O.C. bikini parade

Women pose for a group photo during the inaugural Ocean City bikini parade. The town attempted to beat a world record for numbe rof participants, but came up short by several hundred. (Chris Kaltenbach, Baltimore Sun / August 25, 2012)

A persistent drizzle that occasionally morphed into a driving rain helped China retain its bikini parade crown Saturday, as only 325 women – out of the thousand-plus needed — answered Ocean City's call to stage its own parade of world-record proportions.

Still, spirits were high during the parade, which ran from the Princess Royale on 91st Street north to the Carousel Resort Hotel, a total of some 25 blocks. The weather even cooperated at least a bit when the rain let up just in time for the start at 3:15 p.m. Scores of bikini-clad infants, girls and women, ranging in age from a few weeks to well into their 60s, began the march from beneath U.S. and Maryland flags, cheering and showing off their best beach struts.

"It looks like a typhoon is coming," said a nervous but undaunted Dana Del Grosso, 26, who had come down from New Jersey on vacation with her boyfriend, Chris Kowalczyk, also 26. "At least it's for a good cause."

The $10 registration fee for the event benefited several charities, including the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

"The weather killed us," said Brad Hoffman, who organized the parade on behalf of the resort town's North Ocean City Business Alliance. Nevertheless, he insisted that the parade – the centerpiece of this weekend's Uptown Beach Bash – achieved its overriding goal of reminding people that "life doesn't end in Ocean City north of 30th Street."

Parade organizers originally thought that 450 parading bikinis would be enough to set a new mark. But earlier this month, 1,085 women participated in a bikini parade in Huludao City in China, setting a new Guinness World Record.

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