Running of the Bull


The Origins

All good things have origins.

It should be noted that all mediocre, bad, horrible, and even completely bizarre things have origins as well, but this is the story about a good thing, so let’s just focus on that.

Okay, you got me. It’s also a completely bizarre thing.

Anyway, the point is this: the Dewey Beach Running of the Bull has an origin and this is it, more or less, supposedly, we think…

Like many great ideas, the concept for the annual Dewey Beach Running of the Bull was largely the product of too much beer. While many of the traditions and pageantry that are now associated with the Running have haphazardly evolved over the years, the basic idea- to bring a bit of Pamplona’s Festival of San Fermin to Dewey Beach- was the brainchild of three guys very late one night at the Starboard in the spring of 1997. Michael McDonnell and Mike Howard had been to Spain for the Running of the Bulls (or the encierro, as it’s called in Pamplona) in the summer of 1994. In the spring of 1997, at the opening weekend of the Starboard, they were discussing with beach housemate Andrew Brady the idea of having a red wine and paella party that upcoming July, to celebrate the Festival of San Fermin. One stupid idea led to another, and by the end of the night it was decided that the party would be complete without a Bull Running. Since the likelihood of getting a real bull to the beach seemed slim, they opted to rent a bull costume from Gene’s Costumes in Kensington, MD.

The rest is history. In the first year, about thirty-five people (friends and housemates) braved the Running of the Bull. Because of the public nature of that event, word spread quickly and by the second year about ninety people ran. As of last year, the 19th  running, the number of runners is in the hundreds. In 2004, the Starboard unveiled a new, improved Bull, designed specifically for the event.