Holiday Happenings In And Around Ocean City
While most may think of Ocean City as a bustling summer town, the resort has expanded its shoulder season in recent years to include a host of holiday activities throughout the months of October, November and December. For visitors and full-time residents looking to make the most of the holiday season, Ocean City is the perfect place to find boutique shops, tree lighting ceremonies, holiday fairs, Christmas parades and much more.
Curious to see what festivities exist in and around the resort? Check out some of these popular holiday events.
The resort’s holiday festivities kick off in October with O.C.toberfest. Activities conclude on Halloween weekend with the popular Seaside 10 and 5K – a Boardwalk run in which participants wear their most outrageous costumes – as well as the Mayor’s Halloween Bike Ride. This year, participants are encouraged to decorate their bikes, dress in costume and play Halloween music to show off their creative side. Led by Mayor Rick Meehan, the event is chock full of awards, prizes and DJ music.
Winterfest of Lights
Northside Park turns into a winter wonderland for Ocean City’s annual Winterfest of Lights, an outdoor, walking tour of one of the area’s largest light displays. Meander through the park’s half-mile walking path with a cup of hot chocolate for an up-close look of the 50-foot Christmas tree and other favorite displays such as Santa’s Workshop, the Twelve Days of Christmas and the Candy Cane Woods. Santa is also available every night through December 23.
This year’s festival kicks off on November 18 and runs through January 1. The event is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Admission is $5 per person, and those ages 11 and under are free.
Turkey Trot Open
Located at Eagle’s Landing Golf Course, the Turkey Trot Open is an annual golf tournament for golfers of any skill set. Each year, four-player teams compete in a scramble format for prizes. The tournament – which begins at 9:30 a.m. with a shotgun start – is then followed by a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, complete with all the trimmings. This year’s event will be held on November 20, and participation is $60 per person.
Eagle’s Landing is an award-winning golf course owned and operated by the Town of Ocean City for more than 30 years. In addition to GPS-equipped golf carts, a full-service cafe and clubhouse, Eagle’s Landing also offers a local rewards program for year-round residents that includes discounted green fees and rewards for free golf.
Ice Ice Berlin and Tree Lighting
If you are looking to venture outside the resort for holiday activities, look no further than the Ice Ice Berlin and Tree Lighting celebration. Festivities kick off Nov. 26 at 5 p.m. and include more than 30 ice sculptures and demonstrations by artist Erik Cantine.
Downtown Berlin will turn into a winter wonderland with visits from Santa at Kringle Kottage, special dance performances by Seaside Dance Academy, Main Street shopping and more. A tree lighting ceremony begins at 6 p.m. with special guest Squire Frederick Taylor, Annapolis’ own town crier.
Holiday Shoppers Fair
In preparation for the holiday season, the Roland E. Powell Convention Center hosts the annual Holiday Shoppers Fair featuring handmade products, candles, photography, florals, jewelry and ceramics, among other gifts and household items from more than 150 vendors.
This fair is great for people of all ages, and includes children’s activities, face painting and door prizes. The event is held November 26-28. Admission is $3 for the weekend, and children ages 13 and under are free.
Berlin Christmas Parade
With 50 years under its belt, it’s no surprise that Berlin’s annual Christmas Parade is one of the largest local holiday attractions. This year, the town parade will celebrate five decades of operation with its “Golden Anniversary” Berlin Christmas Parade on December 2.
More than 80 floats, several high school marching bands, fire trucks, dancers and other local organizations are expected to participate in this year’s event. The parade begins at the south end of Main Street, near the Berlin Welcome Center, and travels north, toward the main stage located near the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum. Community members are encouraged to bring their chairs and join in the yearly tradition. The parade kicks off at 7 p.m.
Ocean City Christmas Parade
Each year, locals and visitors gather along Coastal Highway with chairs and blankets for the annual Ocean City Christmas Parade, a daytime celebration featuring floats, bands and more. Started by Gold Coast Mall more than three decades ago, the parade continues to draw large crowds.
Celebrating 38 years of tradition, this year’s parade returns to the resort on December 4. Starting promptly at 11 a.m., the parade route extends from Old Landing Road north to 120th Street. The southbound lanes of Coastal Highway are closed to traffic, giving spectators a chance to gather along the curb for great views of all the attractions. Looking for post-parade activities? Stop by the Carousel for an awards presentation, or visit the beach and Boardwalk for a stroll.
Winterfest of Lights Jingle Bell 5K Run
Spearheaded by OC Tri-Running Sports, the Winterfest of Lights Jingle Bell 5K Run is another great opportunity to check out Ocean City’s holiday light displays. Held on the evening of December 5, runners will follow the Northside Park path and make their way through the Winterfest of Lights show, featuring more than 1 million lights.
The race starts at 5 p.m., and community members are encouraged to come out and participate.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks
Ring in the New Year at Ocean City’s New Year’s Eve Celebration! The free fireworks display kicks off at midnight and includes live entertainment, hot chocolate and an opportunity to go through the Winterfest of Lights one last time.