DC 101, the alternative-rock FM radio station in Washington, had no formal affiliation with the 2003 grand opening of the Tiki Bar in Solomons Island. An article in the April 17 Southern Maryland Extra incorrectly said the station was a sponsor of the event. (Published 5/1/03)
It was a wet and cold Friday night -- more like the end of autumn than the beginning of spring. But more than 4,500 people braved the weather to attend the annual opening of the Tiki Bar on Solomons Island.
The next day, on a much warmer Saturday evening, at least 8,000 people again descended on the little hamlet at the southern end of Calvert County for more celebration, according to police figures.
"We had terrible weather, but the people came anyway. We were just dumbfounded," said Kathy Taylor, co-owner of the Tiki Bar, which opens every April and closes in October.
The Tiki Bar opening is now a 23-year-old tradition that started as a small affair attended mostly by locals but has since evolved into a harbinger of summer for the entire Washington region. Last weekend, DC-101, the Washington alternative rock radio station, sponsored the event, and people from across the area came to walk the streets and taste the bar's famous mai tais.
The crowds were largely peaceful, according to law enforcement authorities. The Calvert County sheriff's office and the Maryland State Police made 13 arrests over the weekend in Solomons on misdemeanor charges that ranged from assaulting a police officer to destruction of property. Police in Calvert and St. Mary's also made more than 20 arrests for drinking and driving.
Overall, the Tiki Bar opening "caused minimal problems," said Calvert sheriff's Lt. Sheila Welling.
One of those arrested was James P. Cloud, 36, of Lusby, who was charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct.
Cloud, who has a long criminal record, was included in a Southern Maryland Extra article in January about judges shortening criminals' sentences around the holidays.
On Friday night, Cloud was forcefully carried out of Catamarans, a Solomons bar a few blocks from the Tiki Bar, by bouncers and deputies after he refused to leave when asked to by management, police said.
Cloud will go before District Court Judge Stephen L. Clagett on June 3. Cloud did not return a phone call seeking comment.
More than 50 Calvert sheriff's deputies and state troopers patrolled Solomons last weekend and defused most potentially violent incidents before they started.
In one instance, four deputies quieted an increasingly loud and raucous group near the Tiki Bar's entrance simply by walking past them. Sgt. Ricky Thomas, the commander of the department's special operations team, even stopped to talk to a few of the party-goers before moving on.
"Sometimes, just seeing our uniform cools people down," Thomas said.