By MADDY VITALE
Being crabby was definitely a good thing in Ocean City Wednesday evening when crustaceans joined for some races and even a beauty pageant of sorts.
Newly crowned Miss Ocean City Grace Oves took her turn along with Junior Miss Makenna Fleming and Little Miss Arianna DiAntonio in unleashing the crabs for the race heats for the annual crabby competition on the beach at Sixth Street before an enthusiastic crowd.
The fastest crabs competed for the King of Klutz Award.
Forty crabs in total took part in the friendly competition, as their human counterparts cheered them on as they moved somewhat slowly across a board.
Spectators watched from the Boardwalk and on the beach in the zany city-hosted event. Kids cheered on their crabs. Some of the hermit crabs were adorned in brightly colored shells, in the pageant which also promotes responsible ownership of hermit crabs.
But before all of the excitement over the races, came the judging of the hermit crabs in their unique, funny, and rather elaborately themed dioramas.
There was one that caught the eye of the judges, which was the three pageant queens.
It was a Pac-Man display, called “Ocean City Arcade,” courtesy of siblings Isabella, 9, and 11-year-old Nicholas Viola, 11, of Middletown, Del.
For the parents, Tom and Mandie Viola, as well as the kids, it was a monumental moment. They became the winners of the Miss Crustacean Pageant and with that, they received the coveted Cucumber Rind Cup.
It was especially significant because the family came in second for the last few years.
“We are so excited!” Mandie Viola said. “We can’t believe it.”
And quite officially, Nicholas added, “We would like to thank the judges!”
Sienna Galbraithe, 4, of Philadelphia, didn’t seem to care one way or the other that her “Crabitat for Humanity” received Honorable Mention.
Her great aunt, Barbara Capaldi, of Cherry Hill, who has a vacation home in Ocean City, said the family spent about a week putting together the lavish-looking display.
“We even raised it up like our Ocean City house, since the houses need to be raised to prevent flooding,” Capaldi said of the finest of details. “We just had a lot of fun. Sienna is the fourth generation of our family coming to Ocean City and enjoying these events. We do as many of them as we can.”