The Cape Region will celebrate the area’s true bluebloods when the Milton Chamber of Commerce hosts the 15th annual Horseshoe Crab Festival.
The festival takes place in downtown Milton and at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge Thursday-Saturday, May 24-26.
In May, horseshoe crabs are a common sight along the coast, as the crabs come ashore to spawn. The species has survived for over 400 million years and is noted for its blue blood. Coinciding with horseshoe crab spawning season is shorebird migration, when hundreds of thousands of birds make their way north to their summer breeding grounds. Horseshoe crab eggs provide a valuable food resource for the birds on their long journey.
The festival will kick off at 6 p.m., Thursday, May 24 with a Kirtan transcendental jam at Milton Theatre. At 7 p.m., there will be a presentation on the diamondback terrapin with Olivia McDonald from Delaware Seashore State Park at the Milton Historical Society.
On Friday, May 25, the Milton Farmers Market will take place at the Dogfish Head brewery and feature live music and Dogfish beer. At 7 p.m., the Milton Historical Society will screen Michael Oates’ documentary “Feast On The Beach.” Finally, at 8 p.m., the Milton Theatre will offer a concert by Beach Boys tribute act Sail On.
Terri Fox, executive director of the Milton chamber, said this is the first time the festival will begin on a Thursday.
The main event begins at 9 a.m., Saturday, May 26, at Milton Memorial Park with nature-themed vendors, food trucks, kids scavenger hunts, kayak rentals and nature craft activities.
Starting at 10 a.m. events will start at Prime Hook with a horseshoe crab touch tank, guided canoe trips and bird walks, face painting, live music and horseshoe crab and bird watching. There will be a shuttle bus moving people between Milford Memorial Park and Prime Hook and all events are free.
Fox said while it’s hard to know how many people attend, since there is no ticketing of admission fee, last year’s festival drew between 2,500 and 3,000 people between the two locations.