The money raised at the annual Crab Festival in Bay St. Louis goes to help Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church. Organizers say record breaking crowds made this year's event a success, but they also say none of it would be possible without the help of volunteers.
The ladies who worked the baked goods booth are considered by some members of their church to be the backbone of the Crab Festival in Bay St. Louis. For the ladies, volunteering hasn't always been a piece of cake. Over the past 18 years they've often worked in the rain.
"When we were standing on the grass there would be water on it and sometime water up to our ankles," volunteer Flores Duffie said. "It was a lot of fun but it was a lot of hard work."
About 300 dedicated volunteers cooked, served drinks, sold T-shirts and did whatever they could to raise money for Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church. Volunteers say working up a sweat now could help them stay cool later. This year the money raised will go toward replacing the church's broken air conditioners.
"It's a big event for our church, and it's a big event for all our church workers because it's a time to fellowship and a time to be together and sweat together once a year," Chairperson Pam Metzler said.
Even though it's designed to benefit the church, over the years the crab festival has become more of a community event. Some of the people who give their time don't even belong to the parish. Organizers say the Crab festival is the only fundraiser that Our Lady of the Gulf has each year.