Ocean City sees more than 250 arrests after H2Oi car show comes to town



Police search and tow away an illegally modified vehicle. This is just one of the many violations committed by drivers during the event.

Ben Sersen, REPORTER

   The H20 international car show originated in Connecticut in 2000, It came to Maryland in 2011 and the unofficial car show has become problematic for Ocean City Police ever since.

      What has grown to be a large event was not always a very public event, promoter Jay Shoup said in a 2011 article that the (now international) car show “started as a barbecue in his backyard that showed about 200 vehicles and grew “exponentially” since.”

      In 2010, the event pulled 1,300 registered vehicles and over 6,000 attendees according to the promoter. Shoup claimed in a 2015 article, “ My show has never been in Ocean City, and we probably never will be. Nothing against Ocean City, because this is my home, but we tried to push out PSA’s [Public Service Announcements] from Ocean City police and the town itself.”

      The car show reached new levels of pandemonium in 2020 and Chief Ross Buzzuro said police had a “High degree of control” with 345 vehicles towed, 277 arrests, 1,218 traffic stops, and 2,802 calls to service from officers and citizens.  Junior Brian (Garrett) Heffner spoke on the violence saying “The violence this carshow has caused is starting to affect people” claiming “I think they could find a closed lot to do this in or they could park their cars to see everyone else’s car in typical car show fashion” could be done to reduce the violence caused by the car show.

     Junior at Harford Technical High school Zach Rives stated “I believe the violence coming from the H20i car show has been enough to cancel any future events.” When asked about possible options to reduce the violence due to the car show, The Junior responded “With proper social distancing guidelines and a much more controlled environment, car rallies like this could [continue to] occur in the future.” 

     Zach rives believes that proper social distancing guidelines could be the solution to the overwhelming violence coming from the event, Brian Heffner believes that a more organized and traditional car show setting is the way to turn around the violence and help with the increasing disorganization in the event in the past years due to increasing attendance. 

     Promotor Shoup stated in a 2015 Q&A with The Dispatch reporter Bryan Russo that “if you aren’t here to have a good time and you can’t respect the town and the officials and the authorities then, stay home. We don’t want you.” when asked about the violence and reckless driving caused by his show.