Yes, it’s true. February 17 is Champion Crab Races Day. If you read about this online, many of the posts are quite snarky about people gathering to watch hermit crabs race. But it doesn’t seem any hokier to me than the rubber duck races down the Willamette River that happen in Oregon. It used to be part of the Rose Festival, as a way to raise money for charity. People would pay $5.00 and be given the number of their duck. Then a huge truck would park on one of the bridges and dump out thousands of yellow rubber ducks into the water, where they would be carried away by the current. People would run alongside the river yelling “Go number 54!” and other such. It was good fun.
Anyway, the crab races seem more to involve children than adults. The owners bring their hermit crabs in their colorful shells which mark them as individual. They may also be given a number. In groups of about ten by the looks, crabs are held under a plastic container on a round table. The container is lifted, and the crabs scatter. The first across the yellow line near the edge of the table wins and advances to the next race. The prizes are small – up to about a hundred dollars and a ribbon. You can see a video of it here. I’m not quite sure what the ASPCA would have to say about it, but the folks watching the race are certainly having fun.
The National Crab Racing Association has a website, with all the information you could ever want to know. Their headline reads “Welcome to the Unique World of Professional Crab Racing.” The racing can be done at any time of the year and can be used to raise money.
If you are into crabs (we used to buy crab-themed gifts for my Dad – long story) you can find some suggestions here. But whatever you do to celebrate this unique day, do watch the video above. It will make you smile.
Quotes about Crabs
Have you ever watched a crab on the shore crawling backward in search of the Atlantic Ocean, and missing? That’s the way the mind of man operates.–H. L. Mencken
So if anybody wants to get me something, get me 60 crabs – one for each year. I don’t want no diamonds, I don’t want no shoes, I don’t want no party. I want some crabs.–Patti LaBelle
Crabs walk sideways and lobsters walk straight. (lyrics of a Smothers Brothers song. Listen to it here.
You cannot teach a crab to walk straight.–Aristophanes
As the sea-crab swimmeth always against the stream, so doth wit always against wisdom.–Pythagoras
It was quite a challenge to make people eat crab ice cream.–Heston Blumenthal
We spent a lot of time on the beach when I was young so I’d also take pictures of seaweed and crabs.–Graeme Le Saux
Washington is gripped by crab-in-the-bucket syndrome. And there’s no cure in sight. Put a single crab in an uncovered bucket, and it will find a way to climb up and out on its own. Put a dozen crabs in a bucket, and 11 will fight with all their might to pull down the striver who attempts escape.–Michelle Malkin
My father was a preacher in Maryland and we had crab feasts – with corn on the cob, but no beer, being Methodist – outside on the church lawn.–Tori Amos
Think about a hermit crab, okay? And it’s a shell. It’s like, they go from one shell to the next. And that’s what I am. I’m just a hermit crab changin’ shells.–Danny McBride
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