Ocean City’s Ravens Roost 44 joins roosts from Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania to put on the annual event, which will proceed up Baltimore Avenue from 19th to 26th street starting at 10 a.m.
“The theme this year (is) ‘Celebrating 50 Years of Fan-Tastic Baltimore Football,” said Tracey Despeaux, Ravens Convention Committee Registration Chair and member of Pasadena’s Roost 65. “It’s a whole, entire weekend of solid fun.”
The Ocean City tradition dates back 50 years, when the Council of Baltimore Ravens Roosts — formerly known as the Council of Colts Corrals — gathered in the resort annually. The group even continued the festivities when Baltimore didn’t have a football team, Despeaux said. The council was renamed when the Ravens came to Baltimore.
“Every year it seems to get a little bit bigger and a little bit longer. We have marching bands and celebrities and players,” she said of the Roosts parade, which will bring Ravens coaches, alumni, cheerleaders and mascot Poe this year.
“Last year because we’d just won the Super Bowl, the parade was huge,” she said. And though no Super Bowl celebration should make for smaller crowds on Saturday, she stills expects fans to gather in the thousands for the event, especially since the Clarion Resort Hotel added its Ravens Beach Bash to the weekend’s mix three years ago.
Approximately 40 groups will march in the 2014 Ravens Roost parade, vying for titles such as “Best Theme Float,” “Best Open Float” and “Best Novelty Float,” as well as the overall judges’ award. Most are Ravens Roost groups, although other organizations that interact with the council throughout the year will also walk in the parade, Despeaux said.
“Some of the Ravens Roosts are very creative,” she said. “It’s a really cool group of people.”
After the Ravens Roost parade, registered Roost members will convene on the beach at Castle in the Sand Hotel on 37th Street, headquarters for the Council of Baltimore Ravens Roosts for the weekend, for a full day of karaoke and mini-golf contests, horse shoe and corn hole tournaments, a Crazy Hat parade, a bull roast on the beach and more, followed by awards at night, Despeaux said. Participants must be registered members of the convention to participate.
The council is also charity-oriented and each Roost supports organizations in its respective areas. Since 2007, The Council of Baltimore Ravens Roosts and its member roosts have donated more than $2,304,269 to charity.
There will be fireworks on the beach at 37th Street Friday night, weather permitting, to celebrate the parade’s 50th anniversary.
“That’s definitely something different. We’ve never had fireworks before,” Despeaux said. She called the convention event “a great weekend to have fun.”