The Beach Zone

June 10, 2007

BEACH NEWS A WAVE OF HOLIDAY VISITORS

If you're going to Ocean City for a weekend getaway, be sure to get there early to claim your stake in the sand. According to the city's Department of Tourism, an estimated 259,823 tourists visited the resort town during Memorial Day weekend, marking the best unofficial start to the summer season since 1994.

Town officials pointed to the weather, with highs near 80, as the reason for the increase in the number of visitors.

"Much of the talk leading up to the holiday weekend was about gas prices topping $3, but the weather decided to steal the show," said Mayor Rick Meehan. "Due to Ocean City's proximity to major population centers, we believe gas prices won't be a deterrent for the more than 8 million visitors we plan to host this year."

Memorial Day is typically the second-most-popular holiday weekend in Ocean City, with the weekend closest to July 4 bringing the most visitors. Memorial Day attendance was 239,789 in 2006 and 216,371 in 2005.

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[STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS]

WHAT TO DO Five things to do in Ocean City

1. SALUTE THE FLAG / / On Thursday, Ocean City observes Flag Day with a ceremony recognizing veterans at the Flag Plaza in Northside Park, 125th Street and the bay.

2. ORDER AN OMELET / / Walts cooks up 18 different specialty omelets at Kathy's Olympia Country Kitchen on Philadelphia Avenue.

3. RACE A BOAT / / Well, not really, but you can watch the Offshore Powerboat Grand Prix and see boats on display at Sunset Marina, beginning Friday.

4. SEE A FREE CONCERT / / Starting Friday, concerts take place all summer at the still relatively new Sunset Park with its panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean, Assateague Island and the bay.

5. ENJOY FINE ARTS / / The seventh annual Art's Alive show, beginning Saturday at Northside Park, features an array of art, workshops and activities for kids.

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[MICHELLE DEAL-ZIMMERMAN]

BEACH BET ATLANTIC CITY

SEAFOOD FESTIVAL

Get a taste of the ocean Saturday and June 17 at the Atlantic City Seafood Festival. Visitors can enjoy an array of seafood, including crab cakes, soft-shell crabs, fried shrimp, lobster tails, scallop skewers and tuna steak sandwiches, as well as landlubberly fare, desserts and beverages. There will also be live entertainment, a craft show (featuring many beach-themed items), kids' activities and more.

The festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days at Bernie Robbins Stadium, 545 N. Albany Ave., Atlantic City, N.J. Admission is $5; $3 for ages 4-12; free for those younger than 4. Information: 609-561-8994 or acseafoodfest.com.

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[LORI SEARS]

WHAT YOU THINK

OUR WEEKLY POLL

This week's question: What is the main attraction for visitors to Ocean City? To vote, go to baltimoresun.com / baybeach. Results from last week's poll. Which beach has the best sand for building sandcastles?

59 percent, Ocean City; 17 percent, Rehoboth Beach; 14 percent, Cape May; 10 percent, Bethany Beach

ONLINE

We want to see your best beach photos. Share them with us online at baltimoresun.com / beachphotos

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