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 seen as the Festival of San Fermin. Two individuals were squished into a bull costume; they led the crowd over the highway and through the dunes.
The Starboard in Dewey hosted its 16th annual Running of the Bull event on July 14th. The event coincided with Pamplona, Spain’s Festival of San Fermin.
“People weren’t really wearing traditional Spanish clothing,” said event participant Kim Sheppard.
“It was more like red and black bikinis, red bandanas, striped board shorts, and lots of fake mustaches and wigs,” she added.
Sheppard, a Philadelphia native who spends her summers working in Dewey Beach attended the event with some friends. They each wore black shorts with red swimsuit tops and matching headbands – in an attempt to stay cool on the 95 degree day.
The two individuals wearing the Starboard’s bull costume were seen throughout the day shedding their bull head to take drinks of water, beer, and mixed drinks – most likely in an attempt to cool off or get tipsy.
The Starboard offered drink specials to the several hundred participants. Local businesses along Route 1 and throughout Dewey beach offered lunch and dinner specials, too. The Dewey Business Partnership and Alley Oop Skim hosted the first-ever Running of the Bull Kids’ Party on the beach at New Orleans Street during the afternoon so children could participate in the typically, adult-only event.
The festivities were meant to mimic those of the San Fermin festival in which a running of the bulls takes place. In 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.
“I saw a mermaid, a few sharks, some salsa dancers, and a few lifeguards, too. There were lots of costumes. The bull costume was the best,” said Sheppard.
Those inside of the bull costume run for about 15 minutes before stopping on the beach. The bull, with the rest of the crowd following, then jogs back the Starboard to partake in a party.
The Starboard staff plans to hold another Running of the Bulls next year. They even have a countdown for the 16th annual event on their website.
“I hope I can make it back next year,” said Sheppard.
“I’ll have to figure out what I’m wearing first, though.”
For more information about the Running of the Bulls, visit the Starboard on the web. Photos from the event can be seen on the Starboard’s Facebook Page.
Photos from the Starboard on Facebook.