing on the rules.
Participants can wear gloves, but may not use shovels or buckets. The hunt takes place rain or shine.
For more information, call Park Place Jewelers at 410-289-6500 or 410-213-9220.