By Logan Dubel
Are you ready to celebrate Independence Day? Ocean City, Maryland, and its nearby communities know how to put on a big show and are excited to bring back spectacular fireworks shows following a break last year due to the pandemic.
The Town of Ocean City will host two separate events, one uptown at Northside Park on 125th Street and another downtown at Caroline Street along the famous Boardwalk. Both festivities kick off with music at 8:00 p.m., and both fireworks shows sponsored by the town will begin at 9:30 p.m.
“The Fourth of July holiday is a great opportunity for residents and visitors to stay and play in Ocean City,” Mayor Rick Meehan said. “With a beautiful setting and two great fireworks events, we hope our guests will come early and stay late to celebrate America’s birthday at the beach.”
City officials encourage visitors to arrive early to secure a viewing spot at Northside Park and even earlier downtown at the Inlet Lot, where traffic jams and delays are unavoidable. Parking at the packed Inlet lot will increase from $3.50 to $5.00 an hour on July 4th.
Visitors may consider utilizing the Coastal Highway bus service, which will run from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. Riders can only purchase $3 ride all day passes and should plan for delays due to a continuing shortage of drivers in Ocean City. Thankfully, many gaps have been filled in the search for more bus drivers, whereas less success has been met for the Boardwalk trams. If riding a bus, masks are still required due to federal law mandating the use of face coverings on public transit through mid-September.
Another transportation option is the West Ocean City Park and Ride, where free parking and $3 ride all day shuttle services to Dorchester Street and St. Louis Avenues will be available. The shuttles will be in operation from 6:00 a.m. to midnight.
While the cancellation of last summer’s firework displays brought countless illegal displays, town officials ask that in 2021, people “leave the fireworks to the professionals.”
“The power and danger of fireworks should not be underestimated,” said Ocean City Fire Marshal Josh Bunting. “In addition to causing damage, fireworks can cause injuries and we want people to be safe during their holiday stay in Ocean City. The safety and wellbeing of all residents and visitors of the Town of Ocean City is the primary goal of the Ocean City Fire Department.”
The Town of Ocean City reminds all residents and tourists that fireworks of any kind, including ground-based sparklers approved in Maryland, are illegal in the resort.
Salisbury will host fireworks on July 4th as part of its free Red White and BOOM event, located at the James M. Bennett High School stadium. The event begins at 6:30 p.m., and visitors should bring lawn chairs and blankets, but no pets are allowed. The national anthem will begin at 9:00 p.m., followed by the fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
Ocean Pines will welcome patrons to Veterans Memorial Park, 11144 Cathell Road, for the evening on July 4th. The event begins at 5:00 p.m. and the roughly 30-minute fireworks show will start at 9:15 p.m. Guests should bring lawn chairs and blankets and can expect live music, carnival games, and food/drink vendors. General admission is free, but wristbands for children’s bounce houses and slides cost $7.
Crisfield will present its Stars and Stripes Fest at the Crisfield City Dock on July 3rd from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The festival includes live music, food/drink vendors, and fireworks.
Nearby Berlin, which also skipped fireworks shows last summer, is set to hold its display on July 3rd at around 9:15 p.m. in Heron Park.