OCEAN CITY, Md. — Ocean Metropolis is making adjustments to Winterfest this yr to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions.
Fairly than cancel Winterfest, the Ocean Metropolis City Council accepted adjustments Tuesday that may enable the winter custom to proceed into its twenty eighth yr.
Winterfest will nonetheless characteristic upwards of 1 million Christmas lights, however a number of the occasion’s key points of interest will look totally different this yr, mentioned Particular Occasions Director Frank Miller.
“The Winterfest pavilion with the objects that we’ve got within there, our cue line, our Santa expertise, our present store and all of the Instagram hotspots that we do, that crowd actually does lack the chance for bodily distancing,” Miller mentioned.
This yr Winterfest will characteristic a condensed structure, Miller mentioned. Guests to the occasion this yr will have the ability to stroll across the half mile attraction of lights and holiday-themed decorations somewhat than journey on an Ocean Metropolis tram.
Winterfest can even characteristic no closed tent buildings, a brand new admission course of, a modified Santa expertise and a change to when the attraction is open.
The adjustments can even have an effect on how a lot the occasion will price the city, Miller mentioned. The decreased structure and occasion adjustments will save the city about $250,000, however officers predict income can even be down this yr due to COVID-19 and probably the climate.
Listed below are a number of the key adjustments you must find out about for the 2020 Winterfest:
Occasion hours are going to vary
Winterfest historically opens round Thanksgiving and runs by way of Christmas Day. Ocean Metropolis is not altering that side of the attraction, however is decreasing the variety of days the occasion shall be open this yr, Miller mentioned.
Winterfest will open on Nov. 19 and shut on Jan. 2, 2021, Miller mentioned. Fairly than open seven days per week like previously, Winterfest will run from Wednesdays to Sundays.
“We can even have constant hours throughout these 5 days, which is 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.,” Miller mentioned. “As a substitute of getting the additional hour of prolonged time on Fridays and Saturdays like we’ve got historically.”
No tram rides this yr
In earlier years, company might get pleasure from a 12-minute journey round Northside Park to view the Christmas decorations and lights, Miller mentioned. This yr due to COVID-19 restrictions, the trams will not be used.
“I do not even see it as functionally potential to have the ability to to restrict the variety of folks on a tram after which attempt to create a optimistic expertise for everyone with out them ready at three-hour strains,” Miller mentioned.
The trams offered the city with some challenges due to how tightly packed the seating is, Miller mentioned.
The Worcester County Well being Division additionally expressed some considerations about the usage of trams, Miller mentioned. Well being officers anxious totally different teams would not have the ability to correctly social distance whereas on the tram.
Even when teams might social distance, the trams could not transport many individuals at a single time, which might make all the concept impractical, Miller mentioned.
“We did have a remark through the Recreation and Parks Committee about the potential of the driving expertise and it was one thing that we checked out,” Miller mentioned. “The route has some areas which might be doubtlessly harmful for drivers who will not be paying consideration, like crossing the spillway or driving alongside the south finish of the lagoon.”
Winterfest structure getting condensed
The footprint of Winterfest is altering this yr as properly.
In previous years, the attraction sprawled out over a lot of Northside Park, with the tram journey taking company on a one-mile journey, Miller mentioned. This yr the occasion will characteristic a few half mile strolling loop across the lagoons on the south finish of the park.
“They’ll go round this loop as many occasions as they need,” Miller mentioned. “They’ll sit on the benches, they will sit on the picnic tables that we’ll present and in relaxation areas, so the expertise truly is enhanced for 2020 on this condensed variation.”
Among the bigger shows at Winterfest additionally will not be round this yr, Miller mentioned. Of their place Ocean Metropolis plans to gentle up almost 200 timber in several colours and plans to light up the bridge over the lagoon in blue lights.
“Our present store and our Santa space, which do require to be indoors to a level, they’ll reside contained in the group room in the Recreation and Parks Complicated,” Miller mentioned.