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Game On: Join In on the Fun at OC Paintball

By Logan Dubel

Listen up, families! When visiting Ocean City, everyone typically has one pure and simple goal – relaxation. However, sometimes the kids, and even adults, get tired of spending each day of their vacation soaking up the summer sun, and are looking for new excursions. Does this sound familiar? If so, there’s a unique activity that promises to occupy your day with adventurous competition and family fun.

OC Paintball, located in West Ocean City, combines everything families love about the outdoors with a sense of excitement. Purchased and retooled by new owners in 2016, OC Paintball aims to provide visitors with an excursion fit for all ages and foster an adventurous spirit, creating lasting memories.

OC Paintball Owners with Mascot Finn.

The business is truly a family affair in every way. Not only does OC Paintball welcome families daily each summer, but it is owned and operated by Colleen Sanford and her son-in-law, Jonathan Flatley. Sanford, a former sales executive in the capital region who now lives in Fenwick full time, and Flatley, a native of the shore, remain grateful for and committed to the local community. This family even includes their dog, Finn, who serves as the mascot for OC Paintball and even makes appearances in the town’s Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day parades!

“When we were searching for opportunities, we had the ideas of family and community in mind. We wanted to create a true family business but also something that could give back to the community,” said Colleen Sanford, an owner of OC Paintball. “Paintball brings a lot of unity, a team spirit, and a competitive nature that creates fun for everyone involved. This business brings me and my family closer to the people of Ocean City, Maryland, which is very important to us.”

In addition to offering recreational fun, the owners strongly believe in paintball’s ability to foster team building. Over the past few years, OC Paintball has welcomed countless groups including churches, little league teams, and even the local beach patrol and K-9 units. Plus, the facility hosts bachelor, bachelorette, and birthday parties.

The game’s rules are quick and easy. Staff assembles teams, and then they hit the course fighting to avoid a hit and face elimination. Numerous engaging courses are open at OC Paintball reflecting different themes. One landscape is a town featuring old buildings and even a bus, while “Boat Graveyard” includes boats and jet skis to play on. There is also a World War II course with an airplane and sandbags. Finally, they offer “Dark Forest,” perfect for the summer when people are looking for shade. Players seeking additional action can take part in higher-stakes variations of the game.

Individual and group rates are available online. Admission includes a paintball gun along with goggles and a chest protector.

“Paintball is enjoyable because you’re outside, and it also makes for great exercise,” Sanford added. “We often joke with parents when they come in with their kids that we can guarantee the children will fall asleep early that night because paintball is a ton of action and running.”

While there are indeed risks associated with recreational paintball, the staff works hard to ensure that all players remain safe. Referees are present for each game and keep a close eye on the participants, and the staff is extremely strict with regard to safety regulations. All visitors must sign a waiver before playing.

Additionally, players seeking an equally exciting and action-packed experience but with less speed and intensity can choose to join a low-impact paintball game. These paintballs come with half the impact and move significantly slower, easing fears and concerns.

Throughout the pandemic, the owners feel fortunate that their business continued to thrive due to its outdoor location. Pandemic or not, paintball always includes protective face masks as well as social distancing, so this activity was amongst the least affected by Covid-19.

“I try to connect with people as soon as they get to OC Paintball because even though everyone comes here to have a good time, I know some people might be nervous about paintball,” explained Jonathan Flatley. “I help to make people feel comfortable to make sure they can have a great time with their family and teammates. After the game, I enjoy talking with our visitors and being part of their fun, while also hearing about all the memories they will take home with them.”

Now, after six successful years, the owners remain proud to welcome patrons each year to the OC Paintball and Sports Center. While Sanford noted that she was initially apprehensive about her entire family calling the shore home year-round, she has come to love not only being part of the local business community but the slower pace of life.

“We look forward to continuing to grow in our business and helping groups that join us for games grow as well. We want to help them unify and fundraise for causes that matter to them,” Sanford added. “One of my favorite parts about our community at OC Paintball is the diversity of people we see with all the visitors. I especially love seeing people who we knew years earlier.”

In the offseason, OC Paintball is open on weekend afternoons and weekdays by appointment only. Beginning Memorial Day weekend, OC Paintball will be open for business daily.

For more details, visit oceancitypaintball.com or call 410-213-2266.

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