The Washington Post

Ocean City seeking world record for longest bikini parade

Women participate in a bikini parade in Panama City Beach, Fla. on March 6, 2012. (AP Photo/The News Herald, Andrew Wardlow)

This is not exactly true. There are plenty of revealing details about the march, including Ashley’s intention to make what might sound like a skimpy event a warm family affair.

“This will be a family activity,” he said. “This is not a bikini contest. This is a bikini parade. Families can participate — mothers, daughters, that type of thing. This is a tremendous, top-notch promotional activity.”

The promotion is Ocean City tourism, and the activity — a long procession of women in bikinis — has proven to be an irresistible method to draw numerous attentive eyeballs to tourist locations.

Bikini parades have been held recently in San Diego, Las Vegas, the Cayman Islands, and earlier this month in Panama City, Fla., which set the Guinness Book of World Records with 450 barely-clothed striders.

“If we can’t beat 450, we’ve got a problem,” Ashley said.

In fact, he’s aiming for 2,012 bikini marchers to strut down Ocean City’s coastline. (I don’t need to explain 2012, do I?)

“I think we can do this,” he said.

Ashley’s energy and confidence and lack of desire to participate himself is heartening.

A date for the parade has not been set, though sometime around Labor Day seems like a strong possibility. Proceeds from entry fees would go to charity.

This is not Ashley’s first ingenious scheme for ginning up Ocean City tourism.

“I’ve got horses on the beach,” he said.

Yep, the bikini visionary recently helped pass a measure allowing horses on Ocean City beaches. During hearings, which I covered on this blog, Ashley argued, with evidence from an Environmental Protection Agency report, that horse poop was not technically hazardous.

Bikini-clad marchers: Please watch your step.

Michael Rosenwald is a reporter on the Post's local enterprise team. He writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture.


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