(Jan. 2, 2015) From an air show to runs, walks and a swim benefiting organizations, here are some of the year’s top stories:
• OC Air Show:
With Father’s Day, Flag Day and beautiful weather, Ocean City Air Show pilots took flight along the Boardwalk and beach, June 14-15.
“The weather was absolutely perfect and the performances were fantastic,” said Cathy Bassett, press officer for the show.
“The beach was packed and the Boardwalk was packed. You could hear people ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ for blocks,” said Jessica Waters, communications manager for the Town of Ocean City.
The seventh annual Air Show featured high-flying routines by the U.S. Navy Seals Leap Frogs, U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier, GEICO Skytypers and Red Bull Air Force, Gary Ward in the MX-2 and Greg Connell in the Pitts Model 12, among others. But the highlight for many was when the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds took to the sky.
In all, there were 215,760 people in town Air Show weekend, according to demoflush statistics. That was up more than 5 percent from the 2013 Air Show, which had rain one of the two performance days.
Event organizers are looking ahead to the 2015 OC Air Show as the Navy Blue Angels and Breitling Jet Team are slated to deliver aerial stunts over the city’s beach, June 13-14.
Visit www.ocairshow.com for more information on the eighth annual OC Air Show.
• Penguin Swim 2014:
On New Year’s Day 2014, approximately 800 people sprinted into the cold ocean for the 20th annual Penguin Swim, helping to raise more than $93,000 for Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin.
For 2014, participants and spectators again had the option to gather at the Princess Royale on 91st Street or join friends at Bull on the Beach on 94th Street before the swim.
Participants were led to the beach just before the 1 p.m. swim. Once everyone was ready, a signal was given by Colby Phillips of the Ocean City Beach Patrol for the penguins to enter the ocean. Children had their own area and went in first, followed by the adults. Participants donned everything from bathing suits to superhero attire and character costumes as they plunged into the 44-degree ocean at 91st Street. Some people got a little wet, while others dove into the water. The air temperature was about 46 degrees.
After the swim, penguins gathered in the Princess Royale’s atrium to warm up in the pool and hot tubs. Awards were presented to the youngest and oldest swimmers as well as to the top team and individual money-raisers.
“Thank you for coming out and sharing your New Year’s Day with us,” AGH CEO Michael Franklin said to the crowd. “We hope you enjoyed the water and the beach out there. It was a beautiful day to have the event.”
Those out of town on New Year’s Day who still wanted to participate had the option to engage in a “virtual swim.” These penguins raised money and registered online, but took a photo of their ice cold dip wherever they were and posted it to social media sites.
In 20 years, the Penguin Swim has raised close to $1 million for AGH.
“It is a great family event that pulls the community together and raises awareness for the hospital,” AGH Development Assistant Heather Trader said.
The 2015 Penguin Swim is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 1.
Atlantic General Hospital has been providing health care to residents of Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties in Maryland and Sussex County, Del., since May 1993.
For more information about Atlantic General Hospital, visit www.atlanticgeneral.org.
• Winterfest of Lights:
On New Year’s Day 2014, 1,024 passengers boarded the Winterfest Express for a ride through the illuminated Northside Park, wrapping up the 42-night holiday spectacular.
The 127th Street Winterfest of Lights displays, which contained as many as 1 million lights and more than 100 twinkling, shining, glittering and animated scenes, was viewed by 91,748 people. An average of 2,185 people rode the train through the park each night.
The biggest night overall was Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 when 7,954 people rode the train. The second largest attendance night was Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 when 7,232 enjoyed the festivities.
The event generated $477,000 for the city.
The fairly mild, consistent temperatures were a factor in the overall attendance.
Winterfest of Lights has become a tradition for families. Many visit each year to take the guided 12-minute open-air tour through the park accompanied by holiday music.
Some of the displays featured at Northside Park included the 12 Days of Christmas, Santa, his sleigh and eight flying reindeer, fairy tale characters, toy soldiers, crabs, marlins, “Jaws,” a penguin village and dinosaurs.
The heated tent kept visitors warm as they listened to music and waited for the Boardwalk trams to take them through the enchanted park of lights. The tent was home to the Winterfest Village and Yukon Cornelius’ Gift Shop. Visitors also had the opportunity to have their photo taken with Santa and grab a warm beverage or snack.
For several years, Winterfest has made the list as one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association. This list includes the best events for group travel in the United States and Canada. Maryland Life Magazine voted it “Maryland’s Finest Holiday Tradition.”
The Ocean City attraction was ranked No. 1 in 2008 on the Professional Travel Guide Editor’s Top 10 of the nation’s largest and best holiday lights displays. In 2006, Winterfest of Lights was No. 2 in the country in the “America Online City Guide’s Top 11 Lighting Displays.” The Disney-MGM Studios display in Orlando topped the list.
The 22nd annual Winterfest of Lights kicked off Nov. 20 and runs nightly through Sunday, Jan. 4. Hours of operation are 5:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 5:30-10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The cost to ride the train is $5 for adults. Children 11 and younger ride for free.
For more information, call the Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department at 410-250-0125.
• Race for the Cure:
The third annual Susan G. Komen Ocean City Race for the Cure took place April 13, and included a “Parade of Pink” survivor recognition, 5K timed competitive run, 5K recreational run and walk plus a 1-mile fun walk.
Approximately 2,500 people registered to participate and there were about 500 spectators.
“We raised about $230,000 at the race, between individual donations and cash sponsorships,” said Kim Schmulowitz, communications and marketing director for Komen Maryland.
“Overall, our 2014 race did well and we hope to continue to grow our participant numbers, local business sponsorships, number of teams and overall fundraising,” Jill Brady, Komen Maryland race and development manager, said.
Since its inception in 2012, about $950,000 has been generated.
The 2015 event is scheduled for April 19. For more information, visit www.komenmd.org. The goal is set at $350,000.
The Susan G. Komen organization is the largest contributor to breast cancer research outside of the federal government. Since 1998, Komen Maryland has awarded more than $3.3 million to Eastern Shore based programs.
The majority of revenue comes from the Komen Maryland Race for the Cure in Hunt Valley and Ocean City.
Seventy-five percent of the net proceeds remain in Maryland to fund collaborative and innovative breast cancer education, screening, treatment and support projects that reach women and families across Maryland. The remaining 25 percent of net funds raised supports national research programs, many of which take place at Maryland institutions.
• Making Strides:
Approximately 800 walkers and 150 runners hit the Boardwalk Oct. 18 for Ocean City’s fourth annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K event.
The Making Strides 5K run and walk was one of several events planned through the Pink Ribbon Classic Series, an assortment of local events to raise breast cancer awareness while garnering money for the American Cancer Society.
This year’s Pink Ribbon Classic included a ladies-only fishing tournament, a card game/mahjong party/luncheon, tennis and golf tournaments, a party with live music at Seacrets, a scrap-booking event, the “Pamper Yourself For Charity” raffle and the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk and Run.
Most of the events took place in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Approximately $300,000 was raised through events this year.
“Everything went well,” Josette Castiglione, community manager for the American Cancer Society–Delmarva, said. “The success [of the Classic] is the dedicated volunteers that drive the events as well as the community support surrounding them.”
Since its inception, the series has raised about $1.5 million for breast cancer research and development.
While some money raised through the Pink Ribbon Classic goes toward national breast cancer research, the remainder stays on the Eastern Shore where it will be used for education projects, patient programs and services.
Some of the local programs include free wigs for patients, the Look Good Feel Better program, which teaches patients how to cope with the cosmetic side-effects of treatment; Reach to Recovery, a one-on-one support visitation program by trained breast cancer survivors for new patients; Road to Recovery, a transportation service for patients to and from cancer treatments; Hope Lodge, which provides lodging during treatment; the Patient Navigator Program, which helps patients navigate the health care system; Cancer Survivors Network; and a 24-hour cancer information center — all free services.