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Trading Balloons For Crabs

July 18, 2003

Delaware: The skies over Milton are a great place for snow geese. But for Doc Wagner, who is as persistent as they come, the skies proved too fluky for his beloved hot air balloons. He threw in the towel this year on the annual Hot Air Balloon Festival. People around Milton wondered what might come along to take its place.

What would be a more natural fit for Milton – with its shipbuilding heritage? Now the answer has come. Bring on those ancient mariners that have been navigating the sea bottom of Delaware Bay since before the days of the dinosaurs.

Shelley Grabel and Brenda Sims working with the Ecological Research & Development Group enlivened a recent Milton Town Council meeting by announcing that they are in the early stages of planning a Horseshoe Crab Festival. Not that hearing Sam Calagione and Milton’s commissioners talk about the biological oxygen demand of beer brewing water isn’t enlivening. But the thought of a Horseshoe Crab Festival in Milton does have the hamlet at the head of the Broadkill buzzing. The first festival is planned for June, 2004 to coincide with the annual arrival of the crustaceans.

The Horseshoe Crab Festival will celebrate a creature that demonstrates the durability of humility. They may not be as colorful as hot air balloons, but they will probably prove more reliable as their million-plus years of existence show.

The possibilities are endless and it’s not too early to begin considering the best ways to celebrate this most noble of God’s creations.

At the very least, all the denizens of Delaware’s Cape Region will be expecting the masters at Milton’s Dogfish Head brewery to concoct a suitable celebratory beverage such as Horseshoe Crab Ale to add extra sizzle to the festival. Cape Gazette, Letters to the Editor