By Tim Kelly
Just because the Ocean City Baby Parade is 110 years old, doesn’t mean the event is behind the times.
The City made that clear recently when it announced that one of the world’s most famous 10-year-olds would be the parade’s Grand Marshall and appear at several events in town.
Skateboarding, surfing and dancing phenom Sky Brown, a Japanese-born citizen of Great Britain, who aims to become that country’s youngest-ever Olympian, is set to lead the Baby Parade. It takes place on the Boardwalk between 6th and 14th Streets, 10:30 a.m. on Thursday August 8th.
Sky is one of the hottest celebrities on the planet, despite her youth. Her surfing, skating and dancing videos and social media activities have been viewed more than 50 million times, according to a BBC News website article.
She began skating at age 3, and has been improving exponentially ever since. She was selected to the Great Britain skateboarding team which is currently preparing for the 2022 Tokyo Olympics, and she’s already the youngest athlete to ever sign a contract with Nike.
Sky’s Instagram account alone has more than 360,000 followers, OC Director of Community Services Michael Allegretto said in a memo to City Council.
Her surging celebrity reached even greater heights earlier this year when she won, along with her partner JT Church, the first youth edition of the hit reality show Dancing With the Stars.
“Sky Brown is a great role model for kids and is a perfect selection,” to lead the Baby Parade and appear at the Ocean City Skatepark, said Willie Fannon, who works for the City’s Recreation Department and has organized numerous surfing and skating events.
“If you talk to young kids at the Skatepark, they know who Sky Brown is,” said Fannon.
As one might imagine from her accomplishments, Sky is not lacking in confidence.
“I feel like it doesn’t matter how old you are,” Sky told the BBC. “I’m tiny and I’m going to be in this huge competition (the Olympics). You can do anything no matter what age you are.”
She has also been inspiring more girls to get into skating and surfing.
“Girls can do anything boys can do,” she said in the interview. “Why should boys have all the fun?”
Skateboarding will be in the Olympics for the first time at Tokyo, and if Sky qualifies, she will be 12 years old when the competition takes place. That would make her the youngest British athlete to ever compete in the Olympics. And with the Games taking place in her native country of Japan, Sky is sure to garner plenty of conventional media attention.
In addition to her Grand Marshall duties at the parade, she will do a skating demonstration at the OC Skatepark and a pair of Meet and Greet sessions.
“Sky will be posting on her social media during the events, to promote Ocean City to visitors,” Allegretto said in his memo to Council. “This is a great marketing opportunity to attract new families to our town. (Sky’s social media posts) have better reach and frequency than a TV ad”.
“It’s great to see the City going after the perfect demographic target to connect with skaters and surfers,” said Fannon. “Sky is a great surfer and a great skater and she’s well-known in those communities.
“She’s the real deal,” Fannon said. “It’s very exciting Sky will be coming to Ocean City.”