H2OI has slower start, for now

OCEAN CITY, Md. –   As summer winds down, some cars are revving up their engines and flooding the streets for the annual H2OI pop-up car rally, for the weekend of September 24th through the 26th. An unsanctioned event that brings cars and car enthusiasts from everywhere, but this year police say they’re cracking down on all the commotion.

We’re told, it seems as though the extra effort the city and police put in this year, may have deterred some from coming to the infamous car rally. “We have a lot of challenges during this weekend and I think a lot of the steps that we’ve taken have resulted in some improvements,” says Jessica Waters, Public Information Officer for the town of OC.

Those with law enforcement tell 47 ABC, this year they extended their special event zone to all of Worcester county, and police are making sure the event doesn’t get out of hand. Sheriff Matt Crisafulli with the Worcester County sheriff’s department says, “Speeding, spinning tires, negligent driving, those are the types of infractions that our law enforcement officers are going to be looking for and those violators are subject to be penalized under the special event zone.”

We’re told the unsanctioned event causes commotion every year, but some businesses and residents say they’re pretty used to it by now and it takes a team effort to upkeep the resort town. “We have to really just keep our streets clean and if that means that us as business owners, as residents have to do a little extra trash cleaning, so be it,” says Susan Jones, Executive Director at the Ocean City Hotel-Motel Restaurant Association.

However, officials from the town of OC tell us, so far the commotion the weekend usually brings hasn’t seemed to arrive yet, which could be a good sign. “Yesterday we towed approximately 30 cars, I think last year, Thursday of the event, we towed almost 80 cars so there’s a significant difference. Jones adds, “Of our 120 lodging members, only 18 of them are sold out going into today. Some vacation rental companies have even blocked off rooms this weekend, so they’re not renting.”

Meanwhile, two out of the owners tell us, they traveled for over 24 hours just to come and see what the rally is all about. “We essentially come down here as almost like a bucket list item, just want to get all the content and all the good footage, and it’s honestly like a car guy heaven,” says car rally attendee, Matt Zimmer. His friend Sam Fisher adds, “I love seeing all the cars, the people, everybody seems so nice down here so the weather is great, I love it.”

Although some attendees are just here to see the cars, they say they’re also wary of the danger it can bring. Zimmer tells us, “Usually at night is when all the chaos happens and it gets a little bit more dangerous out here so probably won’t be out here too much at night tonight.” Fisher adds, “Definitely want to stay safe and stay in our hotel for most of it, but definitely want to get a little bit on camera.”

However, the weekend is far from over, but officials from the town say their efforts may have enticed some guests to stay home, for now. “So we feel like there’s not going to be a lot of traffic, at least we hope not. Who knows, only time will tell,” says Jones.

Police tell us they are still staying on their toes for the rest of the weekend, and want to remind everyone tourist or not, to stay safe.

If you want to find more information about the special event zone, just head to the Town of Ocean City’s website.

Categories: Local News, Maryland