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World’s Largest Crab Feast Hosts World’s Largest Crab

Queen Clawdia will be steamed but not eaten

Donning a 10-legged felt and Styrofoam crab suit, Lucy Mackinnon becomes Rotary Club of Annapolis’ mascot, Clawdia.

Only one crab can be Queen of the World’s Largest Crab Feast, and it might be the one to be steamed first.
    Stifled in a 10-legged felt and Styrofoam crab suit with accompanying long fuzzy pants and sleeves, Lucy Mackinnon risks heat stroke every time she plays the part of Queen Clawdia, as she will for the Rotary Club of Annapolis Crab Feast. To cope with the heat, Mackinnon fills zipper bags with water and alcohol and hangs a battery-powered fan around her neck — inside the suit. But there’s no telling if that will be enough.
    The August crab feast coincides with the year’s highest temperatures. Last year’s August was the hottest on record.
    Why would a Rotarian make such a sacrifice?
    Apparently she can’t resist a crab.
    “I just saw it and immediately wanted to do it,” Mackinnon told me.
    “It” is the costume of the Rotary Club of Annapolis’ new mascot, conceived, dressed and named this year. The walking, but not talking, Queen Clawdia represents the club at public events. With the help of her 14-year-old son, Mackinnon has grown into the part.
    The annual crab feast is the club’s signature event and major fundraiser.
    Billed as the biggest in the world, the crab feast is expected to draw 2,500 people to devour 350 bushels of crabs, 3,400 ears of corn, 100 gallons of crab soup, 1,800 hot dogs, 150 pounds of barbecue and even more gallons of soft drinks and beer. The basic ticket is $65.
    Lots is donated, including, this year, soda and water by Pepsi. Expenses are significant; last year they amounted to $116,000, 60 percent for crabs alone. Despite the climbing expenses, last year raised a total of $62,000 that was shared among 29 Annapolis community-service organizations.
    The Rotary Club is also careful of the impact of its feast. The event is 100 percent recycled in partnership with Annapolis Green, with the crab waste to be processed into compost.
    Heat is not Queen Clawdia’s only worry. Her impersonator, whether Mackinnon or Rotary Chair Sue Weber, gets so thoroughly into the role that outsiders forget there’s a person inside.
    Besides the heat and the disbelief, Mackinnon must also maintain an energetic and upbeat disposition. Kids of all ages run up and hug the crab and people snap photos. It’s a job with a physical component, so it’s a good thing she’s got a tough shell. An exercise rider at Laurel Park Racetrack for 20 years, Mackinnon is an athlete and used to the straining conditions that a human body can endure.
    Queen Clawdia has inspired a following on social media. See what’s she’s up to at #QueenClawdia.

Friday, August 5, 5-8pm: Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, Annapolis, $65 w/discounts; $130 preferred seating, rsvp: 877-333-9667.