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Ocean Pines clubs, businesses prepping for inaugural season kickoff event

Ocean Pines clubs, amenities and businesses will have the chance to add new members as they gear up to welcome residents to the first-ever Season Kickoff Expo on April 20 at White Horse Park.

Ocean Pines North Gate

The Ocean Pines North Gate
File photo

By Tara Fischer, Staff Writer 

Ocean Pines clubs, amenities and businesses will have the chance to gain new membership as they gear up to welcome residents to the first-ever Season Kickoff Expo on April 20 at White Horse Park. 

The event will feature representatives from the community’s amenities and clubs. Ocean Pines homeowners can browse the booths, receive information on organizations like Maryland Coastal Bays or the Delmarva Chorus and sign up for golf club and racquet center memberships.  

“People are looking for new things to do as we come out of winter,” Communications Committee Chair Linda Yurche said. 

The Aquatics Advisory Committee conceived the event. In the fall of 2022, the team was brainstorming how to attract more members to the pools, the group’s chair, Gary Miller, said. 

 “This was when COVID was still around, and people had not been going out as much,” he noted. “We were trying to figure out how to get people to know what is available with our pools.” 

This process revealed to the committee that aquatics was not the only activity having difficulty attracting new participants. Despite new residents moving into the community, the golf course and the racquet center also struggled with a membership plateau. As the kickoff’s planning continued, Miller said that they discovered new citizens and some long-time homeowners were unaware of the many clubs in the neighborhood.

The initiative soon became a platform to display all that Ocean Pines offers. The showcased amenities will include the Ocean Pines Golf Club, aquatics, the Ocean Pines Beach Club, marina and water sports, the Artisan Gift Shop, the Racquet Sports Center, and recreation and parks.

Assateague Coastal Trust, Berlin Optimists, the Women’s Club of Ocean Pines, Ravens Roost 44, Delmarva Cat Connection, and the Worcester County Humane Society are a few of the clubs expected to attend. These organizations can provide details on their work and solicit new members. The complete list can be found on the event’s official website. According to Yurche, more than 80 exhibitors are slated to appear.

The golf club is also offering special deals available only on Sunday, April 21, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Golfers will have free access to the driving range, tips and tricks from the pros, and no greens fees. 

“We wanted to focus on all that Ocean Pines has to offer for its residents and friends and people coming to look and buy here,” Miller said. 

The Season Kickoff Expo will feature live entertainment and activities. The Ocean Pines Library is bringing its bookmobile, and Chesapeake Martial Arts and the square-dancing club, the Pine Steppers, are performing demonstrations. Additionally, attendees can listen to live music from local groups and receive free health screenings. Coastal Hospice will also have a table to provide information on the types of care their facility and staff provide. 

“The event will be interactive and fun,” Yurche said. 

Miller maintained that the day will be an excellent way for small businesses to gain exposure. Residents can scope out backyard companies they were unaware of, like Capricho Books, Ocean Elements Salt Spa, OC Bayhopper, Pure Family Fitness, and String and Petals. 

“It would be up to the OPA Board of Directors, but I would love to see it become an annual thing,” Yurche expressed. “It’s the perfect time of year to get people excited about the season, and hundreds of new people are moving into Ocean Pines every year. It’s a great way to get them involved in the community.” 

Miller said that business sponsors are covering the costs of the entire event. These include Realtor Donna Frankowski of ERA Martin Associates, Tidal Health, Coastal Bath Company, Atlantic General Hospital, Taylor Bank, Matt Ortt Companies, Derrick Elzey of State Farm, and in-kind support from Red Sun Custom Apparel, Shore Things, and Copy Central. 

The event is free admission. However, food and drinks will be available for purchase from trucks hosted by Hoopers Crab House, Get Baked, That Kitchen, Kiwanis Club of Ocean Pines/ Ocean City, Sweet Addiction Baked Goods, and Kona Ice. 

“I hope residents come out and smile at their neighbors and feel good about a new season here in Ocean Pines,” Yurche said. “…I hope people will come out and feel good about living in the community.” 

The Ocean Pines Season Kickoff Expo is scheduled from 3-7 p.m., April 20, at White Horse Park. Pending inclement weather, a rain date of April 27 has been set. 

This story appears in the April 11, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.