Sun worshippers were dismayed, but not daunted by the lack of the star of the show at this year’s Sunfest held last weekend at the Inlet.
Sunfest generally marks the end of the hectic “summer” season and welcomes the arrival of the second, or “shoulder” seasons. Ocean City will slow down a little, but there’s a lot of life left – especially if you’re looking for a deal.
It’s possible that your particular favorite eatery may decide to close for a few weeks or a couple of months – those closings generally beginning sometime in October – but the remaining restaurants offer deals and specials too good to pass up. Couple the deals with the coming restaurant week and the desire for an Ocean City dinner can easily become reality.
But before all that Sunfest goes out with a bang. Ocean City spokesperson Donna Abbot reports more than 150,000 people attended this year. Down, indeed — but only down about 7 percent over last year. Last year also had some sun. This year’s weather – by all accounts the culprit was more misty than miserable. Headliner Kenny Rogers sold out and Abbot said the previous night featuring the Drifters, Coasters and Del Vikings nearly did too.
The craft and food tents were full on Saturday with plenty of people, and even more crowded the bandstand area during the afternoon. Vendors reported strong sales to Abbott and the town, despite being rained on for three of the festival’s four days.
Besides the Inlet, the Boardwalk was also packed Saturday afternoon. Spillover from Sunfest to Thrasher’s fries (or vice versa – it’s a little hard to say, really) was incredible in that it took nine photos to contain them all.
Walking up the boards to Kitefest in front of The Kite Loft on 6th Street the crowd didn’t thin out for very long or very much. The foggy weather kept people a little more indoors than out, to the great joy of Boardwalk business owners. If the weather hampered the kite performances one bit the performers didn’t show it and the layman behind the keyboard here wouldn’t have known it. There was very little wind on the ground, but apparently there was enough to keep dozens of kites afloat.
The murky skies don’t make for the best photo backgrounds but everything seemed to turn out just fine despite the circumstances. Would it have been better if the star of the show decided to make an appearance? Absolutely, but Ocean City hasn’t really ever thrived on star power alone.