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Ocean City’s 44th annual Sunfest celebrates the end of summer

sunfest ocean city md
Sunfest 2017.

Fall can’t officially begin in Ocean City without the traditional weekend-long celebration known as Sunfest, OC’s famous arts, crafts and music festival. Now entering its 44th year, the signature event is known for drawing crowds from across the country, and with live music, fantastic food, a unique array of arts and crafts and our fingers crossed for beautiful weather, Ocean City’s Sunfest will take over the Inlet Lot once again from Sept. 20 – 23. Admission to Sunfest is free.

With nearly 300 vendors and over 180 artists slated for the 2018 festival, there’s something for everyone over the four days of Sunfest, set upon the backdrop of Ocean City’s pristine beach and Boardwalk. Sunfest combines live music and artistic demonstrations with gourmet food and drink and even family hay rides on the beach. Some of the festival’s most unique assets this year include exhibits from T-Mobile and Duke’s Mayonnaise, an Ocean City Police Department K-9 demonstration and the chance to test ride fat tire bicycles on the beach.

This year, festival-goers will have the opportunity to create their own pieces of art with the OC Painting Experience. Kids can enjoy inflatable bounce houses on the beach, family hayrides and an abundance of other activities. After working up an appetite, guests can delight in traditional Eastern Shore fare in the food tent or relax to the sounds of free entertainment at the outside pavilion.

Kite Fest coincides with Sunfest, just a few blocks north.

Hours: On Thursday, September 20Sunfest will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:15 a.m. on the outdoor stage. Event hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Entertainment and ticketing: Sunfest features live music playing throughout the duration of the event. All entertainment is free with the exception of evening headline shows. Headliners start on Thursday night with a stage show by Forever Tina performing Tina Turner’s greatest hits. On Friday, the up and coming American southern country rock group The Cadillac Three hit the stage. On Saturday, the Comcast Entertainment Pavilion will be filled with a sold-out concert by Daughtry.

Tickets for h shows are on sale at the Ocean City Convention Center Box Office on 40th St. Box office hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tickets will also be available on-site during Sunfest, or at www.ticketmaster.com, 800-551-7328.

Parking and transportation: Parking is restricted at the festival grounds, so it is advised visitors take advantage of the Town’s Park and Ride services. The West Ocean City Park and Ride on Route 50 just west of the bridge provides a convenient location for attendees with free parking and shuttle service to and from the South Transit Center on S. Division Street, just one block from Sunfest. Shuttle service is $3 to ride all day.

Special Event express shuttle service is also available at the Convention Center on 40th St., where you can park for free in the south lot and ride the express shuttle directly to Sunfest. Fare is $3 to ride all day, as is the normal Coastal Highway bus fare service. Additional park and ride locations are also located at the Public Safety Building on 65th Street, the municipal lot at 100th St. and Northside Park at 125th St. (walk to bus stop on Coastal Highway).

The $3 ride all day pass is valid for use on Coastal Highway, Park n Ride and Express Shuttle buses from 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. Exact fare is required. The Boardwalk tram also will be in service during the event with fare of $3 one way. For additional information regarding bus fares for Senior Citizens, Disabled Persons, Medicare Card Holders and children please call Ocean City Transportation at 410-723-1606 or visit the Public Works Transportation webpage at www.oceancitymd.gov.

Kristin is a writer and photographer in Ocean City, Maryland, and is the content manager for OceanCity.com and other State Ventures, LLC sites. She loves getting reader-submitted stories and photos, so send her an email anytime. She also works part-time at the Art League of Ocean City and the Ocean City Film Festival and lives just off the peninsula with her dog and fiancé. Her photos can be found on Instagram @oc_kristin.

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