Annapolis is known for crab feasts, crab cakes and soon it will be known for a crab derby, which runs its inaugural races at the Annapolis Maritime Museum on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.
The idea for the Annapolis Crab Derby came from Annapolitan Mike Jordan, who is an avid crabber and fisherman. Jordan, who grew up in the area, said he has been trying to figure out how to pass on his passion for the Chesapeake Bay to his children.
"I’ve always volunteered for different charities and events," Jordan said. "I thought well, I’ve done this and I’ve done that. What could I do that hasn’t been done before?"
Jordan's oldest son is five, and he frequently takes him to area parks to play baseball and soccer. He said that other children often run up and ask to play, which led him to wonder if their families could afford sports equipment.
"I came up with the idea Crabs For Kids to raise money and help some of those kids enroll in sports and buy equipment," Jordan said. "If they are not into sports, maybe the creative arts. We could pay for lessons and instrument rental up at Maryland Hall."
Once Jordan came up with the idea, he needed a fundraiser to get his charity off the ground. Jordan said the idea for a crab derby hit while he was out crabbing on Back Creek.
Annapolis is known for crabs and for sailing, and Jordan said the words crabs and races rolled around in his head. When he finally put the two words together, it clicked.
The Annapolis Maritime Museum was more than happy to host, said executive director Jeff Holland.
"It's one more way that we can engage families," Holland said. "It can help connect our kids to all of the wonderful things that are floating around on the Chesapeake Bay."
The races will have four heats, with up to 10 crabs working their way down a custom-built race course. The crabs are sponsored by local businesses and area residents.
Holland said he plans to use the derby to incite a little friendly competition with the Historic Annapolis Foundation.
"I'm going to challenge their executive director to a duel, and we are going to see who is the better historic heritage foundation in town," Holland joked. "I've got spies out picking the liveliest crab as we speak."
The derby winner will have its name or business carved onto a custom plank that will be added to the museum's Planks for the Memories Program. The planks are featured on the main deck and piers at the historic McNasby Oyster Company building.
If people don't want to race a crab, there will also be a crab shell painting contest sponsored by Art Things, live music, a magic show, a crab-picking contest and even human crab crawl races. Admission is $10 per person, but children under 12 get in free.
"Its all about the kids," Jordan said. "It’s kind of like a backyard crab feast; all with a Chesapeake Bay view."