Ah, autumn is here – which brings to mind changing leaves, back-to-school sales, and…crab races. Yes, crab races.
Every year on Labor Day weekend, the seaside town of Crisfield, Maryland holds its Annual Hard Crab Derby and Fair. This quaint village of 2,800 on the Chesapeake Bay has a long tradition of catching – and racing – its seafood. The festival is a celebration of the town’s fishing heritage, particularly of the abundant (and delicious!) blue crabs that teem in the bay’s waters.
Here, you can watch a parade on Main Street, a boat docking contest, a crab picking contest, and the crowning of the beautiful Miss Crustacean. But the main attraction of the festival is its namesake “crab derby,” in which hundreds of crabs scramble down a chute to the finish line in a knock-down, drag-out race (okay, so the crabs aren’t even aware of the race). The bets – and the crowd’s enthusiasm – get intense. Afterward, nothing beats finishing off a fresh platter of crabs steamed with Old Bay spice while taking in views of the water at the Olde Crisfield Crab and Steakhouse. If you’re hardy enough, you can top it off with a generous slice of Smith Island cake.
The best way to enjoy the festival is by renting a campsite in nearby Jane’s Island State Park, which boasts 3,100 acres of Eastern Maryland’s prettiest shoreline. When you need a break from the festivities, quiet kayak trails and beach walks await you in the park. So grab some friends, a tent, and a healthy appetite for crab and you’ve got one shell of a Labor Day weekend.
- Nat Geo Expeditions