OCEAN CITY — For 40 years The Miss Crustacean Hermit Crab Beauty Pageant has attracted hundreds of curvaceous crustaceans and their best friends to the 6th St. Beach in Ocean City. NASCRAB, its sponsoring organization, has never considered relocating to another venue.
“We would never move the Pageant to Las Vegas or any other location,” said Mark Soifer, founder of the pageant and chairman of NASCRAB, the National Association of Crab Activities at the Beach, a powerful, international organization that runs the event. “Don’t believe the rumors you’ve been hearing. We will stay put. Ocean City has the perfect family atmosphere for our family extravaganza. We know where we belong.”
When asked if pageant organizers had been contacted by other major locations, Soifer merely winked and quipped “Are you kidding?”
On Aug. 7, America’s most glamorous Crabettes will once again congregate at 1 p.m. on the 6th St. Beach to vie for the “Coveted Cucumber Rind Cup,” symbol of Crustacean Comeliness. A cucumber represents a year’s supply of groceries for a hermit crab if supplemented with tree bark, pizza crust for fiber and a dash of swamp water.
In addition to the Cucumber Rind Cup, the victor gets to waddle down a flower bedecked runway as adoring throngs sing the Pageant’s theme song, “Here It Comes, Miss Crustacean.” The new Miss Crustacean follows in the footsteps of such legends as Crabunzel, Crabahontis, Crabopatra, Crab Mc Muffin, Taxi Crab, Copacrabana, Crab Salad and Pirates of the Crabibbean.
Miss Crustacean is the world’s showcase for decorated hermit crabs displayed on colorful backdrops. It has been a question on Jeopardy, been named one of the nation’s ten most unusual events by U.S. News and World Report, been translated into Japanese and German and featured on the Spanish World Wide Television Network, in the London Sunday Times, on London TV, in the Wall Street Journal as well as media throughout the United States and the world.
The Pageant is followed by the rollicking Hermit Crab Races with about 150 crabathletes plodding, creeping and clunking over an 8 ft. plywood oval. A bugler sounds the call at the starting gate (a plastic cake dish cover) before each heat. Heat winners compete in the championship run-off. The winner is declared “The King of Klutz,” and receives a plaque that says so from Harry da Horse, aka Ron Mac Closkey.
The world’s record of 6.3 seconds was set 37 years ago by Hermie, who has since departed to that Great Hermit Tree Crab Sandbar in the Sky. His record remains as an inspiration to all crab racers that wish to be inspired. NASCRAB Officials will be on hand to check the Crustaceans for Searoids.
Entry in both events is free. There is no pre registration. Call 609-525-9300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information. A sand sculpting contest will also be held on the 6th St. Beach starting 9 a.m. on Aug. 7. Entry is free. Prizes will be awarded for all age groups.
NOTE: Hermit Crabs are not indigenous to this area and should not be left on the beaches to fend for themselves. They cannot survive the winter outdoors here. Owners who do not wish to keep their crabs after the event should give them to NASCRAB officials who will provide a home. Information on how to care for hermit crabs will be distributed at the contest.