30th annual Crab Fest starts Friday at OLG in the Bay
By Geoff Belcher
Jul 1, 2014, 20:28
Echo file photos Our Lady of the Gulf Church in Bay St. Louis will host the 30th annual Crab Festival this Independence Day weekend, July 4-6. Organizers say the annual event draws thousands of visitors to Hancock County, with some coming from as far away as California.
Thousands of visitors are expected to celebrate "Claws-Dependence Day Weekend" in Bay St. Louis for the 30th annual Our Lady of the Gulf Crab Festival.
The event is scheduled to take place at the Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church fairgrounds in Bay St. Louis.
"It's amazing that it's been 30 years and we're still going strong," Pam Metzler, former long-time Hancock County circuit clerk and one of the festival's organizers, said yesterday. "And it's still one of the best festivals on the Coast. It still brings people from all over the country – every year, we have people here from California."
Metzler has helped organize the event for the past 30 years. This is her 16th year as chairwoman.
Metzler said that the festival is OLG's only fund raiser for the year, but the extraordinary thing is that it involves the entire community, not just parishioners.
"It's a community thing, not just the church," she said. "What's so great about the Crab Fest, ... we have people from all walks of life work the Crab Fest as volunteers.
"We have a couple of hundred volunteers, with people pulling shifts – it takes that much to run it.
"Some of the families that volunteer have been doing it for years. A lot of us here, our children grew up in it and now they're working here – It's a family fest."
Festival hours are 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. Food vendors will begin serving at noon.
Crab specialties are a highlight at the festival with stuffed crab, crab and shrimp biscuits, crab stuffed potatoes, boiled crabs, fried crab claws, and crabby patties. Other seafood dishes include boiled shrimp, crawfish etoufee, gumbo, cold shrimp pasta salad and poboys. New Orleans style food such as red beans and rice, jambalaya, and pulled pork will be served. Hot dogs and hamburgers will also be available.
"All the food is made by the parishioners ," Metzler said. "Nothing's brought in, we make everything."
Live music is scheduled each day.
The line-up is as follows:
• Friday, July 4, Hog Wild Productions will perform from 2-6 p.m. Headliners The Chee Weez will perform from 8-11 p.m
• Saturday, July 5 – Pat Murphy & the Jumpin' Jukes will perform from 2-6 p.m. The Bucktown Allstars will take the stage from 8-11 p.m.
• Sunday, July 6 – Rose Grisham Band will take the stage from 1-5 p.m.
Arts and crafts vendors will be on site and there will be carnival rides for the whole family. There will also be $15,000 draw down and raffles for $1,000.
On Saturday, there will be a 5K run at 8 a.m.; and a 1k Fun Run at 9 a.m. register for those at active.com.
For more information call 467-6509.