BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Organizers say Crab Fest in Bay St. Louis is still going strong, and it's continuing to draw larger crowds each year even 30 years after it started. On Friday, thousands of people at Our Lady of the Catholic Church enjoyed the rides, the music and of course, the food.
Crab Fest has been around for 30 years. Some people say in the last decade, the event has really taken off with more vendors, more food and a lot more people.
"Over the last 10 years, it's just gotten bigger and bigger every year," Lester Bush said.
"A lot of people come here for vacation around this time," said Mary Bush. "A lot of family get-togethers and they all come over here to enjoy everything that's going on."
"Mainly because it was something for my whole family to do, I have my mother here. I have my wife and my daughter. My daughter, my wife and I can go on the rides, and my mother can take a look at the arts and crafts. Then we can all eat together," said Dorsey West, of Gautier
Eating is the big draw to Crab Fest with 6,000 pounds of crabs and 2,800 pounds of shrimp. Volunteers say they used to boil the seafood in seasoned water but changed their technique to better feed the masses. Now, they boil plain water then soak it for a few minutes in cooler seasoned water, which they say makes preparation time faster without sacrificing the taste.
"Everybody tells me they're the best they've ever eaten," said Kevin Haas, festival Food Director. "I just talked to a guy from Texas who came down here last year, and he came back this year just to eat our shrimp and crab."
Some people say the bigger crowd is due to better promotion.
"It's advertised a lot better. I mean throughout the Coast, Facebook," said Trisha Skinner.
"We were staying near the park over here, and we saw it advertised and had the granddaughters here. So let's go have fun," said Will Labored, of Louisiana.
"We heard about it yesterday on the radio, and we were just looking for something to do this morning. I got hungry, so we decided to come over and eat some crabs," Danny Parker said.
The festival continues on Saturday and Sunday.
Organizers said changing their cooking technique reduced their expense for buying seasoning from $7,000 to $2,500, and they said they can get the food orders out sooner.