Winter festivities are in full swing in Ocean City without the cold temperatures. I’m looking out the window at the sun despite the predictions for rain this morning. I came to work with no coat and am anticipating a week of mild conditions; perfect for those hoping to catch the holiday parades, Winterfest of Lights celebration, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day deals, or participate in the Penguin Swim at the Princess Royale, or the 30th annual Assateague beach walk with the Assateague Coastal Trust.
Winterfest of Lights:
Come visit Ocean City for the award-winning Winterfest of Lights exhibit which is already underway. The lights are concentrated at Northside Park at 127th St. and the Bay where you can board the Winterfest Express for only $4.00 for those revelers over 10 years old. Younger children are free. Wind through the twinkling displays for your 10 minute trip before returning to enjoy hot chocolate and a visit to the Winterfest Village where Santa can receive your children’s holiday wish lists and have his picture taken. The Yukon Cornelius gift shop is a great place to stock up on holiday gifts.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on your trip to Ocean City, don’t worry. You can find packages with oceanview rooms and tickets to the Winterfest Express starting at $54/night. If you’d rather include a luxurious meal in an award winning restaurant, check-out the Clarion’s Winterfest package which also includes tickets to the Winterfest Express and a $50 meal credit starting at $110/night. If you like breakfast better, try the Howard Johnson Oceanfront Plaza’s Winterfest package which starts at $60/night.
Ocean City, MD The 27th Annual Ocean City Christmas Parade marches along Coastal Highway on Saturday, December 5 at 11 a.m. The holiday parade starts at 100th Street and marches northbound in the southbound lanes of Coastal Highway to the Gold Coast Mall at 115th Street. More than 80 units will participate, including high school bands, horses, llamas, antique cars and colorful holiday floats.
Berlin, Maryland This is my favorite parade to get the season started. This year, the parade starts at 7 pm on Thursday, December 3 and runs down Main St. in historic Berlin, Maryland. Revelers will line the streets to watch the festivities. This parade is part of the Victorian Christmas hosted by Berlin each year. If you are in Ocean City, don’t miss out on one of the best Christmas celebrations around.
New Year’s Eve:
Imagine dining and dancing while the stars glitter above a white, sandy beach. The waves crash against the shore as your waiter passes out champagne. You don’t have to go to Florida or the Islands to turn this fantasy into reality. Ocean City, Maryland offers all this and more for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. For those who like the all-inclusive packages, the Princess Royale offers a package that meets anybody’s desires, from casual to formal. The Grand Hotel has packages including tickets to the New Years Block Party with drinks, premier room with late check-out startinga t $180 per night. The Clarion offers something more formal with a Gala in the Crystal Ballroom starting at $239/night. The Howard Johnson Oceanfront Plaza Hotel includes room, breakfast, dinner, champagne, and party favors starting at $179/night.
If you live around here or have your own accommodations, try the Shark on the Harbor’s New Year’s Eve celebration for only $85 per person. You can’t beat the price or the view!
The Globe is open for more casual celebrating in downtown Berlin. The restaurant has fabulous food, the copper-top bar is beautiful and you are always sure to run into friends, both new and old at this historic eatery and theater. Lunch will be served starting at 11 am and there is a full dinner menu from 5 – 11. They are accepting reservations or you can just come in. Bryan Clark will be singing Vegas favorites all evening.
The Princess Royale has 3 celebrations on New Year’s Eve. Schooners Restaurant and the Atrium parties are both relatively casual while the Palmetto Room Gourmet Dinner and Dancing will be more formal.
The newly reopened and much loved Captain’s Table is offering a multi-course dinner on New Year’s Eve. You have to check out their new location and fabulous food. They are located inside the brand new Marriott.
Fager’s Island has a New Year’s Eve Island Party with Jazz early in the evening, a DJ before the band starts and a dance band after dinner, midnight toast and dancing til the wee hours of Jan 1. Tickets available for the party and/or tickets for just dinner.
New Year’s Day:
The Princess Royale shines once again as the sun comes up on New Year’s Day. They will feature a New Year’s brunch, a pool party, AND play host to Atlantic General Hospital’s big fundraiser, the Penguin Swim. Don’t miss out on this fun way to help raise money for this worthy charity. Lots of groups on Town are featuring teams so find one to join, or just go on your own.
The Ilia Fehrer-Judy Johnson New Year’s Day 30th Annual Beachwalk is just another way to celebrate the beauty of winter in Ocean City. This is the 30th year that a group of visitors and residents gather to walk the shores of Assateague Island at the beginning of the New Year. Meet at the concessions pavillion at 1 pm. The walk is led by a naturalist and you’ll be warmed with hot chocolate and cookies when you finish.
Start off the New Year with a visit to the Ocean City Mayor and City Council’s 14th annual Open House, scheduled to be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on New Year’s Day at City Hall, located at 3rd Street and Baltimore Avenue. This year’s theme is the Ocean City Police Department and will feature a crime scene for you to investigate, interactive displays and storytelling.
There are lots of hotel specials throughout the holidays and all winter. Weekday rooms start at $59 so don’t forego a trip to Ocean City because of the cost. There are things to do year round that are free which you can intermingle with gourmet meals, dancing, and live music.
Wrap up tight and head down to the Shore for good, old-fashioned winter-time fun!