About 500 attend annual tradition at fairgrounds

By Karen Wilkinson

Triplicate staff writer

Though all 550 pounds of Dungeness crab were consumed, each live one had its time onstage as more than 500 people attended the 42nd Annual World Championship Crab Races and Festival.

But with few crab available for the taking this year, next year's menu may include more of the sea's offerings.

andquot;The crab race would still happen, but it would be a seafood festival,andquot; said Crescent City-Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce event coordinator Pilar Stancliff. andquot;Crabbing is such a huge industry, but so is a lot of the other fishing.andquot;

Sunday's crab feed and races drew competitors from Redding, Reno, Nev., and Oregon. Every bit of crab was eaten and those lucky enough to race were released back into the Pacific Ocean, Stancliff said.

andquot;It's a tradition that started a while ago,andquot; she noted.

The races and festival funded through the chamber, sponsors and donations and staffed by volunteers celebrates Crescent City's most profitable seafood industry.

But after this season's less-than-stellar catch and higher price than previous years, Stancliff is reconsidering the event's focus to incorporate all seafood industries.

andquot;This year was harder on the crabbers,andquot; she said. andquot;That's so much a part of our economy here, but when you have full years and you have this year, it makes it hard and the prices go up.andquot;

This year's dinner was tweaked a bit from prior years, as the crab meat was heated, which garnered many compliments, Stancliff said.

andquot;It was fun (and) a great family event,andquot; she said. andquot;People seemed to like the bounce house and other family activities.andquot;

And the entertainment of the races those crab slide fast pulled many people to the stage to capture their child, spouse or friend.

andquot;I liked the kids,andquot; Stancliff said. andquot;Just watching them race the crabs, they got excited.

andquot;And listening to them makes up names for the crabs they got excited.andquot;