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A festival of sun and fun

Celebrating the end of summer in Ocean City, Maryland

For more than 45 years, beachgoers in Ocean City, Maryland, have celebrated the end of the summer season with Sunfest, a four-day festival featuring arts and crafts, music, beach activities, and food on the inlet parking lot at the start of the resort town’s three-mile-long boardwalk.
Enjoy a sightseeing tour on Cloud Dancer while you’re in Ocean City, Maryland. (Chris Rose)
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Enjoy a sightseeing tour on Cloud Dancer while you’re in Ocean City, Maryland. Photo by Chris Rose

Famous for its amusement rides, food vendors, and bars and shops, the Ocean City boardwalk is synonymous with family fun. Ocean City’s Sunfest is one of the largest outdoor festivals in the region, attracting tens of thousands of attendees each year.

Sunfest takes place October 19 through 22, 2023. Local and national artisans from all over the country sell handmade items at the annual event. Sunfest offers visitors a chance to browse a variety of goods and enjoy food, music, and other alfresco activities along the Atlantic oceanfront at the south end of Ocean City’s famous boardwalk.


Town of Ocean City Town of Ocean City Town of Ocean City Town of Ocean City

Music is a hallmark of the festival, and this year there are two stages—one on the beach and one in the midway of the event lot. Tribute bands for Neil Diamond, The Beach Boys, Elvis, and Earth Wind & Fire are highlights and there will be appearances by Starship, Lauren Glick, The Reagan Years, and Nashville’s Lombardy.

More than 30 vendors will sell food options that range from the boardwalk’s famous fries (Thrashers) to its ice cream (Dumser’s) and other food trucks brought in to feed the crowds. There are more than 200 arts and crafts vendors as well as beach activities ranging from beach tennis to cornhole competitions, hayrides on the beach, pumpkin races, pet competitions, a drone display, bonfire, and fireworks.

Ocean City Municipal Airport (OXB) is three miles southwest of the town on Rt. 611. Cross the Rt. 50 bridge and you are in the heart of Sunfest. Two runways—3,201 feet long and 4,072 feet long—serve the flying public. Fuel is available. Transportation into town is also available. Thirty-minute biplane rides are available for $250, on a biplane called Cloud Dancer. This is a popular attraction, as the biplane is often seen over the skies of Ocean City (see “Summer Camp for Pilots,” July 2023 AOPA Pilot).

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Julie Walker
Julie Summers Walker
AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.

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