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Jellyfish Festival Set for Labor Day Weekend

By Logan Dubel

The Jellyfish Festival will return to Ocean City, Maryland to close out the busy tourism season over Labor Day weekend, September 4 and 5. From craft beer, live entertainment, sports, and shopping, the Jellyfish Festival promises to serve as the grand finale of the summer.

The Jellyfish Festival made its Ocean City debut in June 2019 and would have returned in 2020, but organizers were unable to work around remaining Covid-19 restrictions. Building on the success of the inaugural event, this year’s festival includes many new attractions and a stellar entertainment lineup in the hopes of drawing thousands of visitors to downtown Ocean City. Currently, the town expects an estimated audience of 20,000 people throughout the weekend.

Founded and produced by Brad Hoffman of Live Wire Media & Events, the event has the full support of the Town of Ocean City and its tourist base. The festival is located at the south end of the Boardwalk right off North Division Street and will run both days from noon until 9:30 p.m.

“It’s important to bring together music, craft beer, and beach culture for people to gravitate towards in our market and beyond,” said Hoffman. “We want to build a festival for our customers unlike anything before that allows them to enjoy an exciting weekend in Ocean City. Our interactive Jellyfish village will be lively and great for the family.”

Live entertainment for the weekend includes performances by skilled blues guitarist Anthony Gomes, the acclaimed folk musicians of the Derek Woods Band, and reggae rocker Ted Bowne of Passfire. Organizers plan to announce additional acts in the coming weeks but have already booked Ray Wroten, Never Ending Fall, Troll Tribe, Crosstown Walkers, and Rockoholics, in addition to the headliners. All of the acts will perform on stages constructed directly on the sand. Hoffman says that this is the biggest musical lineup to ever hit the beach.

Still, one name bigger than all the rest will take the stage in Ocean City over Labor Day weekend. Country star Brad Paisley will perform on Sunday, September 5, in a show promoted by Ocean City Concerts. Tickets go on sale Friday, July 30 at 10:00 a.m. online and the concert will seat 10,000 patrons.

Music is not the only feature of the Jellyfish Festival. Shore Craft Beer will host its first-ever Shore Craft Beer Fest: Beers on the Beach event on Saturday, September 4, from noon to 4 p.m. Organizers anticipate around 1,500 drinkers and craft beer fans will attend, enjoying offerings from Dogfish Head, Flying Dog, Heavy Seas, Crooked Hammock, EVO, Big Oyster,  Fin City, Backshore Brewing, Tall Tales, Burley Oak and more. In total, there will be more than 25 types of beer from 12+ different local breweries. Click here to purchase Shore Craft Beer Fest tickets. General admission to the beer event is $45.

In addition to attendees of the beer festival, more than 3,000 people from the general public could stop by for domestic drinks and watch the live entertainment.  You will need to reserve your free tickets to watch the shows on Saturday, however. Get them here.

Many believe that the expansion of the craft beer business is key to tourism and growth in Ocean City.

“This is the first time that people will be able to enjoy beers with their feet in the sand here in the resort,” said Ann McGinnis Hillyer, CEO of OceanCity.com, a proud sponsor of the Jellyfish festival. “We are excited to expand and make the shore a real destination for craft beer.”

In addition to craft beer, Jellyfish Festival staff will also be pouring domestic beer from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. until the conclusion of the Brad Paisley show on Sunday.

Sports will also be a prominent feature at the festival, with the debut of the East Coast Cornhole Championships, a joint venture with the Maryland Cornhole League. The contest, scheduled for Saturday, is open to professionals and amateurs with cash and other prizes available. The team entry fee is $60 and for more details, email dale@marylandcornhole.net or call 443-867-4702.

Another contest open to the public is the OC Beach Ultimate Frisbee Tournament, which allows people of all ages and skill levels to compete as either individuals or pairs on the sand. Specifics about competitions and demo sessions are forthcoming.

Other activities include riding a fat tire bike on a beach course designed by the Eastern Shore IMBA, as well as partaking in a beach fitness challenge.

Jolly Roger at the Pier during the 2019 Jellyfish Festival

Tentacle village, adjacent to the festival, will include a variety of vendors and local goods with plenty of shopping opportunities.

No matter what part of the festival appeals to you, one thing is certain – this is the biggest summer finale ever in Ocean City, Maryland.

For more information about the Jellyfish festival or sponsorships, contact Brad Hoffman at brad@live-wiremedia.com or 443-366-5944.

Free general admission tickets for the Jellyfish festival are available right here on OceanCity.com. Click here to reserve your spot. For those that do not reserve tickets in advance, they will be available on-site along the Boardwalk, but you will have to wait in line.  We recommend you reserve your tickets in advance!

Logan Dubel
Logan Dubel
Logan Dubel is a contributor for OceanCity.com and the host of "This Week in Ocean City." He is a Baltimore County native, Franklin High School graduate, and an undergraduate journalism and media student at the University of Texas at Austin. He joined the OceanCity.com team in June 2020. On the shore, he has also served as a writer at the Art League of Ocean City and the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum. Logan has a strong passion for covering the news and its impact on Marylanders. Since arriving at OceanCity.com, he has covered the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, interviewed newsmakers including former First Lady Yumi Hogan, Mayor Rick Meehan, and members of the City Council, featured local businesses, and covered local events. As a collegiate journalist, Logan also works as a Life and Arts Reporter for The Daily Texan and an anchor/reporter for Texas Student Television. Most recently, he anchored live coverage of the 2022 Midterm Elections and reported from the CMT Music Awards Red Carpet. Have a story idea? Contact logan@oceancity.com.

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