Rainy Sunday meant fewer attendees, however festival still successful, Miller says
(May 10, 2019) The clear skies and warm temperatures that drew the crowds in the first days of Springfest this year didn’t last quiet long enough, as the total audience for the season-opening festival was down by 17,000 people from last year.
Last weekend’s total draw 120,106, as compared to the 137,570 people who attended the 2018 edition of Springfest, according to Frank Miller, Ocean City’s special events superintendent.
“You always hope to have a very smooth event,” Miller said. “I said to my team going into Thursday how incredibly smooth our setup days went, and then we had this wonderful Thursday and Friday that were just perfect weather. You had this really warm sun that everybody was experiencing on the Eastern Shore, but you didn’t have the heat because you had this cool air coming off the ocean.”
The festival had more than 200 arts and crafts vendors, more than 30 food concessions and a solid lineup of live entertainment under the big top in the inlet parking lot.
The slowest day at Springfest was Sunday because of poor weather, when 11,226 people checked out the event. This was the lowest Sunday total since 2007, when the event was canceled because of especially bad weather.
Thursday, however, saw 19,219 people come through the gates, with 29,208 people coming out Friday. The LeAnn Rimes concert that evening had sold out well in advance.
Saturday held the highest numbers, when 60,452 people toured the tents and outdoor concessions.
“Our average on Saturday is 47,000,” Miller said. “We were way up, which we’ve seen that trending for the last three years.”
This was even more impressive, as bad weather seemed to plague everywhere but the inlet that day.
“We were we were watching the systems as they were starting to head on that northeasterly pattern and some of those storms that were popping up in the Berlin area were skirting north,” Miller said. “Then it skirted south of us and we never really saw the rain. We had some drizzle at one point, but we never really saw bad weather on Saturday unlike some other areas. At one point, North Ocean City was poured on. They had a torrential rain and we didn’t see anything down in the parking lot.”
Even with one day of bad weather, several vendors were impressed with this year’s turnout.
“This is our sixth year at Springfest and it’s been an awesome year,” Lauren Pinder, Eastern Shore distributor for Mick’s Gourmet Soups, said. “Everybody’s having such a good time and the weather is awesome, it’s breezy, you’re at the beach ... what more could you ask for? There are fun vendors, the food here is awesome. There’s so many things to choose from. Everybody is having a good time.”
New vendor Audrey Kromel, from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, was amazed at how welcomed her merchandise was at the venue, given her motorcycle niche style.
“I thought we would be a little out of our element but after I got here, they have a great variety of vendors and we fit in perfectly fine,” Kromel said. “We’re happy that we came. We plan on coming back for sure.”