Kids Bull Run begins 10:30 a.m.
New Orleans Street beach, Dewey
Adult Bull Run begins at 2 p.m.
Revelry at The Starboard all day
Wear a costume, bring a sign, prepare to run.
When Michael McDonnell and a handful of friends embarked on the inaugural Running of the Bull in Dewey Beach 20 years ago, they never envisioned that their revelry would become a destination event for the small town. And yet, so many years later, the Bull Run at the Starboard Restaurant has become the fourth largest holiday weekend for the resort town, and has grown to reflect not only its growing popularity, but the lives of the founders as well.
Back when McDonnell and his friends gathered in 1997 as a pseudo-tribute to Pamplona’s famous bull run (as popularized by Ernest Hemingway), they weren’t thinking about eventually having an event with bands, thousands of Bull Run fans, and even a children’s version of the run. Now, that is precisely what happens each July. The weekend has grown to be a quintessential Dewey Beach experience that has a little something for everyone, big and small.
The Children’s Bull Run in Dewey Beach was a new addition over the last several years as a way for McDonnell and Steve Montgomery, owner of The Starboard, to include their own families in the tradition. “Dewey Beach has become more well-rounded,” Montgomery explains. “Having a children’s bull run is a great way to provide a fun event for children in the theme of our larger Starboard Bull Run weekend.”
The kids are great with their imaginations. They get into the bull run aspect of their event, dodging and running from the bull on the beach. If the adults seem intense, watch a kid pound a juice box and hop on an inflatable bull at 9:30 a.m.. There is also a DJ and a skimboarding bull from Alley Oop, and as the children’s event grows each year, more kids turn out with their veteran parents to partake in some silliness.
As the day progresses, the streets of Dewey are overcome with adults decked out in their Pamplona gear - generally white with red bandanas, but also some downright wacky costumes - as the anticipation mounts for the big run at 2 p.m.
McDonnell, who has not missed a single run, will be on hand again this year for a truly special anniversary run. He says, “Come, be off the wall with us, and blow off some steam, and release your inner child, inner Spaniard or inner Hemingway. Whichever calls to you.”
There is nothing quite like watching jazzed-up runners furiously trying to escape two men in a bull costume. Beachgoers cheer their run across the sand and back to the Starboard. Once the bull makes it there, the matador proudly enters the ring where the real fight to the finish takes place.
Who will win the ultimate prize for the 20th anniversary of the Starboard’s Bull Run? The Matador or The Bull? It’s anyone’s guess, but this year’s event is definitely not to be missed. Lauralea and Tripp Fabulous will be on hand dishing out their stellar vibes, and one never knows who might make an appearance. For more information, go to www.therunningofthebull.com.