Fireworks are as much a tradition in Ocean City as Thrasher's french fries and Dolle's Candyland caramel corn.
And on Saturday, Independence Day, the fireworks are spectacular, exploding simultaneously over the Atlantic Ocean and the bay, culminating a day of activities at Northside Park.
Once again, Vitale Fireworks Co. of New Castle, Pa., will put on the show. It will begin at 9:30 p.m. and last about 20 minutes.
The fireworks will be shot over the ocean off the Wicomico Street pier, but you don't have to be downtown to see them. The show should be visible from ocean-side hotels and from the beach.
Remember to bring chairs or blankets to Northside Park to watch the fireworks over the bay; no seating will be available.
Also, limited parking will be available both downtown and uptown. Visitors are encouraged to use the bus, not only to get to the fireworks but to get around the resort during the day. Bus service will be available from 142nd Street to the Inlet, 24 hours a day. The all-day fare is $1.
Some 350,000 people are expected to be in town over the July 4th holiday, according to Leslie Craigle, a tourism spokeswoman.
"The Fourth is almost always the busiest and biggest weekend of the year," she said.
Last year, some 333,000 people visited the resort, according to Worcester County's demo-flush figures, which show Ocean City's population by measuring sewage flow.
But the holiday will offer more than just fireworks.
Uptown, visitors will find fun for the family at the annual Jamboree in the Park at Northside Park, 125th Street, on the bay. The 50-acre Northside Park will be transformed into a festival grounds, featuring food, games, arts and crafts and music. The fun will begin at noon Saturday and continue until the fireworks display begins.
More than 50 arts and crafts vendors will display hand-made jewelry, clothing, wood crafts, country items and an assortment of unusual goods, including children's swings made from recycled tires.
Food hasn't been left out of the festivities either.
The fare will include the traditional hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, french fries, nachos, cotton candy, snowballs and soft drinks. Some of the more unusual fare includes steak-in-a-pita and shish kebabs.
For the kids, there will be pony rides, an obstacle course, carnival games, miniature golf, races and field games. Pie-eating and watermelon-eating contests round out the activities.
For the adults, whether sportsman or spectator, there will be pick-up volleyball games, soccer and a softball tournament.
And then there's music.
Marge Calhoun, a self-proclaimed country traditionalist, takes the stage at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
The Strawberry Jam Band, a group of four clowns jamming to the sounds of popular music in a lip-sync comedy routine, will perform in the late afternoon and early evening. Festival-goers .. can meet the clowns afterward.
The band, Spectrum, will return to the stage at 6:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
The crew from "America's Funniest People" is expected to be in town over the holiday weekend, looking for people to audition for a spot on the show, according to tourism officials.
The television crew is expected to be at the Princess Royale Hotel, 92nd Street and Coastal Highway, from about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at least two days during the weekend, according to Stevie Prettyman, general manager of KHI radio station.
"Details are still being worked out," she said, noting another audition site may be announced. Tourists and residents alike are invited to audition their comedy routines.
During the evening hours of the Jamboree, there will be limited access to side streets in the 125th Street area. Free parking is available at the Convention Center, 40th Street, on the bay, with shuttle service to the downtown area. The fare is $1.
From West Ocean City, parking is available at the Food Lion shopping center, at routes 611 and 50. Buses will pick up passengers from the northwest corner of the lot and drop them off at the South Division Street Transit Station near the boardwalk. Service will be available from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m.
"We urge people to take bus in Ocean City as much as possible, especially during the holidays," Ms. Craigle said.
Boaters are reminded that the U.S. 50 drawbridge will open at 8:25 p.m. and then not again until 10:25 p.m.
The State Highway Administration urges people coming to Ocean City for the Fourth of July weekend to plan to arrive early and stay late to lessen traffic on U.S. 50 and the Bay Bridge.