By Tim Kelly
You can’t keep a good crab down. Or for that matter, dozens of crabs.
Ignoring on-and-off showers which took the event indoors, participants, their owners and more than 100 spectators made the annual Miss Crustacean Pageant a huge success yesterday at the Sports and Civic Center.
As one of the showers subsided and a giant rainbow appeared over the 6th Street beach, the event made its move.
One of the more wacky events cooked up by former OC public relations guru Mark Soifer, the “original beauty pageant for hermit crabs” according to the City’s website, proved worthy of its creator’s legacy.
“We were thinking about this contest all winter,” said Eva Rufo of Collegeville PA, whose entry with younger sister Emma crab-walked off with the coveted Cucumber Rind Cup which goes to the Grand Champion award winner. “As we got closer to (the event date) we got more and more excited,” Eva said.
That excitement resulted in a creative spin on the popular reality show America’s Got Talent, of which the girls are big fans. The assembled fans broke into a huge ovation when emcee Michael Hartman announced the “Crabs Got Talent” entry had taken the top prize.
The girls entered last year and didn’t place, but they sized up the competition, learned from experience and stepped up their game. They made the most of their second shot at glory. The payoff was to receive their trophy from Ocean City’s most famous hermit carb of all, City mascot Martin Z. Mollusk.
The duo crafted an authentic replica Crabs Got Talent set, an homage to their favorite show, complete with a stage, judging stand and crab “talent judges” Simon Crabwell, Heidi Hermit, Mel C (for Crab, of course) and Howie Crabdell.
“The girls put in a lot of work, and as parents, it’s a chance for bonding,” said Patrick Rufo of his and wife Jenna’s involvement. “They’re only going to be little for a short time.”
Emma’s take: “We’re going to display the trophy at home and tell our grandparents about it.”
The event also featured crab races and awards for commercial entries representing Ocean City businesses.
In the latter category, Fisherman’s Cove, a gift shop located at 1300 Boardwalk took first place for its “GLOW” entry based on the hit Netflix series.
Olivia Keminosh, and Nigel Collins, both 15-year-old Ocean City residents who work at the shop, proudly collected the trophy.
“I don’t know,” Olivia said, when asked to explain the theme, which included a wrestling ring and combative “female” hermit crabs. “It’s a popular show about women’s wrestling. We decided we were going to make all the hermit crabs girls, and to have them fighting. That’s pretty much it.”
She gave her questioner a look, as if to say why are you asking?
She has a point. For just like professional wrestling, if you need an explanation about the Miss Crustacean Pageant, or for that matter most of the entries, you probably wouldn’t understand the answer.
In hindsight, all one really needed to do to understand Miss Crustacean was to look around the Sports and Civic Center building and see all the smiles and hear all the laughs.
It’s an Ocean City thing. ‘Nuff said.