(Feb. 12, 2021) Two flag ceremonies on the beach in Ocean City – costing approximately $20,000 – were among several “added value” events that Ocean City plans to host this summer, including two major concerts, several fireworks displays, drive-in movies, and O.C.Toberfest.

big flag

Ocean City plans to honor frontline workers by hosting a Big Flag ceremony on the beach to kick off the Memorial Day weekend. This photo of a flag unfurling on the beach in Ocean City was taken in 2012.

The flag ceremonies are expected to take place over the Memorial Day weekend and will honor frontline workers and those who lost their lives to covid-19.

Mayor Rick Meehan said that most years the resort hosts a salute to the military services, but this year will honor frontline workers.

“It resonates with me … and certainly the first responders,” Meehan said during the meeting. “It will be a weekend to honor and celebrate.”

He added that the refocusing of the celebration is “a sincere thank-you from Ocean City.”

The flag ceremonies will be held on May 28 and May 30, and the flag is nearly 45,000 square feet. Meehan said he wants to have the first responders and healthcare workers hold the flag.

In addition to kicking off the season with a flag ceremony, the mayor also said he wants to plant the first umbrella.

T.E.A.M. Productions CEO Bob Rothermel presented the calendar of events during an Ocean City Tourism Commission meeting on Monday afternoon, and suggested the city try to host more mid-week events to help fill a gap when the resort is not as busy.

Rothermel suggested the city front load the summer by hosting a big concert in June. The move could fuel tourism early on, and the concert could be a drive-in style at the inlet parking lot, he said. The lot could host 500 cars comfortably, which would allow for social distancing.

He added that he is in negotiations to get 2020 Grammy-nominated bluegrass artists Billy Strings to play the concert.

In August, Rothermel said he hopes to see the return of ArtX at Northside Park on 125th Street, and that he is working to get American Country Music artist Brad Paisley to headline an event.

In addition to the two major concerts planned for the summer, several smaller concerts are being planned from June through August at North Division Street.

Drive-in movies that were hosted at the convention center in 2020 are expected to be moved to the inlet parking lot, and will take place on Mondays from June 14 through Aug. 30. Events for kids will also take place in the lot, where people will be charged to park.

Starting in June, the city plans to host fireworks displays at Northside Park on Sunday at 9 p.m., and at the beach on Thursdays at 10:30 p.m.

Toward the end of the season, the city will host O.C.Toberfest, which will include a 100- x 300-foot beach maze from Oct. 22-24, a pet parade on Oct. 23, which has attracted over 200 participants over the past four years, and the Great Pumpkin Race on Oct. 24.

Of course, all of these events are contingent on the coronavirus situation.

“Covid is still a roadblock,” Rothermel said.

The city has budgeted $300,000 for events in 2021, and the fireworks, ArtX Concert, O.C.Toberfest, beach concerts, labor, and a producer fee all account for that amount.

Additional events, such as the drive-in movies totaling $72,000, the drive-in concert for $200,000, major beach concert for $350,000, a drone show every week for a total of $200,000, and the big flag at $20,000, would breach the total budgeted by $842,000.

The calendar of events has been forwarded to City Council, and a discussion will be held at a later date.

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