NATIONAL HARBOR – Crabs, beer and watermelon were the highlight of one of the world’s largest crab feasts. On Aug 21, more than 8,000 people arrived to get all the crabs they could eat at the 6th annual Crab and Beer Festival at National Harbor. The festival had over 60,000 crabs, multiple beer tastings, arts […]
NATIONAL HARBOR – Crabs, beer and watermelon were the highlight of one of the world’s largest crab feasts.
On Aug 21, more than 8,000 people arrived to get all the crabs they could eat at the 6th annual Crab and Beer Festival at National Harbor. The festival had over 60,000 crabs, multiple beer tastings, arts and crafts, and live music. The event was split into two sessions, with the first running from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the second from 5-9 p.m.
Trigger Agency, a company specializing in event production, strategic marketing, sponsorship development, advertising and other areas of media promotion, hosts the festival every year. This year the event was moved to the parking lot across the street from the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.
“We were looking to do a summer festival here at National Harbor and we know everyone loves crabs and beer,” Greg Mivens, the event organizer, said. “Not only did we get all the local crab lovers to come out but this show also attracts a lot of people up and down the eastern seaboard. We get a lot of people visiting from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.”
Mivens said people from at least 30 different states visit the festival every year.
“It’s all Maryland Blue Crabs glazed with Old Bay,” Mivens said. “Our theme is ‘crack ‘em and stack ‘em’ because you can eat all of the crabs you want and drink all of the beer you want with no hassle.”
Trigger Agency began the event six years ago as a fundraiser for the Spirit of Hope Foundation.
“Last year we donated $100,000 to the Spirit of Hope foundation,” Mivens said. “It’s a foundation combined with many other different charities and 100 percent of the money donated goes to nonprofits such as the Red Cross. We love it because we can help all kinds of people in need, but it mainly focused on charities that help women and children.”
Michael Harris and Lavern Harris, who are Prince George’s County residents from District Heights, were at the festival for the first time.
“The best part was meeting and talking with people from other states while enjoying the Maryland Blue Crabs,” Michael said. “A young lady from Kansas talked with us about Chuck Brown’s birthday, which is today. We’ve met so many people so far that we have become friends with and that makes it exciting.”
“I enjoyed meeting friends and love being outside in this lovely weather,” Lavern said. “I think it was worth the money and I would definitely come back for the crabs.”
Denise Page, Washington D.C. resident, has attended the festival every year with ten of her co-workers from DC Water and Sewar. Page comes prepared with her own sauce, bowls, towels and apron.
“You come prepared when you are a regular,” Page said. “I come expecting to have a good time, eat crabs and have fun with my friends.
“This year is better than last year. It was better organized and in a better area, especially with the long lines and the amount of space.”
UTZ Quality Foods Inc. was an official sponsor of this year’s event and the company brought six to eight different flavors of chips to give away for free. Donny Rollins, event manager at UTZ Quality Foods Inc., said this year’s UTZ theme is “Celebrate The Crunch.”
“This is a popular area with our UTZ brand,” Rollins said. “We were here last year and we bring all kinds of flavors that the guests can try. We are also doing a photo opportunity where we take the guests’ photo and then put it up on the company’s Facebook page and other social media sites. With that they can get a free shirt.”
Rollins said the crowd interaction and the great weather made the event memorable.
“The UTZ Crab Chip with Old Bay flavoring is a crowd favorite, as well Salt and Vinegar,” Rollins said. “There are some flavors that the crowd hasn’t tried before so this gives them an opportunity to taste other flavors. Plus they go well with crabs and beer.”
Mike Peterson, Granite City Food and Brewery brewing manager, showcased two kinds of beer for the guests to sample while promoting his restaurant located in National Harbor.
Peterson said people were really enjoying the Kolsch beer, which is the restaurant’s summer seasonal beer.
“Kolsch beer is perfect for a nice hot day like this. And we are running out of it because everyone has taken a liking to it,” Peterson said. “We also have “The Duke” if you like a little bitterness and malt with hints of grapefruit in your beer.
“We’ve been meeting a lot of locals who we try to get out to the restaurant. We give them coupons and introduce our beer to the ones who are going to be able to come out again.”
Peterson said promoting the restaurant at the Crab and Beer Festival was a success and hopes the out-of-towners will also remember his company when they come back to visit the National Harbor throughout the year.
Mivens said the people who attend the event normally “can’t get enough” of the crabs and always go back for more.
“We get a lot of good feedback because family and friends plan ahead to come here just for this event,” Mivens said. “Everyone has a blast and it gets crazy. We have some politicians, delegates and a few reality stars have come out to the event. Everyone loves crabs so they all come out to enjoy.”