By Melissa Locker
September 03, 2015
Credit: National Hard Crab Festival

If you’re in the mood for a new Labor Day tradition, ditch the hamburgers and hot dogs and head to Maryland for the 68th Annual National Hard Crab Derby.

The festival, which features crab races, a parade, games, contests, and a 10K walk/run, draws crowds from all over the Mid-Atlantic region to Crisfield, Maryland, the self-proclaimed Crab Capital of the World.

To live up to its name, the festival hosts two separate crab competitions: There’s the National Hard Crab Derby, which allows the general public to race crabs, and the main event, where crabs from all 50 states compete in the Governor’s Cup Crab Race.

For the races, crabs are painted with numbers and 50 compete at a time until a winner is crowned, and its owner takes home a trophy and bragging rights. (Losers are presumably turned into crab cakes.)

Another highlight of the festival is a crab cooking contest, where judges choose the most mouthwatering seafood-filled entries in the appetizer, soup or salad, and main dish/crab cakes categories. (Judges will be pleased to note that there’s no dessert category.)

There’s also a Miss Crustacean beauty pageant, whose winner is given the chance to ride on the main float of the annual Hard Crab Parade waving to her crab-loving people.

The town’s 44th annual boat docking competition, which according to the festival’s website is also known as the Watermen's NASCAR event, is also scheduled to take place over the weekend. In the event, landlubbers can watch as working watermen dock their boats in style. The competition is fierce since winners can take home as much as $30,000 in prizes.

Concerts, carnival rides, and even church, round out the fun, which is all topped off with a fireworks display over the marina. The National Hard Crab Derby promises so much fun for the whole family, it’s practically guaranteed that no one will be crabby.

More details, right this way.