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Harbor Day at the Docks, An Annual Maritime Heritage Festival in Ocean City

The Maritime History of Ocean City is Evident in the Annual Harbor Day at the Docks Event Each Fall

It’s 1862 and the Civil War is raging across the country.  In a small commercial fishing village on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, it’s fish that are dying.

It’s August 1933 and a storm is raging.  The narrow barrier island where this commercial fishing village was founded over a half century before is about to be broken by the relentless waves.  This creates an inlet that gives rise to a new sport fishing industry.

Both commercial and sport fishing continue to thrive in Ocean City, Maryland today, over 150 years after the first fishing village was founded in the mid-1800s.  Now, this maritime heritage is celebrated with the annul Harbor Day – At The Docks event in October.

You will certainly want to be in Ocean City, Maryland  for Harbor Day.  That’s the day when the Chamber of Commerce joins the Hotel, Motel, Restaurant Association and Worcester County to bring you this innovative family friendly event free of charge.  This celebration focuses on maritime traditions such as commercial fishing, sport fishing, marine aquaculture, safety at sea and local seafood processing. Event highlights include seafood cooking demonstrations, fish cleaning techniques, net mending, scallop harvesting, marlin rigging, children’s games, arts and crafts, and many other local maritime related topics.  Harbor Day- At the Docks will be held outside along the waterfront and parking lot adjacent to Sunset Avenue in West Ocean City.  To find the Harbor, head east on Route 50 and turn right on Golf Course Road at the light just before you cross the bridge into Ocean City.  You can turn left onto Sunset Avenue where you will see the tents set up for Harbor Day.  You can’t miss the docks, the thriving marina, or the large fishing vessels that will be celebrated throughout the event.

Come hungry because several Ocean City restaurants will be serving their seafood favorites.   You will find fried oysters, crab soup, grilled tuna sandwiches, hot dogs, and much more.  If you don’t care for the food sold throughout the day at the event itself, it’s only a short walk to some of the best waterfront restaurants in Ocean City.  Sunset Grille is on the water at the end of Sunset Avenue and has fabulous food in a beautiful setting overlooking Sunset Marina and the skyline of Ocean City across the Bay.  The Shark on the Harbor is across Sunset Avenue from Sunset Grille and serves spectacular food – much of it organic and all of it fresh.  The Shark overlooks the working harbor and the work boats moored there.  If you look beyond the harbor and the fishing boats tied there, you can also the tip of Assateague Island, home to the infamous wild ponies.  Crab Alley is a favorite for hard crabs and a variety of other seafood.  The Harborside restaurant sits on the other side of the harbor and rules the locals scene.  This restaurant may not look like much from the outside, but the food is wonderful and the happy hour specials worth the visit.  While there, try their famous Orange Crush.  It’s a refreshing drink with fresh squeezed orange juice mixed with other ingredients both alcoholic and not.

Plan your daytrip to Ocean City or spend the entire weekend when Harbor Day at the Docks is scheduled.  You and your kids will learn about the maritime heritage of Ocean City, sample fabulous seafood from the nearby waterfront restaurants, and spend  day in one of the most beautiful — and authentic — working harbors in the Mid-Atlantic region.


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