Except for last year, when we had a hurricane and the facility was shut down by the government, we've been holding the Crabfest for 32 consecutive years," ASHI member J.D. Grewel explained.
"This year, we were able to continue the tradition. Danny Patkus' father, Matt Patkus, who was a charter ASHI member, initiated the event in 1980. Phil Monahon joined us at one of the earlier events. At first, Matt steamed the crabs by himself. John Cox contributed clam chowder for about 8 years until he died."
J.D. said he volunteered to help steam the crabs after three years of watching Matt do all the work. "I've been grilling on Weber grills for 60 years, so I decided to add meat, starting with baby-back ribs with my custom sauce about 20 years ago, added beef tenderloin about 12 years later and added chicken for the first time this year.
"Danny and I arrived at the site about 10 a.m. after picking up the crabs, ice and 1/4 keg of beer. The back of the pickup truck was loaded with the gear and the meat ready to roll. About 70 people attended. Many brought potluck items that did not require refrigeration to share with all and they finished off four bushels of crabs."
He said the event costs about $1,800 total and is a chapter member benefit. "Having the family members participate allows watching everyone's children grow up. My three kids all learned how to open crabs by the time they were five, and it is an acquired art."
J.D. currently serves on the Board of Directors, but remains active in his chapter. He concluded, "Sorry to be so long-winded, but it has a history."
Current ASHI Director Bob Sisson and past ASHI Director Jim Rooney contributed photographs of this year's event.
South Carolina Conducts Peer Review
ASHI President-elect Bill Jacques, third from the left, reported that his chapter completed a peer-review for the following ASHI members, left to right: Pat Turner, Frank Turner, Bill Jacques, Wayne Richard, Ronald Cooley, Mike McEwan, Angus McPhaul, James Cumbee, Jim Sofet, Skip Halladay, Bobby Rowell