Ocean City mayor vows to end unofficial car show that he says placed town ‘under siege’ over the weekend

Ocean City’s mayor is vowing to keep an unsanctioned car show out of the beach town after people threw bottles and rocks at police officers and two onlookers were struck by a driver doing burnouts over the weekend.

“This group came to town with the sole purpose to raise havoc in our community, to disrupt our lives and defy law enforcement,” Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan wrote on Facebook Sunday morning. “They placed our town, as well as our citizens and visitors, under siege and in danger which is unacceptable under any circumstances.”


Meehan did not respond to a request for comment.

What took place this past weekend in Ocean City can never happen again. This group came to town with the sole purpose to...

Posted by Mayor Rick Meehan on Sunday, September 29, 2019

The unofficial car show, known as “H20i,” has frustrated town officials and residents.

The Baltimore Sun could not immediately identify leadership of the group to contact.

It’s not permitted or sanctioned by the town, and the official H20i event moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey two years ago, according to The Daily Times newspaper in Salisbury. The Atlantic City show bills itself as a “laid back” event for Volkswagen and Audi owners.

But car lovers keep coming to Ocean City anyway. Last year, police made 80 arrests, according to The Daily Times. This year was disruptive to the resort town as well, officials said.

In 2017, police said a Delaware man struck two police officers with his car while fleeing arrest during the car show, according to The Daily Times. He was pleaded guilty to drug an assault charges and was sentenced to 10 years in prison last year, the newspaper reported.

“The weekend is an enormous disturbance not only to our residents and visitors but to our police officers and allied agencies who are working to keep our city safe,” Ashley Miller, a police spokeswoman, wrote in an email Sunday afternoon. “Our officers are literally doing absolutely everything they can right now to maintain order.”

On Saturday afternoon, people began throwing rocks and bottles at officers who were using a type of pepper spray to break up a crowd of hundreds that had formed at the intersection of 13th Street and Baltimore Avenue, blocking the roadway, Miller said. One officer was struck, but not injured.

The crowd moved around between 13th Street and 33rd Street, and it took officers an hour to break it up, Miller said.

And on Friday night, a driver in a BMW lost control while doing a burnout and struck an adult and a child in a median of Baltimore Avenue near 33rd Street, Miller said. Both declined medical treatment.

Videos and photos posted on Facebook over the weekend show crowds, fireworks being set off from a median, near-fights on sidewalks, cars driving recklessly, including one spinning a doughnut in a lane of traffic, and, inexplicably, a large group of people wearing banana costumes running down the street.

Ocean City Councilwoman Mary Knight wrote on Facebook that she was “infuriated and appalled at the disrespect and carnage that our community was subjected to this weekend.”

She added: “Being held hostage in our homes or feeling unsafe driving or walking the streets is unacceptable.”

OC Mayor: ‘Can Never Happen Again’ On his Facebook page Sunday, Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan saluted and thanked local...

Posted by The Dispatch on Sunday, September 29, 2019

In advance of the car show, officials declared the town a “special event zone” from Sept. 25 through Sunday, with lower speed limits and greater fines for motor vehicle violations.


Town officials pledged there would be a large police presence with officers from multiple agencies, and they warned against motorists doing burnouts or inciting others to do so.

Meehan, in his Facebook post, praised police officers for doing their best in difficult circumstances. And he said he would work with town staff and state officials to “put a plan in place to stop this chaos,” including possibly declaring a state of emergency.

Meehan said he would reach out to Gov. Larry Hogan in the coming week “to discuss this in detail and ask for his assistance.”

Hogan, a Republican, is wrapping up a trip to Australia to promote economic development and study infrastructure issues.

This weekend, Ocean City also was scheduled to host a surfing competition, wine festival and powerboat races.