OC Bikefest Kicks Off, But Funding Cuts Loom - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

OC Bikefest Kicks Off, But Funding Cuts Loom

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Ocean City Bike Fest 2016 Inlet Parking Lot  (WBOC) Ocean City Bike Fest 2016 Inlet Parking Lot (WBOC)

OCEAN CITY, Md.- The bikes are back and rolling in for one of Ocean City's biggest festivals Bike Fest, but funding cuts are taking center stage between town officials and organizers. Ocean City officials are now pushing for the event to stand on its own.

Bike Fest has seen tremendous growth over the past years according to event organizers. This year an expected 175,000 people are expected to ride in to Ocean City for the four day festival. 

"We are probably the largest, if not one of the largest events in the area and it does bring a lot of revenue and people to the area as well as to the hotels and restaurants," Chase Michael the events marketing director said. 

Joe Topa and his friends travel from Pennsylvania each year to attend. 

"There's a great atmosphere here. We love riding down here, it's very fun. The weather's always nice and the ocean, and there's so much stuff to do. The food is great too. It's our fifth year down here and we look forward to coming down here every year," Topa said. 

This year the hot topic is not about the best band, it's about cutting funds. The town of Ocean City wants to cut tourism funding it has provided the event over the past years.

Bike Fest owner, Kathy Michael tells WBOC that funding is important to the event and was provided over the years as growth funds. This years amount was $10,000. Michael said the town believes the event should stand on its own. 

Chase Michael said they are working to address the issue. 

"We've been in the process on adjusting to it, however, it's really important for us to have it. As we move forward we have to obviously look within ourselves to see where we're making our money and how we do that. There's so many things that go in to it that every bit helps," Chase said. 

Event organizers said without the city's funding the event will have to rely more heavily on local sponsors. 

Jessica Waters, with the Town of Ocean City said the future of this funding is still open for decision by the Mayor, Council and Tourism Department. This years Bike Fest events will run through Sunday in Salisbury and Ocean City. 

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