Our Lady of the Gulf Crabfest still going strong

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Handmade crafts, exhilarating rides and of course fresh Gulf Seafood. That's what planners for the 27th annual Our Lady of the Gulf Crabfest say makes their event such a success.

"Each year it gets a little better and better," event organizer Pamela Metzler said. "We have over 125 crafters... we are full to capacity. It's just going to be a lot of fun. It's a family fair and we're expecting a huge crowd this year."

Last year, the event brought crowds in the thousands, despite worries about the oil spill.

This is the only fundraiser for Our Lady of the Gulf Ministries, so organizers say no matter the obstacle, they make each festival count.

"Nothing is store bought. Everything is homemade. It's great for the kids, the rides. I met a couple today, they came from California. They've been coming for 26 years. They fly every year to come here for the Crabfest."

Joe Hasberry and his wife, Joy, say a happy accident helped them discover the Crabfest more than 25 years ago. Since then, it has since become a part of their lives.

"We were on our way from New Orleans to Biloxi and just happened to be going down Highway 90 and we saw this tent, about a ten by ten tent, that says Crabfest. That was 1985 and we've been coming back ever since," Joe Hasberry remembered.

The Hasberrys aren't the only Crabfest veterans on the grounds.

"I grew up here, this is my hometown," Gabriel Sauerwin said. "Been through Katrina. Been through all the pain and hurt that everybody has been through because of the destruction, the losses, and it's just good to see everything being built back and rebuilt because of stuff like this."

The event will continue through Sunday. If you've never been, these regulars say this is the year to go.

"It's very enjoyable. The food is good and everything has just been very nice. It's always nice. We'll be back," Hasberry said.

There is no admission charge to Crabfest 2011. The event is being held on the grounds of Our Lady of the Gulf Church off Beach Boulevard in Bay St. Louis.

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