Marcia Fox came prepared when she arrived at the first seating of this year’s Hammer & Claws Maryland Blue Crab Fest. The long tables had plenty of wooden mallets for everyone, but Ms. Fox had additional tools in hand. After picking up her tray of six crabs and finding a seat, she approached the meal like a surgeon; she took out a small pair of scissors, a plastic knife and two different types of chop sticks. She was serious.
Ms. Fox was one of the more prepared attendees at Saturday’s event. Her background in catering made it no surprise that she knew the quickest and most effective way to get every morsel of white flaky meat out of the steamed crabs.
While not every one of the attendees were as organized as Ms. Fox, the event itself was run with a similar level of precision and attention to detail. The day was split into three different seatings. The crowds were seamlessly ushered into a long hallway with two rows of running tables. Trays of steamed crabs were always ready for refills, brimming cups of Abita Brewing Company beer were close at hand and juicy plates of corn on the cob were nearby in case someone was looking for a vegetable.
Whether it was the stress-relief that comes with hammering away at your food, or the free-flowing raspberry beer, something magical happened on 11th Avenue. The laid-back attitude inside the venue seemed to have inspired guests to let loose; impromptu flip cup games and synchronized hammering instrumentals were just as common as random outbursts of seated dancing.
“It’s the best: great music, great food, great drinks. You can’t beat it,” first-time attendee Marjorie Brown said as she and her friends alternated between eating and getting their groove on without having to get out of their seat.