The close of the summer and kickoff to the resort’s shoulder season is usually a smooth glide down to another level of business from the frenetic pace of those peak summer weekends — and this year was no exception.
While serving as the last hoorah for some, Labor Day weekend is always more chill than other holiday weekends like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. However restaurants and hotels still had plenty of patrons, and traffic remained steady.
A major anchor for the weekend attractions was the second iteration of the Jellyfish Festival held Saturday and Sunday on the beach between North Division and Talbot streets. The event, which had its inaugural kick-off in June 2019, featured live music, a corn hole tournament, Fat Tire bicycle obstacle course, the Shore Craft Beer Festival, a Marine Corps fitness zone, various vendors, and more.
“I thought it went really, really well,” festival organizer Brad Hoffman of Live Wire Media & Events said. “We had a new component, the craft beer side of it was really exciting. It’s never before been done, a craft beer festival on the beach, so that was a really neat new added component to it.”
Hoffman said the event was tailored for a post-covid world with a larger area fenced off for the music and beer tents that allowed patrons to spread out with their beach chairs and blankets.
“To have a second iteration as busy or busier than the first one and have it be going on in a time when we’re still in … a covid climate. Some people are fearful about coming out and we tried to always be respectful, lay it out in a respectful fashion,” Hoffman explained. “If people wanted to wear their masks they could in there but we abided by state and county and city guidelines as far as whatever you could do on the beach is what we allowed you to do when you came into Jellyfish Festival.”
Hoffman estimated that roughly 3,500 people attended the festival throughout the day Saturday with another about 2,000 who came out on Sunday. The weather was sunny and relatively mild both days, which made for a perfect backdrop for the festivities.
“The weather was really nice we were really blessed with that,” Hoffman said. “We kind of skated the storm out and didn’t really get hit with much of that.”
He added that the festival will likely return next year.
Susan Jones, the executive director of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel Restaurant Association, said in an email that the weekend seemed “solid” in terms of tourists and visitors, with lighter traffic on the roads than during the busiest weeks of the summer.
On the beaches, Beach Patrol Lt. Mike Stone said, despite a large number of towels, tents and umbrellas blanketing the shore, things were pretty quiet and uneventful in the ocean.
He said beach patrol staff executed just 11 water rescues total Saturday, Sunday and Monday. However he said they clocked 20 lost and found children on one of the days, a typical occurrence when the beaches are packed.
“It was really nice out, and you’re just going to get that sometimes,” he said.