(May 3, 2013) Springfest, the four-day celebration that traditionally kicks off the start of the resort’s summer season, began Thursday and will continue at the inlet parking lot through Sunday.
“I’ve put in an order for great weather,” Tom Shuster, director of the Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department, jokingly said last week of the outdoor festival. “We’re looking to have a great weekend in Ocean City.”
Each year, thousands of visitors from across the country travel to Ocean City for Springfest to listen to live music, shop for arts and crafts and sample an array of food. The 2012 festival was well attended, drawing 106,321 visitors in four days to the inlet parking lot at the southern most end of Ocean City.
“It’s hard to believe we are celebrating the 23rd annual Springfest. With delicious food, hundreds of unique arts and crafts and free entertainment, it’s no wonder this festival has become a favorite among our residents and visitors for over two decades,” said Jessica Waters, communications manager for the Town of Ocean City. “Whether you are going with a group of friends or your family, Springfest promises to be a good time for people of any age.”
The artisans, food vendors and the entertainers are juried so only the best of the best participate. Organizers do this to keep the festival fresh and new.
Aside from a food tent, which features more than two dozen vendors serving everything from Eastern Shore favorites, hot dogs and burgers to deep-fried Twinkies, jumbo turkey legs and alligator, Springfest is also home to two big-top tents that house more than 180 artists and crafters, as well as exhibitors offering commercial and gourmet goods in the midway area. Also featured in the midway area will be the Springfest Boutique, with imprinted apparel and merchandise.
“There’s a little something for everybody,” Shuster said.
A variety of children’s activities will be available throughout the weekend, including sand art, temporary tattoos and rock climbing wall, in addition to an inflatable slide, bounce house and an obstacle course.
On the entertainment side, acts specializing in everything from big band and country to rock and roll will perform. All of the entertainment is free, except for headlining acts.
“Every year we bring in some new entertainment to introduce new music to Springfest, but we’ll also have some of our old favorites back,” Shuster said.
Country star Justin Moore will perform at 8 p.m. tonight. Ticket prices range from $25 to $45. As of Monday, only about 80 tickets were still available. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket booth on the Springfest grounds.
Foreigner will entertain the crowd on Saturday. The show is sold out.
2U, a U2 tribute band, will close the festival on Sunday, with a free concert at 4:30 p.m.
Springfest has been rated the No. 5 Classic and Contemporary Arts and Crafts Show in the country by Sunshine Artist, “America’s Premiere Show and Festival Magazine.”
The festival was established more than two decades ago when Ocean City Councilman Jim Hall suggested there should be a spring party to mark the start of the resort’s busy season. There was already Sunfest, to wrap up the summer, at the end of September. With the need for a spring celebration, Springfest was born.
Springfest grounds will be open Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.ococean.com or call 410-250-0125.