OCEAN CITY — Ocean City is celebrating the start of the season with the 24th Annual Springfest, a four-day festival that got underway yesterday and runs through May 4, featuring over 250 vendors selling arts, crafts, food and beverages.

A variety of live entertainment on two stages provides continuous music all day long with anchoring headline acts. Springfest is located in the Inlet Lot at the south end of Ocean City’s famous Boardwalk. Springfest is fun for people of all ages and admission to the four-day event is free, including all entertainment, with the exception of the headline acts.

Performing to a sold-out audience, one of country music’s legendary recording artists, Merle Haggard will make an appearance Friday night in Springfest’s Entertainment Pavilion. Haggard has scored no less than 39 number one country hits; won various Grammy, CMA and ACM awards; became the only California-born artist in the Country Music Hall of Fame and has been the only country performer ever featured on the cover of the jazz bible Downbeat.

On Saturday night, rock sensation Loverboy will perform with special guest The Reagan Years. For more than 30 years, Loverboy has been “Working for the Weekend” and delighting audiences around the world. With their trademark red leather pants, bandannas, big rock sound and high-energy live shows, Loverboy has sold more than 10 million albums, earning four multi-platinum plaques, including the four-million-selling Get Lucky. In the 1980s, they were MTV darlings with videos for hits like “Lovin’ Every Minute of It,” “Hot Girls in Love,” and “Turn Me Loose.”Throughout the years, theband has maintained a steady road presence, releasing a greatest hits compilation, “Loverboy-Classics,” in 1993, which went gold. Now, Loverboy is back with a flurry of new activity, including performing on Saturday, May 3, at Springfest. Tickets are $20 to $45 and can be purchased by calling 1-800-626-2326 or on site at the festival’s ticket booth.

Free entertainment planned for Friday includes the Jimmy Charles Band at 6:30 under the outdoor pavilion and Randy Lee Ashcraft and the Saltwater Cowboys at 4 p.m. inside. On Saturday, look for The Groove Train at 5:30 p.m. outsiden and Jimi Smooth & HitTime at 2 p.m. inside the tent and The Patty Reese Band at 4 p.m. to follow.

On Sunday, the live music continues beginning at 10 a.m. and wrapped up with Robert Eric’s Tribute to The Piano Man outside at 4:30 p.m. and the Delmarva Big Band in the tent at 3:30 p.m.

Since parking in the downtown area is limited, the Town of Ocean City will offer shuttle buses to and from the West Ocean City Park and Ride on Route 50 at 6 a.m. throughout the event.

When the Ocean City Park and Ride service is not available, Shore Transit will provide service to and from the Park and Ride and to and from the South End Transit Station. For more information about the West Ocean City Park and Ride service, call the Ocean City Transportation Department at 410-723-1606.

Springfest visitors should also bring their appetite. The vendor list includes 30 food vendors serving a variety of delicious food, from famous Eastern Shore delicacies to a wide assortment of ethnic food.