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Sink your claws into local crab feeds

By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal Staff Writer
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Crab feeds are fundraisers you can sink your claws into. The idea is simple — it’s crab season, people like crab, and they’ll spend $35-$50 for an all-you-can-eat opportunity to devour as much shellfish as possible. It’s delicious fundraising at its finest, say local service clubs and organizations looking to cash in on the crustaceans. Take, for example, the Auburn Jeep Club, which held its 49th annual crab feed Saturday. The dinner sold out, as it always does, with more than 600 people digging in at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn. “We don’t advertise, we don’t sell tickets at the door,” said Bob Ward, past president of the Auburn Jeep Club. “We could sell 1,000 tickets, but there’d be nowhere we could hold it.” The Colfax Lions Club also held its annual crab feed Saturday, drawing more than 130 diners. All funds go back into the community by way of Colfax Lions Club causes, including the club’s free community Thanksgiving dinner, said member Ernie Steiner. Any tips for someone about to attend his or her first crab feed? “Don’t wear any clothes that you can’t wash, because they are messy eating. Be prepared to have a good time,” Steiner said. Suckers for seafood and those who enjoy giving back to the community have their pick from a handful of local crab feeds in the upcoming weeks, one of which is the Meadow Vista Area Lions Club’s 36th annual feed, which will be held Feb. 6. David Johnson, chairman of the crab feed, has attended 30 of the 32 crab feeds that have been held since he joined the Lions Club in 1978. “The atmosphere is one big party,” he said. “It is a social event from when the doors open. Everyone who comes is coming to have a good meal and to have fun.” The club ordered 2,300 pounds of crab last year for 600 people. “Knock on wood, we’ve never run out of crab, but we have come pretty low,” Johnson said. Where some crab feeds feature chowder, pasta, shrimp cocktail and other goodies, the Meadow Vista Area Lions Club offers more of a no-nonsense menu of salad, bread and crab. “Some people we call the professionals, because they won’t eat any salad, they won’t eat any bread, they’re just there to eat crab,” Johnson said. Crab feeds tend to have a curious effect on attendees. “There’s all of these well-behaved adults, they sit up straight and have manners, but as soon as there’s a bucket of crab put in front of them, it’s like, ‘Get out of the way,’” Johnson said. Reach Loryll Nicolaisen at lorylln@goldcountrymedia.com. __________ Crab Feeds Host: Newcastle School’s eighth-grade Washington, D.C. group Includes: Dinner, dancing, raffles When: 5-11 p.m. Jan. 30 Where: Blue Goose Packing Shed, 3550 Taylor Road, Loomis Cost: $40 Information: (916) 663-2385 Host: Colfax High School Grad Night Includes: Crab, salad, pasta, dessert, full bar, silent auction, DJ When: 5 p.m. Jan. 30 Where: Sierra Vista Community Center, 55 School St., Colfax Cost: $35 Information: (530) 906-2341 Host: Meadow Vista Area Lions Club Includes: Crab, bread, salad, live music by the Fabulous DeVilles When: 6 p.m. Feb. 6 Where: Placer Building, Gold Country Fairgrounds, 1273 High St., Auburn Cost: $35 Information: (530) 601-2141 Host: The Sierra College Patrons and Sierra College Aquatics Program Includes: Shrimp, crab, salad, pasta, bread, coffee, homemade cookies, no-host bar, silent auction When: 6-10 p.m. Feb. 12 Where: Blue Goose Packing Shed, 3550 Taylor Road, Loomis Cost: $40; tickets must be purchased by Feb. 5 Information: (916) 660-8232