Crab festival taking shape
Written by Jane Stebbins, Pilot staff writer   
November 19, 2013 09:37 pm

The 2014 Southwestern Oregon Crab Festival plans are beginning to take shape.

Organizers of the new event, to be held Jan. 25, is part of a plan to boost the local economy in the off-season. The City of Brookings Tourism and Marketing Committee approved the idea earlier this fall, and the council agreed to allocate $4,000 toward promoting the event.

“The first year, the whole idea to me is to get people down there,” said Robert Grosz, whose concept the event was. “I want to get people vested in this.”

The event will be held at the Port of Brookings Harbor boardwalk and begin in the morning with kid games, including crab races, a crab snare in which participants try to snag particular crabs in a large tank, and perhaps a contest focused on “passing the crab.”

Another contest he is considering involves tagging 25 or so crabs with numbers and releasing them back into the ocean. Fisherfolk who land the tagged crab will be eligible to win prizes.

Grosz is busy lining up food vendors — he hopes to get a cook to barbecue oysters and another frying fish — securing crab fishermen to back their boats up to the docks to put them on display and from which to sell crab; and getting commitments from local microbreweries and vendors.

He’s excited about the involvement of local crabbers.

“The kids have watched ‘Deadliest Catch,’ and they can see a crab pot right there, or here’s a boat right there,” he said. “It’ll be kid-friendly; those are the kind of experiences we want to provide. And it’s piqued the interest of the guys down at the docks, too. They’re getting excited about it.”

The group plans to extend invitations to the stars of the popular television show, as they all live in the Pacific Northwest.

A half-hour after sunset, the adult festivities will begin, featuring a dinner of crab, a potato or pasta, vegetable and salad. Grosz plans to sell a maximum of 250 tickets to the dinner. A beer garden will be on site, and music will be presented.

Tickets are available for $20 pre-event and $25 at the door.

Additionally, Grosz is looking for sponsors for the new event.

A Title Sponsor, for $1,500, would receive six tickets to the dinner, and be featured on window clings, all print, Web and radio marketing and directional signage around the port. Additionally, that sponsor would be recognition at the dinner and would have their business name featured on four large banners throughout the event area.

The “Hammer Sponsor,” at $750, would receive four dinner tickets, their company logo imprinted on wooden crab hammers provided to each dinner guest; and will be featured on window clings, print and Web media and recognized at the dinner.

The $500 Big Daddy Crab Sponsor would receive four dinner tickets, two large banners hung in the event and dinner locations, have their business listed on window clings and local marketing, be featured in most print and Web media and recognized at the dinner.

The fourth sponsor, at $250, would receive two dinner tickets, and would have their business listed on all window clings and local marketing, one large banner in the event or dinner area, featured in most print and Web media and recognized at the dinner.