Monday, August 22, 2011

2011 Hanover County Firefighters Crab Feast

What do you get when you bring together all-you-can-drink Bud Light, classic rock cover bands and more steamed blue crabs than you can count? A full blown party, that's what.
I happened to win tickets to this crabby party from Sports Radio 910 (and I never win anything) so we simply had to go. Plus, I love picking whole blue crabs more than I can express in words, but the short of it is, the mere act of prying out tiny morsels of sweet crab meat literally involves hours of eating and drinking, and I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday.
On advice from others, we got there just after the gates opened, so it was quiet, but the deal is this. Gates open at 1:30 for hot dogs and beer, and the crabs don't start arriving en masse until 2pm where you can eat yourself silly until 6pm sharp. For $30 per person it's a bargain all-you-can-eat affair with diners scoring table spots (or reserving tents) early. There are no tickets sold at the gate in order to make sure there's enough vittles for everyone, which was a great way to ensure everyone got their fare share of crabs. Since we got there right when this shindig opened, we figured we'd grab a beer, take a seat and then patiently wait, mallets in hand, for piles of steamy crabs to land in our laps.


It didn't take long to discover that every single seat under the two giant tents were "taken" long before the crabs came out. As we walked around hauling a tray filled with beer, water, and multiple cups of vinegar for dipping, we politely asked numerous people at the picnic-style tables if we could join them since there was clearly enough room for our little bottoms to scooch in to share some crabs. Between "Nope" and "you shoulda got here early" along with some noteworthy stink-eye, we were left standing by the sidelines along with many others as the crabs eventually rolled out.
We hit the two stand-up tables outside and got the same room at the Inn. One lady actually leaned over and spread both her elbows out to make sure we got the message. She got two points for rudeness.
Don't get me wrong. I love events like this, and if I didn't win the tickets, I would have bought them. Plus, who doesn't want to support our local firefighters? Bottom line, there were clearly enough crabs for everyone to have six or even a dozen and that was well thought-out. However, you couldn't participate in all the fun without having a spot at a table, which made for tons of crabs + nowhere to eat them = no crabs for you.
Finally, after nearly two hours of watching other people eat crabs, two people gave up their spots at one of the outdoor tables and we scooted in. The crabs themselves were top shelf (meaty and big jimmies) and the cider vinegar dipping sauce mixed with Old Bay was spot on. Pretty soon we were left with this....
After that, the party commenced with live music, dancing and bottomless cups of Bud. It would have been a near perfect crab day with double the number of stand-up tables and at least one more tent with sit-down tables. I figure all the hardworking volunteers that day fully realize this, especially since we were not the only people who couldn't find a seat. Everyone we encountered that day, from the guys serving the crabs to the gents monitoring the beer trucks were super nice, and I do realize this was a fundraising event. So for next year, please add more tables and more people will come and you can make even more cashola for a good cause. I'll even bring my own mallet and picker!

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1 comment:

  1. 2011 was my first time at this event. I had the same problem,no one would let us sit (I even had my own chairs) or stand next to them. I set up our chairs along the fence and the wonderful workers gave us crabs and a box to use as a table. Later I saw friends at the stand up table and they gave us their spot and even later we finally got spots under the tents out of the sun. They really needed more eating space but we had a great time.


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