May 2, 2013
Merry Martin Z. Mullosk Day!
From what I can understand this is New Jersey’s way to compete with the groundhog day phenomenon (which is almost impossible to explain to 2nd graders who live in San Diego because they don’t really understand seasonal changes). A hermit grab comes out of its shell and if it sees it’s shadow in the sand of Ocean City, NJ then he is predicting the early arrival of summer. Apparently it has been doing this for the last 38 years (this one included), kind of old for a hermit grab if you ask me. I don’t really get why Groundhog’s Day is so overwhelmingly popular but if the nation can get on board with that bizarre holiday then this one shouldn’t be too hard to get behind either.
Here is the official site and a press release
History was made in Ocean City on March 13, 1975. It was a chilly winter’s day, kind of miserable really. But that didn’t stop Martin Z. Mollusk from creeping onto the Ninth Street Beach and creating an Ocean City tradition.
Mayor B. Thomas Waldman and Commissioner Marilyn Moore were present to witness that Martin did, in fact, see his shadow despite considerable fog — and thus summer would come one week early to this family resort. Following his successful outing, Martin conferred with the community leaders through his spiritual advisor and chef, Mark Soifer, the only person who can communicate with the crustacean.
He asked, actually he demanded, that the ceremony be moved to the first Thursday in May.
When the weather was more conducive to his sensitive, tropical upbringing. They readily agreed and a grand, albeit strange, perhaps even a trifle weird event was born, to be forever known as Martin Z. Mollusk Day.
Actually Martin has been quite successful in ensuring an early summer. Over the past 37 years, he has only failed to see his complete shadow once. In 1985, he saw a partial shadow and summer arrived 3½ days early.
Over the years, much pomp and circumstance has been added to this activity. The Ocean City High School Band gets a few hours off from class to play Pomp and Circumstance as Martin is escorted to the beach. This year, his retinue will include Shelley the Mermaid, aka Suzanne Muldowney, the costumed Martin Mollusk and Dr. Frankenstein who will check Martin’s blood pressure to ensure he is healthy enough to make the creep.
Martin is now 102 years old in Hermit Crab years and resides in an assisted living condo at Old Salt on the Boardwalk. He is in good shape for his age, aggravated only by some mild arthritis in his right claw.
Martin will also be accompanied by the City’s environmental character, Trash Buster who will inspect the beach area to make certain it is pristine for the creep. The World’s Only Wind Chimes Band will perform “Brother Can You Spare a Chime,” No. 1 on the Wind Chimes Charts. The fabulous Ocean City Fish will also participate.
Waiting for Martin on the Beach will be Big Mama Llama, yes a real llama, from Bready Farms in Tuckahoe. If she shakes her head, that means Martin has seen his shadow.
Admission to the event is free, and all spectators will be given a shelled replica of a hermit crab as a souvenir of the event. They will also be asked to sing “Some Enchanted Morning,” Martin’s theme song. This psyches him up for the arduous three-foot creep to the Circle of Truth in the sand.
Martin’s creep is set for 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 2nd at the 9th Street Beach, adjacent to the Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace. If beach replenishment pumping is taking place that day at 9th St., the event will be moved to the next available beach. Someone will be standing in front of the Music Pier to direct Martin enthusiasts to the location.
— Mark Soifer, Ocean City public relations director