One of the coolest things about being a hot rod or custom car owner is the ability to hit the open road with your ride to enjoy both local events and the occasional fun-filled road trip. With so many different types of shows spread across the country, it takes careful research and planning to determine which ones are just right for you. You'll find everything from massive events to those that are smaller and tightly focused, to others that are lifestyle-driven. One thing is for sure, a get together like none other in the country evolves each year in Ocean City, Maryland, and is known as Cruisin' Ocean City.

Where else can you arrive to a seaside community of 8,000 residents who open up their 10-mile strip to over 3,000 enthusiastic car owners determined to burn as much high octane fuel as they can for the duration of the weekend? Ocean City isn't a place where you should plan on arriving and parking your butt in a lawn chair, 'cuz this is truly a driving event. It's where horsepower rules and you'll be certain to wear out the soles of your shoes soon after you arrive. Now in its 19th year, it seemed only fitting that it was the very first event stop for the annual AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour led by Jerry Dixey as he began laying down the miles on the magazine's new '52 Chevy Road Tour car. This seaside community rolls out the red carpet for car owners who, in turn, are treated to some of the finest manicured beaches on the right side of the country, including plenty of exciting night life and great restaurants.

Once you have checked into the event your first stop should be to The Inlet, which serves as the epicenter for the weekend's festivities. As you get settled, there's plenty to check out from a diverse manufacturer's row with plenty of new products being showcased. For some old-time fun, there is a vintage boardwalk that stretches for miles and is adjacent to the inlet packed with arcades, the scent of hot popcorn and fried dough, and loads of amusement park rides, making you think you just stepped into a time warp. If you don't mind waking up early, you have a chance to participate in one of three boardwalk cruises that take place on each of the Thursday-through-Saturday mornings, and it's the only opportunity you'll ever have to say you motored down the historic boards. The inlet has a capacity of 1,500 cars which fills up quickly but, thanks to the exciting array of other shows along the strip throughout the weekend, there's always a chance to find a parking spot. When the call to burn more fuel hits, it's time to leave the inlet and head out to the strip to check out many of the other well organized mini-events. Downtown, the Convention Center promises another jam-packed show along with a few surprises inside the building. This year's visitors lined up to have the chance to meet one of Hollywood's most charming actresses, Cindy Williams, and talk with her about her illustrious career. Rock 'n' roll legend Bowzer was also in town for the scorching Saturday evening concert extravaganza featuring his band, the Stingrays, along with Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon and the Dovells. There was also a collector car auction on Saturday showcasing some of the hottest rides around looking for new owners.

Pacing yourself is the key for this event as there is just so much to take in. Once you stopped to grab a bite and refuel your ride, there were plenty of other gatherings to check out at Harley Davidson of Ocean City, Hooters, Phillip's Crab House, and Crab Alley, to mention but a few. Even though the inlet and Convention Center close at 5 p.m. daily, the strip comes alive with the sounds of nasty V-8's snarling from light to light 'til the wee morning hours. Where else would you have the chance to see Rod and Tina Saboury's '63 Corvette packed with a twin turbo, 2,200 horsepower, small block motoring alongside a Flathead-powered Deuce? Only in Ocean City. By the time Sunday rolls around, it's time for the legendary awards program to kick into full gear with many trophies and prizes being awarded. This is an event where over 100,000 visitors stop in so, with next year being the 20th anniversary, it'll be one to sign up for in advance as the show always sells out. You can check what they have planned at www.specialeventpro.com.