The Running of the Bull: A Tradition at the Starboard in Dewey
On Saturday, July 14th, 2012 an Elvis impersonator was injured by a bull in Dewey Beach, DE. Moments after waving a red flag inches from the face of a giant bull wearing sneakers, Elvis was run over by the fierce and powerful animal. The rock legend quickly regained his composure, and rose to his feet. He then grabbed the bull by the horns, ripped off its head and poured an ice cold Miller Light down the throat of the person inside of the bull.
A sea of people wearing white, red, and black paraded from the Starboard Restaurant and Bar, down Highway 1, along Houston Street, and then along the sandy beaches in Dewey. All were dressed in clothing that mirrored traditional clothing worn at the Festival of San Fermin. Two individuals were squished into a bull costume; they led the crowd over the highway and through the dunes. If you were there last year then you know first hand what this infamous event is all about. If you’ve never been, your chance to participate – or simply witness the merry spectacle – is this weekend.
The Starboard in Dewey will be hosting the 17th annual Running of the Bull event on Saturday July 13th. The event coincides with Pamplona, Spain’s Festival of San Fermin.
The Running of the Bull has its own website which counts down the days, minutes, and hours until the next race, among other tidbits of information explaining why this event has caught on so well.
The day of the Running of the Bull begins like this, according to the site devoted to the cause, “Dressed in the traditional Pamplona white clothing and red bandanas (and the less traditional bikini tops, kilts, clown wigs, and whatever they feel like), the bull runners meet at the Starboard in the early morning hours (which run from 11 AM to 1:30 PM in Dewey) on the appointed day, where they enjoy beverages, loud music, and general pre-run festivities (like the meeting and greeting of the Bull, but mostly just beverages and loud music).” The run then officially starts just after, at 2PM.
The festivities were meant to mimic those of the San Fermin festival in which a running of the bulls takes place. In Pamploma, Spain, dozens of real bulls are left free to run the streets of the historic city while participants try their hardest to avoid a run-in with the angered animals.
The Dewey Beach Running of the Bulls originated in the spring of 1997 when Michael McDonnell, Mike Howard, and Andrew Brady came up with a plan to storm the Starboard bar in a bull costume rented in Maryland while on their vacation. The costumed Bull Run has occurred every year since. In 2004, the Starboard purchased their own customized bull costume to carry on the shenanigans.
Those inside of the bull costume run for about 10 minutes before stopping on the beach. The bull, with the rest of the crowd following, then walks back to the Starboard for the finale “bullfight” and celebratory party. Although it’s safe to say there will have been much revelry and celebrating, already. Participants can expect drink specials from the Starboard, and additional specials from other bars and restaurants up and down Route 1.
Photo from the Starboard on Facebook.