Close Menu
Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Ocean City’s 41st annual Sunfest kicks off Thursday

(Sept. 24, 2015) One of Ocean City’s favorite events kicks off today, Thursday, with locals and visitors bidding farewell to summer and welcoming fall with four days of arts and crafts, live entertainment, food and family fun.
The 41st annual Sunfest festival takes place in the inlet parking lot under large tents with more than 250 vendors and food booths offering treasures and tasty treats all weekend long.
Sunfest drew more than 200,000 visitors to the downtown area last year and about the same attendance is expected this weekend.
“With how great the summer has been and what the town has done, we expect a successful Sunfest this year,” said Frank Miller, special events director for the Town of Ocean City. “It has become a family tradition and is the anchoring event to celebrate the season.”
The festival kicks off this morning with a parade down the Boardwalk from 13th Street to the inlet starting at 9:30 a.m. featuring Stephen Decatur High School’s marching band, cheerleaders and choir in addition to Ocean City fire trucks. At the conclusion of the parade, Sunfest opens with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“One of the greatest things about Sunfest is that there is something for everyone,” said Jessica Waters, communications manager for the Town of Ocean City. “Whether you are going with friends to dance to the music, taking your family to try the Eastern Shore delicacies or strolling the Sunfest grounds with a date, it’s the perfect event to celebrate the fall season at the beach.”
Following the ceremony, Rick K & The Allnighters will launch the live entertainment inside at 10:45 a.m.
Live acts from classic rock to tribute bands will entertain Sunfest guests free all weekend, including a special performance by country band Philbilly to close out Sunfest at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27.
“Where else will you have the opportunity to hear free live music for 12 hours each day?” Miller said.
Three ticketed performances start at 8 p.m. each night. Tony Orlando kicks off the shows with his rock and pop hits tonight. Tickets cost $15-$35.
Friday, country and folk music fans will flock to the stage to see Wynonna and the Big Noise perform. Tickets cost $25-$50. On Saturday, 90’s alternative rock bands the Gin Blossoms and Spin Doctors will take the Sunfest stage. Ticket prices range from $25-$60.
“We have had outstanding headliners in the past and I think this year’s Sunfest headliners continue to bring great talent to the beach,” Waters said. “The Gin Blossoms and the Spin Doctors bring a new generation of talent to the Sunfest tents, adding a 90’s flavor to the stage that we haven’t had before.”
Tickets for the headlining acts are on sale at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center box office on 40th Street. Box office hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Guests can buy tickets by calling Ticketmaster at 800-551-7328 or visiting Tickets will also be available for purchase at the festival grounds until they sell out.
In addition to live music, hundreds of local, regional and national vendors will be at Sunfest selling a smorgasbord of items from jewelry and paintings to deep fried Twinkies and beef jerky.
“We have more than 180 arts and crafts artists,” Miller said. “There is absolutely a mix of everyone’s favorites to new food items and more corporate vendors that we hope to expand in years to come.”
Guests can watch 12 artists create wares in the demonstration tent and purchase them on the spot.
For children, there will be hayrides on the beach, inflatables, a climbing wall and a craft tent.
Also this weekend, Park Place Jewelers will host its sixth annual Sunfest Treasure Hunt on the beach Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. For a $15 donation to the Believe in Tomorrow Children’s House by the Sea, the first 100 to sign up each day get the chance to dig in the sand for prizes from gift certificates to local restaurants and retailers, diamonds, gemstones and additional jewelry.
Register for the treasure hunt at either of Park Place’s locations, on the Boardwalk at Second Street or in the White Marlin Mall on Route 50 in West Ocean City.
Participants should meet in front of the store 30 minutes before the dig for a briefing on the rules. Treasure hunters can wear gloves, but may not use shovels and buckets. The hunt takes place rain or shine.
Sunfest hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 24-26, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27.
“An event that began as an effort by a handful of business owners to bring visitors back to Ocean City during the month of September has now grown into the top rated classic and contemporary craft show in the country,” Waters said.
Because parking is limited, visitors should consider taking the resort bus to the festival grounds. The West Ocean City Park and Ride on Route 50, just west of the bridge, provides free parking and a $3 ride-all-day shuttle service to and from South Division Street, a block from Sunfest.
The Special Event express shuttle service will pick visitors up from the convention center, where they can park for free, and take them directly to Sunfest for a $3 ride-all-day fare.
The Boardwalk tram will also be in service during Sunfest with fares running $3 each way.
For more information on bus fares call Ocean City Transportation at 410-723-1606.
Visit for the full schedule of Sunfest entertainment, or call 800-626-2326 for more information.