If you have somehow missed the signs around town, it’s crab feed season! And if you love a fresh, tasty Dungeness, now’s your chance to hone those picking skills. Benicia is crab feed central, and we know how to throw a party. Make that a fundraiser—crab feeds have become synonymous with raising money for local organizations.

Crab feeds have come a long way since I was on the board of the Benicia Stingray swim team in the early 1990’s, and the team’s annual crab feed was a major source of funding for equipment. Back then the crab had to be ordered, picked up in a van and individually cleaned and cracked, and with 130 kids on the team and twice that many parents, plus relatives and friends, it was one heck of a lot of crab to process. It took a small army of volunteers standing taking turns over the large sinks at the Clock Tower with mallets to get it ready for hungry diners.

Justin, owner of Justin’s Crab Company in Fairfield, says that crab feeds tend to be a pretty set menu: all you can eat crab, salad, bread and a pasta dish. Assuming this is the menu, Justin recommends 3 pounds of whole crab per person.

“Benicia, for a community its size, does more to support its non-profits than any other community I work with. I’ve been supplying crab to various Benicia organizations for their fundraisers for over 30 years; the community support never ceases to amaze me.”

Crab feed season runs December through April. This year’s lineup kicks off January 19 with the B.D.E.S. Benicia Holy Ghost Society’s annual event at the B.D.E.S. Hall, followed by the Benicia Lion’s Club 45th annual crab feed at the Vallejo Veterans Memorial Building January 25. The Benicia Public Service Employee Association crab feed, also at the B.D.E.S. Hall, is February 1. The Benicia Middle School and Benicia High Jazz Bands are joining forces for their event, Crab & Jazz, February 7. As we go to print, these four organizations have confirmed dates and venues, and are open to the public.

Many other organizations typically hold crab feeds but details are unconfirmed for 2014: The Benicia Stingrays, Benicia High wrestling team, St. Dominic School and more, so watch for signs around town.

B.D.E.S. Benicia Holy Ghost Committee’s Annual Crab Feed
Saturday, January 18 & March 8, Doors open 6pm, dinner at 7pm
B.D.E.S. Hall, 140 West J Street
Salad, pasta, garlic bread and crab, no host cocktails
$40 per person, Norm Gonsalves, 707.745.1931

Benicia Lion's Club 45th Annual Crab Feed
Saturday, January 25, 6-11:30pm
B.D.E.S. Hall, 140 West J Street
Crab, music, silent auction and raffle
$45 per person, e-clubhouse.org/sites/beniciaca, 707.745.6981

Benicia Public Service Employee Association Crab Feed
Saturday, February 1, 6pm
B.D.E.S. Hall, 140 West J Street
Salad, pasta, garlic bread and crab, raffle, no host cocktails
$40 per person, 707.746.4229