Martin Z. Mollusk

Martin Z. Mollusk, Ocean City's hermit crab prognosticator, predicts an early summer Saturday. 

OCEAN CITY — Inside the Roy Gillian Welcome Center on Saturday morning, a man waved a flashlight inside a tank that held the city’s hermit crab mascot.

“Ladies and gentleman, look at this, look at this!” said Michael Hartman, the city’s special events director. “Martin Z. Mollusk has seen his shadow. ... Summer is coming a week early.”

A well-timed announcement, as Ocean City announced Saturday it was reopening its beaches for exercise and active recreation, as were neighboring Upper Township and Sea Isle City. Most local shore towns closed their beaches several weeks ago in a bid to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Access to the beaches will be permitted for people engaged in activities such as walking, running, exercising, surfing and fishing, according to a news release from the city. Sunbathing, sitting in chairs, playing group sports, bathing and otherwise congregating will be prohibited.

Martin has been predicting an early summer in America’s Greatest Family Resort for more than four decades, sometimes with the help of a well-placed beam from a flashlight. However, this year, the pandemic forced the usual celebration on the Ninth Street beach to instead be carried on the city’s YouTube channel.

“This year, Martin and Mollie are practicing proper social distance and staying at home so that we can have a nice summer,” Hartman said in the video for Martin Z. Mollusk Day 2020.

Mollie S. Mollusk, who was debuted as Martin’s wife of over 45 years during last year’s event, was not shown on camera.

“Martin and Mollie remain in communication with Ocean City business and community leaders,” Hartman read from what he called an official statement from the crustacean’s publicity team. “Everyone is hard at work preparing to welcome you back to Ocean City, and they look forward to enjoying another summer vacation in American’s Greatest Family Resort.”

Hartman also announced that Addison Bechtold, 7, Lilly Margolis, 8, and Caroline Bickings, 10, were the winners of the 2020 Martin Z. Mollusk Kids Coloring Contest. More than 100 pictures were submitted, he said.

Contact: 609-272-7241

Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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