A slight chill in the air means the most festive time of the year is here on Maryland’s coast. Now is the perfect time to start planning your holiday trip here to see all the festive sights and sounds of the season. From Ocean City to the Pocomoke River, the charm of the Eastern Shore will keep you in the holiday spirit, well through the new year. Here are the top events and activities in Worcester County this winter.
Winterfest of Lights
Ocean City, Nov. 16 – Dec. 31
A favorite annual event in Worcester County, Winterfest of Lights is bigger and brighter than ever since the event celebrates its 25th year this holiday season. Northside Park, in Ocean City, will be filled with more than 1 million lights and hundreds of animated light displays. You can have your picture taken with Santa; see a 50-foot Christmas tree; shop in the holiday marketplace; warm up with a hot chocolate; and take a ride on the Winterfest Express, a 1-mile trip through beautiful fairy-tale displays. Tickets to Winterfest Express are $5 for ages 12 and up and free for children younger than 12. The festival opens daily at 5:30 p.m. and stays open until 9:30 p.m., Sunday through Thursday and until 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Museum Store Sunday
Pocomoke City, Nov. 26
After Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, do some more holiday shopping during Museum Store Sunday. This is the first year Delmarva Discovery Center and Museum, in Pocomoke City, is participating in the worldwide event that was created to support museums and other cultural nonprofit attractions. From noon to 4 p.m., you can meet local artisans and browse through an assortment of art, jewelry, toys, books and more items. The museum will be offering a 10 percent discount storewide and 15 percent off for members. On Museum Store Sunday, or any day of the week, the museum is a great place to visit to learn about the history and ecology of the region.
Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
Berlin, Dec. 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24
Ocean City, Saturdays and Sundays
Cozy up with your sweetheart or bring your family along for a scenic tour through Berlin and Ocean City. Take in the small town enchantment of Berlin with a free ride along picturesque Main Street. After the ride, stretch your legs and browse the shops and art galleries or dine at one of the many restaurants in the area. In Ocean City, horse and carriage rides start at the southern end of the Ocean City Boardwalk near Thrasher’s (be sure to try its famous french fries) and follow a circular route along the boardwalk and around the pier. Rides in Ocean City are offered Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and cost $10 per person. The rides are free for children 3 and younger.
The Mayor’s Old-Fashioned Christmas Evening
Pocomoke City, Dec. 1
Christmas comes to downtown Pocomoke City early for the 7th annual Mayor’s Old-Fashioned Christmas Evening. This celebrated event will be filled with holiday cheer, a Christmas tree lighting at 6 p.m. and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., you and the kids can enjoy horse and carriage rides, cookie decorating, ornament making and free snacks, including s’mores, hot chocolate, hot cider, plus a wine tasting with Maryland winery Layton’s Chance. There will also be a wreath contest and silent auction to benefit Mar-Va Theater, and a chili cook-off to benefit the Pocomoke City Volunteer Fire Company Auxiliary. Experience for yourself why Pocomoke City is called Maryland’s “Friendliest Town on the Eastern Shore.”
Holiday Artisan Fair
Ocean City, Dec. 1- 2
Start or complete your holiday shopping at this local artisan showcase, hosted by the Art League of Ocean City. This is the perfect opportunity to purchase a unique souvenir from your visit to the Eastern Shore. You will find all kinds of treasures, including jewelry, potteries, ceramics and other items. With live music and refreshments, the fair will have a festive ambience. The Holiday Artisan Fair will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1 and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2 at Center for the Arts Admission is free.
Ocean City, Dec. 2
What better way to get into the holiday spirit than with a parade? The 34th annual Ocean City Christmas Parade takes place along Coastal Highway. The parade kicks off at 11 a.m. at Old Landing Road and travels north to 120th Street. More than 50 groups will stroll along the half-mile route, including holiday floats, high school bands, horses and antique cars. The family-friendly fun continues after the parade at the Carousel Hotel, with complimentary drinks, holiday music, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and half-priced ice-skating. There will also be a trophy presentation for the best parade participants, voted on by a panel of professional judges.
Artist’s Holiday Studio Tours
Berlin, Dec. 2
Join the talented artists of Maryland’s coast for a special afternoon of touring and holiday shopping. For the 2nd annual event Berlin area artists will open their galleries, studios and homes from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. It’s an exciting opportunity to meet local artists, explore places in Berlin not always open to the public and purchase paintings, glass, jewelry, letterpress printings and more directly from the artists themselves.
Ocean City, Dec. 17
The holiday classic, performed by the Sussex Ballet, comes to Ocean City Performing Arts Center for one day only. Doors open at 1:30 p.m., with the show starting at 2 p.m. The performing arts center is located in the Roland E. Powell Convention Center, which hosts concerts, musicals, children’s theater and more productions throughout the year.
New Year’s Eve Celebration and Fireworks
Ocean City, Dec. 31
With live entertainment, hot chocolate and a dazzling fireworks display, ring in 2018 at Northside Park in Ocean City. This is also your final chance to check out the 25th annual Winterfest of Lights. The holiday attraction of animated light displays will stay open until the final countdown.
New Year’s Eve Ball Drop
Berlin, Dec. 31
You and your family have two chances to celebrate the new year on Maryland’s coast. You all can also ring in 2018 on Main Street in Berlin. For children, the celebration is from 5 to 7 p.m., with a ball drop at 6 p.m. After the kids are put to bed, come back out to Main Street for live music, food and beer— from Berlin’s own Burley Oak Brewing Company— to cheers to the coming new year and watch the traditional ball drop at midnight.
Visit the events page to see what else is happening on Maryland’s coast this winter or check out the annual events. Here are more resources to help you as you plan your holiday trip to Worcester County.