LEONARDTOWN, Md. — On Saturday, June 11, the St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds hosted the 36th Annual St. Mary’s County Crab Festival, an event celebrating crab-based culture in St. Mary’s, presented by the Leonardtown Lions Club.
Attendees of the festival were given the opportunity to taste several crab-based dishes, such as classic steamed crabs, cream of crab soup, crab cakes, soft-shell crab sandwiches, and many others.
Of course, the food was not the only reason to attend the festival.
Visitors had the opportunity to both watch and take part in the festival’s crab picking contest.
In this challenge, the contestants would compete to see who could pick the most meat out of crabs with their bare hands (and some necessary tools). Whoever had the largest quantity of meat removed would be crowned the victor.
In addition to the picking contest, there were many arts and crafts vendors in attendance, where guests could pick up a cool souvenir. Live music from local acts were also there to provide some musical entertainment. There was even a classic car show, where drivers got the chance to show off their slick, old-school rides.
Kids also had something to love at the festival, such as a make-your-own crab or jellyfish art project, digging for critters in a sand pit, or getting a balloon and having their faces painted. One of the attractions was a petting zoo, where children could interact with some cute and cuddly animals. Speaking of animals, this festival was entirely pet-friendly meaning guests were free to bring their dogs if they so desired.
One of the event’s organizers, Billy Fitzgerald, discussed what the event means to him.
“It is a nice time and opportunity to get people together who like eating crab and seafood, it is a boon to Saint Mary’s County,” Fitzgerald said. “It brings many vendors and artists together and we raise a lot of money to help various social causes…We are also hoping to one day turn this crab picking contest into a nationwide event.”
He also talked about what it does for the county, “It provides us with funds for our organization and to provide services to our community, to help people in need. It gives us money to buy new vision screening technology for the blind and others with disabilities, we were actually able to get multiple screenings done at the fairgrounds…We bring in revenue and we help tourism, contributing to the county economy in the process, it is also just a fun event for people to come and have a great time.”
Nearly 100% of the money made at the Crab Festival was donated to numerous Local and International Lions Club Community Service Programs like Leader Dogs and Vision and Hearing Support.
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