Scene & Heard: Rotary Club of Annapolis' "67th Annual Crab Feast"
( Photo by Karen Jackson, Special to The Baltimore Sun / August 3, 2012 )
As the gates of the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium opened at 5 p.m., some 2,500 ticket holders poured in for what's known as the world's largest crab feast, the Annapolis Rotary Club's "67th Annual Crab Feast." There, they would dig into around 40,000 crabs, 3,400 ears of corn, 1,800 hot dogs and 150 pounds of barbeque, just for starters. There were hundreds of gallons of beer, soda and water to be imbibed, games to be played, and plenty of schmoozing to do over the next few hours.
At the watermelon booth, folks were greeted by royalty -- Katelyn Kelley, the National Watermelon Queen, Katie Taylor, South Carolina's Watermelon Queen, Terra Tatman, Mar-Del Watermelon Queen, and Christine Chaloupka, Florida's Watermelon Queen -- sashes, tiaras and all.
It all added up to a big tradition for many of the attendees.
"It's the signature event of the year for the club. For many, it's the hit of the summer. They've been coming for decades," Jeff Neufeld, assistant event chair, and next year's chair.
"I love going around and seeing families who've been coming for years; hearing their remarks," said Elaine Shanley, Annapolis Rotary Club president.
John Hammond, Anne Arundel County chief administrative officer, and his wife, Louise Hammond, retired Annapolis city council member, had been bringing their family since 1977.
"You see everybody here that you don't get to see the rest of the year," said John Hammond.
"And you know [the Rotary Club] is going to do good things with the money," said Louise Hammond.
Michael Foundos, Foundos Realty vice president, and Bjorn Verduijn, Flik International general manager, boasted their own Crab Feast tradition -- being the first in line at the gates.
"We arrived at 1:30," said Foundos.
"It's our Christmas. You can have turkey and ham any day of the year. This is better than Christmas," said Verduijn, explaining their enthusiasm for the event.
The annual bash takes almost all of the club members to make it work, with event chair Dave Cordle overseeing it all.
"It's the most wonderful stress you can feel, when you know all the proceeds are going back into the community," he said.
"It's a lot of fun. And you should see the clean-up operation. We clean it all up in roughly 90 minutes. It is amazing to watch Rotarians at work," said Bea Carson, Rotary Club president-elect, with a laugh.
"[I like] just seeing the smiles on everyone's faces," said Neufeld, as he and Cordle scanned the crowd.
-- Sloane Brown