(July 5, 2019) Close to 2,000 people attended Ocean Pines’ Fourth of July events, including a morning 5K race, afternoon carnival and evening fireworks show, all for the first time held at a single location in Veterans Memorial Park.
As the day began, nearly 300 took part in the eighth annual Freedom 5K race, hosted by Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks.
Proceeds from the race netted a $750 donation for the Maryland chapter of Achilles International, an organization formed “to empower people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream running events in order to promote personal achievement.” For more information, visit www.achillesinternational.org.
Starting at 4 p.m., Veterans Memorial Park hosted a family friendly carnival that included games, pony rides, and several jumbo bounce houses and slides for children. The event also included a live deejay and food and drink vendors.
A half-hour firework display over the South Gate pond, begun just after 9:15 p.m., capped off the busy day. Previously, the fireworks were held at Showell Park.
All three events were made possible thanks to a collaboration between Ocean Pines’ Police, Public Works and Recreation and Parks departments, with several neighboring agencies providing additional assistance.
From workers and volunteers operating rides and games for children, to public safety agencies guiding traffic and public works crews helping to oversee the activities, the Fourth of July happenings took more than 100 people to pull off.
“Thank you to everybody that was involved in making this a really very successful event, from our staff at the recreation department, to public works and the police department, and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department and neighborhood watch, because they all played their part,” Recreation and Parks Program Supervisor Debbie Donahue said.
“For our first event it was tremendous, and I think everyone really enjoyed it, from the Freedom 5K to the end of the night,” she continued. “The whole day was really successful. It was an awesome day and it took a lot of people to get it done.”
Ocean Pines Public Works Director Eddie Wells singled out Shaefer Fireworks for putting on a dazzling display, as well as the Ocean Pines and Worcester County fire departments for their help.
“Everyone worked great together. Debbie’s dream came true of having the fireworks at the pond as a great way to end the day of events,” Wells said. “All of our departments – police, the rec dept, public works and fire department, along with other organizations from the Pines – made this event enjoyable for all.
“A special thanks to the Sheriff’s Department, state police and state highway for helping us pull this off,” Wells continued. “Everyone worked very hard in the brutal heat to make it a success. They all contributed to help make this successful.”
Ocean Pines Operations Director Colby Phillips also credited Donahue for her part in planning and overseeing the Fourth of July events.
“Debbie mentioned to me about trying to baring the fireworks over to the pond to join the day events with the evening show,” Phillips said. “Working with the Fire Marshall’s office, local police and fire and the county, we were able to make that happen and it was a wonderful event. The team did such a fabulous job!”
Ocean Pines Police Chief David Massey also thanked Maryland State Police.
“It was a great team effort between Ocean Pines departments,” Massey said. “We learned a lot and the event next year will be even better!”