I’ve always loved life’s contradictions. How ironic is it that I left New England with my family more than 30 years ago because one of the things I was tired of was cold, snowy winters and now I find myself anxiously wishing for that first snowfall of winter?
At this time of year, I find myself thinking how ironic it is that two things I’m not particularly fond of – summer’s heat and crabs – are at the heart of one of our biggest events here at the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) in Cape May. On Aug. 4, our annual Craft Beer & Crab Festival rolls around for its seventh year, which means for me a day outdoors here at the Estate with the aroma of crabs in the air. Obviously, I’m in a minority when it comes to the crabs, because this event keeps growing in popularity every year. With good reason because, even if you don’t like crabs (I do like King Crab, but that won’t be on the menu), there’s just so much about this day that makes it a perfect summer day in Cape May.
The grounds surrounding the 1879 Physick House are perfect for events like this. There’s plenty of room for all sorts of activities, with lots of lawn for strolling or relaxing and enjoying the day. For some people, the annual Craft Beer & Crab Festival is their introduction to the Physick Estate and MAC events here in Cape May, which is another reason we do it. We’re a diverse organization and try to offer that euphemistic “something for everyone,” up to and including crabs, so sometimes people don’t realize that MAC is behind that fun time they’re having.
The day’s events also include music…lots of music from local and regional groups that are guaranteed to get your toes tapping. Our friends from local breweries and distilleries will be offering an almost endless menu of beverages, so you’re sure to be trying something new to go with the crabs. It’s nice to see the way these local businesses have gained such popularity and we’re happy to have them as partners. I may stick with the shrimp and leave the crabs for others, but nothing goes better with summer seafood in an outdoor setting than a frosty brew. We’ll have other spirits available, plus even the humble hot dog for those, like me, who just can’t understand the fascination with coaxing bits of crabmeat out of a shell. Plenty more food, too, from roast beef sandwiches to crepes and I’m hoping Rolling Bones has plenty of ice cream cookies sandwiches!
There’s lots of family fun, too, with the return of the popular Give & Take Jugglers whose performers have been a big hit with the little folks and the big folks.
Leaving the best for last is the real reason for this annual event: It raises funds to support MAC’s educational outreach programs. Each year, MAC offers free programs to schools county-wide. Perhaps your kids, or grandkids, have taken a school trip to the Lighthouse or had a classroom visit from one of our museum educators. Proceeds from the Craft Beer & Crab Festival make that possible.
Best of all, this event is “all hands on deck” for MAC staff, and it gives everyone a chance to see what we do best: work together to make sure all of our guests have a good time. You can’t miss us…just look for the bright yellow “event staff” T-shirts.
I’ll be there and I’m saving my crabs for you.
-- Jean Barraclough is manager of publications & website at MAC