OCEAN CITY — On the eve of an AFC championship game and a potential trip to the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens are planning to build on their strong presence in Ocean City in the future by expanding its involvement in the annual June celebration.
With its close proximity to several metropolitan areas in the mid-Atlantic region, the resort has always been an area of football mutts with pockets of loyalty to the Ravens, the Washington Redskins, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the majority of the professional football fan base in Ocean City is clearly behind the purple and black.
Since NFL football returned to Baltimore in 1996, the town has embraced the team with several Ravens Roosts sprouting up in the area and an annual weekend festival held each June fondly known as the Ravens Beach Bash complete with a parade and numerous activities surrounding the event.
It was learned this week the Ravens are officially planning to expand the teams’ partnership with the resort and its Roosts with an expansion of the event and embracing their relationships with its fan base in Ocean City and beyond. Although the exact details have not been made public, the Ravens have big plans for the annual event over the first weekend in June this year, according to Greene Turtle and Blue Ox owner Steve Pappas, who announced the expanded partnership to Ravens Roost 44 members at the Blue Ox on Wednesday prior to the taping of a weekly radio and Internet talk show.
“I may be jumping the gun a little bit, but I spoke to the Ravens people this week and because of all of the fans they have down here, and because of all the great work the Roosts have done over the years, they are really ready to make the annual Beach Bash bigger than ever this year,” he said. “It’s too early to talk about the details, but I can tell you they’re planning to send the marching band, the cheerleaders, the mascots and the players.”
The highlight of the annual event has always been the parade, which fittingly ends at 19th Street, also known as Johnny Unitas Way in deference to the former Baltimore Colt great’s uniform number. In fact, the annual parade dates back 46 years, before the Colts left Baltimore and were replaced 12 years later by the Ravens, and before the old Colts Corrals were replaced by Ravens Roosts.
However, the annual parade will be just the centerpiece for a larger four-day festival in Ocean City this June.
“There are a lot of events scheduled already, turning a one-day parade into a four-day festival,” said Pappas. “The Ravens acknowledged the support they have here and are ready to embrace that and expand on that. They’re ready to come down here and paint the town purple and black.”