OCEAN CITY — Ocean City--This weekend makes it official: Summer is here! Warm sea breezes, clean sand and the Atlantic will draw hundreds of thousands to Ocean City this summer, and the town lTC says it's ready.
"Ocean City is going to try to be the friendliest beach," says Alex FauntLeRoy, director of the Chamber of Commerce. To that end, he says, many of the 10,000 to 12,000 seasonal employees who will help this resort town handle the summer crowds have been given hospitality training.
And there are other, more visible signs that Ocean City is ready for summer: The boardwalk has come to life, with carpenters and painters freshening up signs and facades. Thrasher's fries have already drawn long lines on balmy weekends. Training for new Beach Patrol members is under way.
With so many visitors -- the town will swell to 300,000 on busy summer weekends, say longtime residents -- Ocean City has to be ready to offer a variety of entertainment. And it is.
"There's things happening all the time, all throughout the summer," says Scott Warren, the town's special events coordinator. "Whether it's the Irish Festival, craft shows, concerts . . . There's always things to do."
Local officials and hoteliers are expecting the season to be bigger than last year, which was a good year.
"We feel more confident this year than we have for the last two years, because the spring season was so strong," said Vicki Morris, general manager of the Dunes Manor Hotel and also president of the Hotel/Motel Restaurant Association.
For visitors eager to leave behind memories of ice, snow and cabin fever, there are festivals, concerts, contests and events. Here are some highlights from Ocean City's summer schedule.
L All events listed are in Ocean City, unless otherwise noted.
* June 4, June 11: U.S. MARINES PULL-UP & SIT-UP CONTEST, Caroline Street Beach. Information: (410) 379-5709.
* June 11-12: SPRING OUTDOOR RACQUETBALL OPEN, Mallard Run Tennis Center, 61st Street (bayside). (410) 250-0125.
* June 15: MARYLAND STATE FIREMEN'S PARADE, Baltimore Avenue, Dorchester Street North. (410) 289-2800.
* June 16-18: CYPRESS FESTIVAL, Pocomoke City. (410) 957-1919.
* June 17-19: IRISH FESTIVAL, Convention Center. (410)
* June 18-19: VOLLEYBALL SUMMER SERIES, Municipal Volleyball Courts, Dorchester Street Beach. (410) 250-5219.
* June 21: SAND SCULPTURE CONTEST, Castle in the Sand Motel, 37th Street and ocean. (410) 289-6846.
* July 4: JAMBOREE IN THE PARK, Northside Park, 125th Street, bayside. (410) 250-0125.
* July 4: HOLIDAY FIREWORKS, Beach boardwalk at North Division Street. (410) 289-2800.
* July 14-17: TUNA TOURNAMENT/FESTIVAL, Fishing Center in Shantytown Village. (410) 213-1121.
* July 15-19: STARPOWER NATIONAL TALENT COMPETITION, Convention Center. (301) 449-3333.
* July 21-24: OCEAN CITY HERITAGE ANTIQUE SHOW, Convention Center. (410) 742-7781.
* July 23-24: OCEAN CITY TRIATHLON, Ocean City-Assateague-Berlin. (410) 539-2868.
* July 23-24: VOLLEYBALL SUMMER SERIES, Municipal Volleyball Courts, Dorchester Street Beach. (410) 250-5219.
* Aug. 1-5: 21ST ANNUAL WHITE MARLIN OPEN, Harbor Island Marina. (410) 213-1613.
* Aug. 5-7: WORLD OF WHEELS CAR SHOW, Convention Center. (410) 326-9281.
* Aug. 6-7: VOLLEYBALL SUMMER SERIES, Municipal Volleyball Courts, Dorchester Street Beach. (410) 250-5219.
* Aug. 12-15: ANTIQUES-BY-THE-SEA, Convention Center. (410) 641-8628.
* Aug. 19-21: GREEK FESTIVAL, Convention Center. (410) 524-0990.
* Aug. 20: FIDDLES AND FOLKLORE, Furnace Town Historical Site. (410) 632-2032.
* Aug. 26-28: MARYLAND OUTDOOR RACQUETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS, Mallard Run Tennis Center, 61st Street bayside. (410) 524-8837.
* Aug. 26-28: SEASHORE SPECTACULAR 10 BASEBALL CARD
CONVENTION, Convention Center. (301) 845-6076.
* Sept. 1-5: ANNUAL WHITE MARLIN OPEN, O. C. Marlin Club and area waters. (410) 213-1613.
Sept. 3-5: LABOR DAY WEEKEND OFFSHORE POWERBOAT RACES, Convention Center and beaches. (410) 289-2800.
* Sept. 10-11: AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE FESTIVAL, Pocomoke River State Park, Shad Landing. (800) 322-1988.
* Sept. 15-18: POLKAMOTION-BY-THE-OCEAN, Convention Center. (410) 787- 8675.
* Sept. 21-25: SUNFEST KITE FESTIVAL, Beach at Fifth Street to the Inlet. (410) 289-7855.
* Sept. 22-25: SUNFEST, Inlet Parking Lot and beach. (410) 289-2800.
WHERE TO CALL
OCEAN CITY VISITORS CENTER: (800) OCEAN
OCEAN CITY DOWNTOWN ASSOCIATION: (410) 289-1413
GREATER OCEAN CITY ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS: (410) 524-6544
HOTEL/MOTEL RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION: (410) 289-6733
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: (410) 213-0552
OCEAN CITY CONVENTION CENTER: (410) 289-8311