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“Don’t Touch the Crab!” 37th Annual Garibaldi Crab Races Run in Garibaldi (VIDEO)

“Don’t Touch the Crab!” 37th Annual Garibaldi Crab Races Run in Garibaldi (VIDEO)

Story, Photos & Video by Don Backman

“Don’t touch the crab!”
Contestants lined up on the upper end of the ramp, each with a thoroughbred Dungeness crab in front of them. One crab flipped over on its back, and one of the people running the event gingerly tipped it right side up, carefully dodging the claws.

“Don’t Touch the Crab!”

They were off. The barrier was lifted up out of the way and the six young kids banged on the ramp behind their crabs to encourage them to skitter down and off the end into the holding area. Some kids banged hard on the ramp. Other kids not so much. Some crabs moved, some held still… The crowd shouted encouragement to all of them.

The Garibaldi Crab Races is an annual fund raiser for the Lions Club International Garibaldi Chapter, with the money raised destined to provide eyeglasses, hearing aids, and medical care for children who need it. The Lions Club international website reports that they have helped a half-billion people around the world. They are, “…the largest membership-based service organization in the world. Our 1.4 million members in more than 49,000 clubs are serving in 200 countries and geographic areas. Since 1917, Lions have improved health and well-being, strengthened communities and supported those in need, locally and globally. At Lions Clubs International our motto is “We Serve.” Learn more about who we are and what we do at lionsclubs.org .”

The Garibaldi Crab Races feature fresh Dungeness crabs provided by the Garibaldi commercial fishing fleet and Tillamook Bay Seafoods. Attendees get to purchase crab meals and even participate in the races by buying a ticket and encouraging their crab on to victory.

Tim Hall, member of the Tillamook Lions Club, shared that many of the Tillamook Lions Club members were helping out. Last year, the event brought in more than $22,000 and over 1,200 people attended. JT Thiel, announcer who used his voice over the microphone, shared that last year he volunteered at the last moment to fill in. By the second day last year he knew it was so much fun that he just had to come back and do it again this year. Both men explained that all the funds raised go to the local community, especially for kid’s vision screenings, glasses, and hearing.

As a retired special education teacher, I have seen firsthand the great work of the Lions and how it can change lives. A decent pair of glasses can suddenly mean that a student can finally read, finally be able to do their schoolwork and to learn. A high school girl needed hearing aids. She had never had any. The Lions stepped in. She hadn’t realized how much it would change her life. Her grades shot up, she graduated and made her way to college. This is a great cause and I encourage anyone interested in helping kids to reach out to the Lions. The Tillamook Club has started up again, and both it and the Garibaldi Club could use some more members.

New members have to be invited to join. The best way is to go to a few meetings. Help at Lions activities. Show you are interested in helping out. You can also go to https://www.lionsclubs.org/en/join/membership-form and fill it out. Plus, you can click on the link to find a club near you and use the contact information to reach out to the local contact.

Back at the front of the room, the banging continued, and crabs started skittering down the ramp. One finally toppled into the catch area. The crowd cheered the winner, and cheered all the kids as their crabs finally made it across the finish line.

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