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O.C.toberfest features maze, pumpkin race

(Oct. 18, 2013) Ocean City is gearing up for Halloween with its second annual O.C.toberfest this weekend and next, bringing a costumed pet parade, a beach maze and the Great Pumpkin Race back to the resort.

“It’s very family friendly,” said event co-producer Bob Rothermel of the free festival. “We really push it toward families and young children. We’re not there to really scare anyone.”

Last year’s O.C.toberfest beach maze

This year, the giant maze on the beach is 40 percent larger and “full of surprises,” he said. Look out for witches, pirates in the sand, ghouls in the graveyard and more in the maze Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19-20 and 26-27, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the beach at North Division Street. The maze is free for all ages.

The annual Howl-O-Ween Pet Parade is slated for tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 2 p.m. at the Boardwalk at North Division Street. Registration starts at 1 p.m. Pets and their owners will don costumes and compete for prizes in the event that’s expected to draw a large crowd.

“Last year, we had over 50 pets in the parade with probably that many more watching,” Rothermel said.

Participants will vie for trophies for the best-dressed pets and owners in the parade, with coordinated pet-owner costumes encouraged.

There is no cost to participate, but organizers are asking people to show their support for the Worcester County Humane Society by making a donation of pet food, blankets, toys, treats or any other pet friendly items.

The rain date for the parade is Sunday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. in the same location.

Next Saturday, Oct. 26, the Great Pumpkin Race is back, brining side-by-side races with pumpkin racecars to North Division Street at 2 p.m. Participants make their cars from single pumpkins with wheels, powered by gravity on the downhill racetrack ramp. There will be prizes for race winners as well as for creativity and decorations in this free event. Registration begins at 1 p.m. near North Division Street. Visit www.specialeventpro.com/pdf/rules-pumpkin-race.pdf for a full list of rules for the race. The rain date is Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. in the same location.

All three events “went well” last year despite an early shutdown by Hurricane Sandy, Rothermel said. He estimated around 5,000 people walked through the beach maze in 2012.

O.C.toberfest was created last year as a way for the city to promote a free Halloween event for families, he said.

“There’s a lot of stuff that goes on in the clubs and with costume contests and things for Halloween, but… nothing really associated with Halloween (for families),” Rothermel said. “We have Springfest in the spring, Sunfest in September. This just seemed like a natural progression.”

To learn more about O.C.toberfest and see a video of last year’s beach maze, visit www.specialeventpro.com/octoberfest.php.

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