Believe it or not, I am now the proud owner of a turquoise colored t-shirt with these words on the front and back. Saturday afternoon I went to my first Annual Hanover Firefighters' Crab Feast (it was their sixteenth). Tickets for the event, which took place in a park in Mechanicsville, cost $25, and had to be purchased ahead of time. Finding the tickets wasn't the easiest task considering they were sold at limited Mechanicsville locations, but I was so excited at the prospect of all-you-can-eat crabs that I wasn't going to let any of the details ruin my enthusiasm.
The weather was beautiful, the directions were easy to follow, and the festival was in full swing when Davy and I walked through the admission area. There were about 2000 people there, so it was a little overwhelming at first. Tables and chairs were set up under several tents, and there were long tables filled with people enjoying their share of 240 bushels of crabs. I could hardly contain myself.
It seemed that the plastic yellow cups we were given in exchange for our tickets were designated for beer, and we quickly found a Budweiser truck near the entrance. You can imagine our shock when we realized that people were serving themselves - unlimited beer was included in the $25 ticket price! Information about the feast mentioned only "beverages," which I'd assumed were only sodas and water. Even without the beer, I think that all-you-can-consume crabs, hot dogs, Saltines could be considered the bargain of the century.
When we found spots at a long table and had eaten a hot dog each, we started working on a pile of crabs. Firefighters came around occasionally to dump more on the table or clear away the empty shells. The second round was from the top of a bucket, and the crabs were encrusted with a healthy amount of Old Bay Seasoning. I ate for two hours straight and didn't mind standing. Our table never got crowded, and the spots around us were empty after a short amount of time - some people were more dedicated to their Bud Lights than the crabs.
The entire afternoon was surreal and close to perfect. As hard as it was to believe that the feast actually happened, I was left with a hungover feeling unique to eating copious amounts of crabmeat, and spent much of the evening lying on the couch. My lethargy was a very real reminder that the feast actually happened, and that it was extraordinary.