For 17 years now I have had the honor of attending The Husband's family crab feast in Astoria, Oregon. Astoria holds a Crab Festival each year on the last weekend of April, which coincides with my father-in-law's birthday so the family celebrates both with a wonderful gathering. Though the crowds have gotten somewhat smaller over the years, an air of festivity still abounds.
The main components of the day haven't changed much over the years. Crabs are ordered through a local seafood shop and we pick them up, one per person, all cooked, cleaned, and ready for eating. Food preparations start by boiling eggs, making dips, preparing the garlic breads, putting out relish trays, and making a big huge green salad with all the trimmings. The table is set including nut crackers and picks for all and we are ready for the big dinner.
Everyone has their own methods for how they eat their crabs. There are the folks who like to pick and eat as they go and then there are the others (the patient ones) who prefer to pick all their crab meat into a nice tidy pile before eating. I, if you hadn't picked up on it already, am of the latter category. I learned after my first year to never leave your bowl of cracked crab unattended because there are those in the first category who have eaten all of their crab and will try to "borrow" some from their neighbors.
Some people come prepared for the meal with their own accessories, such as the wrist bands noted in the photo below which are used to soak up the crab juices that inevitably run down the arms. It is a messy job with crab shells flying and more often then not, a sharp jab from a shell into a finger or two. It's all worth it in the end though.
It is so comforting to have family traditions, no matter how big or small, to look forward to and participate in and I feel so lucky to be a part of this one every year.
A bonus photo taken on the following Sunday morning very early in Seaside, Oregon where the weather was absolutely perfect and the water was like a mirror.