Visiting Ocean City , Maryland ‘s Winterfest of Lights is one of my favorite holiday traditions. Each year starting with the day after Thanksgiving, Ocean City , Maryland pulls out all the stops turning the beach resort into a holiday wonderland.
New for 2010 is the conversion of the hundreds of thousands lights used in the display to 3rd generation LED lights. According to John Sullivan, special events director with Ocean City Parks and Recreation Department, “Not only will the upgrade to LED lights cut the cost of the electric bill by 90%, the displays will have a more intense color with every color in the light spectrum available”.
So far the city’s workers have upgraded about one third of the 16 miles of lights including the 50′ foot tree and many of the twelve days of Christmas display. It takes a total of forty five days for city workers to string the lights with some of the displays having as many as 5,000 bulbs on a single display.
The Ocean City Winterfest of Lights is divided into two parts. The first is located at the inlet where visitors drive through the lighted display in their car viewing a family of whales, King Neptune and Santa in a charter boat fishing for Ocean City ‘s famous blue marlin.
Leaving the inlet visitors enjoy the private light displays along Baltimore Ave sponsored by local business including the avenue of trees from 15th street to 32nd street with each tree more beautiful than the next.
The second half of Ocean City , Maryland ‘s Winterfest of Lights is held at Bayside Park on 127th Avenue . Visitor’s board a tram for the twelve minute ride that according to the Tour Bus Association of America is ‘only second to Disney World in Christmas light attractions’. To catch a glimpse of what to expect go to www.oceancitygov . And click on Winterfest.
This event draws large crowds but not to worry, Ocean City ‘s Parks and Recreation crew has been doing this event for many years and they keep the crowds moving along without feeling rushed. To avoid the crowd plan your visit on nights other that weekends and not to close to Christmas week.
Santa is on site every night up until December 23 for pictures with the kids and don’t miss a visit to Yukon Cornelius’s Gift Shop for a warm cup of hot chocolate.
Ocean City , Maryland ‘s Winterfest of Lights runs from November 26 through January 2, 2010 . Hours are 5:30 to 9:30 Sunday through Thursday and 5:30 to 10:30 on Friday and Saturday nights. Cost is $4.00 for anyone over 10 years.