The 2015 30th Annual Texas Crab Festival Welcomed Record Crowds
As the sun dipped into Galveston Bay on May 10, it set on a record-breaking year for the Texas Crab Festival. An estimated 8,000 visitors, 250 volunteers and 60 generous sponsors were on board to celebrate the festival’s 30th year, drawn by beautiful sunshine, warm gulf winds and the promise of a weekend filled with music, art and crabs. For many, the Crab Fest is like an extended family reunion, with families and friends meeting at the festival year after year. For many others this year was their first. No doubt about it – folks travel from near and far to experience the infamous Texas Crab Festival. This year we had many special visitors to the Peninsula. Some locals from Crystal Beach invited their friends from Hico, Texas; a small town in central Texas with a population nearing 1400 – “Where Everybody is Somebody!” Another couple from the Woodlands found out about the TCF from the internet. This was their first time to visit and stay on the peninsula, and no doubt it won’t be their last. Another couple from our neighbor Oklahoma has come every year for the festival.
And no one ever said advertising doesn’t help business. First-timers from Austin and a group of 7 adults from San Angelo traveled to the festival after seeing highlights on the Food Channel. Two adults from Atlanta saw the sign on Highway 124, so they decided to turn off and come visit for the day. And just when you think those are the “folks from afar”, we were surprised to find out that 11 exchange students from Germany came with the friend they are staying with. And a few from London and Austria, both of which were visiting family in Galveston, decided to ride the ferry and check out the wonder that is the Texas Crab Festival. Our new friends from near and far enjoyed the music and food…and all those crabs! All said they would love to return each year, and we hope they bring their friends with them. But of course, none of it would be possible without the caring and giving locals and lovers of the Peninsula that showed up each day to bring life to the Texas Crab Festival.
It’s wonderful visitors like these, our tireless volunteers and generous sponsors that succeeded in making the 2015 30th Annual Texas Crab Festival its biggest year yet. Crowds turned out in record numbers, packing the grounds for Wayne Toups’s Friday night show. The next morning over 200 people showed up for the Samson Energy Texas Crab Festival 5K-1K Fun Run/Walk. 5K overall winners were Cash Kunkel (men) and Heather Welsch (women). Visitors young and old enjoyed the wide variety of crabby games and contests. Team TWITA won the Washers Tournament; Mike and Cody VanZandt bagged a win in the Bean Bag Toss. William and Haley Comeaux took the 2-Step Contest and little Boomer stormed the Wiener Dog Races, winning for the 2nd year in a row. We had a great turnout for the Crab Gumbo Cook Off this year as well. Teams battled it out for the title, with Krewe La Roux taking the crown. Entry fees supported the Lone Survivor Foundation Crystal Beach Retreat.
All of our sponsors came through in a big way. Ron Hoover Marine greeted guests with an exciting display of the latest boats and RVs as they passed through the Grand Promenade on the way to the festival entrance. Once inside, there was a cool display of stacked-up, tricked-out Jeeps put together by the Crystal Beach Jeepers. In-kind donations included light towers and generators provided by United Rentals and golf carts provided by Golf Car Connection.
This year’s Live Auction featured a Paradise Palapa purchased by Mac and Brenda McDonald, an Easy Lift bought by Johnie and Peggy McDonald and a 30th Celebration Quilt crafted from vintage Crab Festival t-shirts that sold to Burt and Leneda McGinty. Big winners in the prize raffle were: Murrell Lyon – 6-Seater Golf Cart, Jerry Mittendorf – Cruise for Two, and Janet Leigh Davis – $1,000 Gift Card.
Arts & Crafts and Food Vendors did bustling business; surprised by the huge crowds, some had sold out of crab by Saturday night but managed to rally and recoup for the next day. By Sunday festival t-shirts, hats, visors and koozies had completely sold out! The $10 Unlimited Carnival Ride Bracelets on Friday and Sunday were also a big hit.
The Texas Crab Festival is about showing off our unique Gulf Coast style music, art and seafood. It’s about introducing people to our little slice of paradise; to our local beaches and businesses. Realtors and RV Parks had record bookings during this year’s Crab Fest weekend; the Big Store reported record sales; the beaches were crowded, restaurants full. Families and friends old and new came together for a fun festival weekend in beautiful Crystal Beach and, best of all – all of the proceeds from the Crab Fest go to help change lives right here on Bolivar Peninsula. Texas Crab Festival Charities 501(c)(3) provides local residents with grants, scholarships and job training through its “Learn More to Earn More” program. For more information on the program please visit www.TCFCharities.org.
Thank you once again to all of our sponsors, volunteers, vendors and visitors for making our 30th Annual Texas Crab Festival such a smashing success.