H2Oi 2020 is still unofficially scheduled to roll into town between Sept 24-27
You’d think reports of more police, proposed increased fines, speed bumps in strategic locations and the possibility of an evening at the tow yard would deter H2Oi 2020 planning, but you’d be wrong. According to several Facebook Groups and scheduled events that shall remain unnamed, planning is not only moving steadily along, it’s shaping up to be one of the largest unofficial H2Oi meets in history.
Last year’s H2OI 2019 event was so bad, Ocean City’s mayor held a press conference with the local police chief to address the pop-up car show. H2OI raised so much work for local authorities that “they had the highest number of officers working in Ocean City at one time than at any other time in history.”
At one point Meehan said, “I felt we were under siege, I felt that our residents and visitors, they were afraid at some of the things they were witnessing.”
A year of planning is ramping up to a showdown between attendees and police.
According to the Delaware Online, OC police once again are partnering with Worcester County Sherrif’s Department and Maryland State police to bring in, quite possibly, more officers than 2019. Tactics to curtail the weekend’s festivities include,
- More towing with extra fees. – 30 tow companies are on call to assist. OCPD has expanded their tow lots and have increased impound lot fees to get your vehicle out if they deem your vehicle unsafe. “The most significant change, particularly as it applies to the motorized special events, is a substantial increase in the fee for towing a vehicle with “specialized equipment,” which was raised from $325 to $600.” If you’re lowered or have extreme camber, that specialized equipment increase is aimed at you! – Updated towing fees for Ocean City linked here.
- More police – How much more? According to Maryland State Police LT Earl Starner, “”In my 13 years it’s probably without question the largest deployment of troopers to the town that we have had.”
- Traffic redirection and speed bumps – Expect temporary speed bumps in high-traffic areas. Also, expect to weave through cones in those aforementioned areas to slow you down.
- The following are now considered exhibition driving, punishable by fines and jail.
- Excessive acceleration or deceleration
- Skidding, squealing, burning, smoking tires,
- Swerving or swaying a vehicle,
- Loud exhaust
- Grinding gears
- Wheels losing contact with the ground
- Transporting a passenger on the hood or roof.
H2Oi 2020 attendees have been planning, too.
Like clockwork, a Facebook group that shall not be mentioned, and in existence since 2012 for the sole purpose of planning H2Oi 2020, is “organizing” one of the largest H2Oi’s in history. There are close to 10,000 Facebook members.
Weeks before H2Oi kicks off, there are already six Facebook events scheduled for Sept 24-26, the largest event called “The Lot Takeover’ with over 700 confirmed attendees and 2,400 interested.
Those who capitalise on the weekend already have merch like stickers, decals, shirts, and hoodies ready to sell.
The self-proclaimed director of last year’s after movie is already looking forward to filming this year’s festivities.
And when asked “where ya’ll coming in from?” while most are coming driving in from all over the East Coast, there are a few attending from as far as Detroit, Michigan.
Covid-19 might boost attendance numbers rather than deter
Covid-19 has created a unique situation in the car community that might spell disaster for any preparation Ocean City has in place, more specifically, the sheer number coming into town may be too much for police.
With most car events cancelled like major auto shows including track, drift, and drag events postponed, car enthusiasts are couped up, itching to attend anything they come across.
Earlier last month I reported how Lake2o ripped through South Lake Tahoe, raising mayhem wherever it went. Even though Lake2o was semi-organized through Instagram, the mostly quiet Lake City was overrun with car meets, burnouts, speeding, and excessive revving wherever they went as car enthusiasts all over Nevada and California flooded in.
All this time means most car attendees had time to finish up their builds, eager to “show off” at this year’s H2Oi.
If you plan to go to H20i 2020, wear a mask, bring your hand sanitizer, social distance as best you can and, if you feel any level of sick with Covid-like symptoms, don’t show up at all.
Use the Sturgis Rally as a cautionary tale with what’s now classified as a super spreader event because no one wore masks and congregated close together.
Clashes between car attendees and police might result in spikes in cases of police brutality
Clashes between police and H2oi attendees reached its breaking point last year when one police officer dragged, put his kneecap on, and tazed an unruly crowd member.
Video of that event went viral.
With what’s going on in our nation, on top of the global pandemic, bystanders with smartphones will be quick to film, upload and scrutinize any cases of police brutality they deem worthy of highlighting.
Discussion on the mentioned planning group emphasized the importance of having a dashcam, ready to film as chances of getting pulled over are higher than ever.
A boon to the local economy?
With travel brought to a standstill, one group I don’t see many complaints from are local hotels and supporting businesses. A quick look on Expedia reveals plenty of rooms still available for that weekend.
With thousands of teenagers flooding the area, I’m sure surrounding businesses welcome the admittedly unruly patrons.
H2Oi is coming, youths and their cars are going to have fun, and, while it might result in more arrests, record fines, and a handful of clashes with police, expect business to welcome a spike in revenue, too.