Ocean City Council moves festival amid concerns of clashing with motor event

(Jan. 10, 2020) After 46 years of September Sunfest events, Ocean City officials have decided to move this year’s festival to Oct. 1-4.

Sunfest traditionally falls on the third weekend after Labor Day, but because this is a leap year, the event could coincide with an unsanctioned car event that has taken place at the same time in recent years.

The City Council voiced concerns about combining Sunfest with the motor event, both which draw thousands of people to Ocean City each year.

Along with substantial traffic concerns, public safety and event staffing would be a challenge if the events took place at the same time.

“Sunfest has been a signature September event for nearly five decades,” Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said. “Nevertheless, there is still a lot to love about being in Ocean City in October. I think vendors and guests will be pleasantly surprised by the extension of the season and a fresh new date for one of Ocean City’s largest events.”

The unsanctioned motor vehicle event has presented some alarming problems for the resort community, which Meehan acknowledged did weigh into the decision to change the Sunfest dates but it was not the sole reason.

“We have a responsibility to preserve our signature event,” Meehan said. “However, our biggest responsibility is the safety of our residents and visitors. Based on public safety and staffing needs, we believe this change is beneficial to all residents and visitors of Ocean City.”

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