As the typical hot, humid days of summer settle in, I’m reminded that it’s almost time for the staff here at the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) to get “crabby.” No, not grumpy, I-hate-the-heat crabby, but literally, as the days count down to our sixth annual Craft Beer & Crab Festival, an all-day event here on the grounds of the Physick Estate.
The festival was the brainchild of former MAC Board President Diane Hutchinson and her son, Graydon, of Gold Coast Productions. The first year, we really didn’t know what to expect. Fifty people? Five thousand people? The numbers landed much closer to the latter, with thousands attending in spite of rainy weather.
We ran out of crabs. Twice. We ran out of beer. Twice. Staff members and volunteers fought the typical “rainy day in Cape May” backed up traffic on the bridge to resupply both food and brews and we finished the day happy, hot, well-fed and tired.
But why do we do things like that? Sure, a trolley tour or a house tour is understandable, since they’re all about history, but crabs? Come to think of it, the same could be said about many of the events that MAC presents throughout the year. Crafts shows, wine trails, Breakfast with the Pirates or Family Fun Days at the Lighthouse all have one thing in common. They keep us going.
Many non-profit organizations rely primarily on grants and other funding sources to meet their payroll and keep the lights on. We don’t do that. As everyone knows, funding is hard to come by in this day and age, and meeting the needs of residents and taxpayers has to come first when government budgets are made. So, as the pool of resources grows shallower, we have taken creative thinking to new levels to come up with ways to keep MAC and its historic contributions to the community alive and well. For instance, one of the direct beneficiaries of the Craft Beer & Crab Festival is MAC’s educational outreach programs. Our museum educators take history on the road and make hundreds of school visits every year, at no cost to the school or its students. Other fundraising events helped the Lighthouse get a much needed coat of paint this spring, so it shines brighter than ever.
Having events like this benefit everyone. You can come and spend the day with your family or friends, enjoying the food and the music. We can look forward to the opening of another school year knowing our educational programs will continue. And by giving your children the chance to experience the history in our own backyard, we all benefit.
So, let’s have fun and get crabby together. No guarantee, however, that if the thermometer soars toward the mid-90s again this year, I might get really crabby. Really.