Hundreds of carnival goers flooded Main Street for the 36th annual West Point Crab Carnival this past weekend.
Crab lovers from all over Virginia enjoyed food, retail vendors, children’s activities and music from local artists Friday and Saturday.
The smell of crab cakes and kettle corn filled the air down Main Street.
Carnival fun began Friday night with some perennial favorites, including emergency service vehicles on display, the “Tour de Crab” children’s bike races and the firefighter’s parade down Main Street.
Fire/EMS and law enforcement from West Point, King William, King and Queen, New Kent, Virginia Beach and Nagshead, N.C., participated in the parade.
The night ended with a street dance concert at Town Square Park with music from Sweet Justice, followed by a fireworks display that lit up the town.
Carnival goers returned Saturday to browse handmade products from retail vendors and enjoy even more crab-themed fair foods, such as crab cakes, deviled crabs, soft-shell crabs, crab pretzels, she-crab soup, crab nachos, crab bites and more.
Charlottesville resident Bill Murray said he returned for his second Crab Carnival — and the crab cake sandwiches — this year.
“It’s a great event. We love coming down here and being in the town for a day or two,” Murray said.
Local artists and bands played rock, country, bluegrass and folk music at different locations throughout the carnival. Carnival goers gathered around the small stages to relax and enjoy the tunes and beverages.
Children enjoyed their own sections of the carnival including carnival rides, games, art stations and brain challenges at the youth village and Kid’s Zone.
They also had fun learning about fire safety from members of West Point Volunteer Fire Department, who had them spray fire hoses — with help from mom and dad — to win a prize.
The annual Crab Carnival parade rolled down Main Street Saturday afternoon with Grand Marshal and former West Point High School principal Mark Dorsey, Mayor Jim Hudson and members of Town Council leading the way.
Carnival goers lined the sidewalks; children cheered and screamed for prizes and candy from parade participants.
Local law enforcement and Fire/EMS from West Point and the surrounding counties, local churches, Cub and Girl Scouts and marching bands from New Kent, King William, King and Queen and West Point, as well as cheerleading squads joined the parade.
The parade also featured antique and vintage cars, tow trucks and semi-trailer trucks from organizations and companies from the area.
Long-time residents Barbara Jackson and Lucy Thornton Edwards reflected on their years attending Crab Carnival.
Jackson was a student in the last segregated class of the historic Beverly Allen School in West Point, and Edwards was part of the West Point 29 movement (a group of 29 African-American students who made civil rights history by protesting poor school conditions in West Point in 1952).
“We’ve been to our fair share of Crab Carnivals, that’s for sure,” Edwards said. “I’ve only missed a few when I moved out West, but it’s one of my favorite events of the year in town. My sister was actually the grand marshal one year.”
Edwards said she thinks the carnival celebrates crabs as a specialty and West Point’s history.
Jackson said she has been taking her son since he was one.
“He’s now 37 and this is the 36th year, which is crazy to believe,” Jackson said. “It’s a celebration of family and friends, and it’s the best day in town.”
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