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Long IslandSuffolk

Thousands eat claws for a cause at Mastic Beach crab fest

The Blue Claw Crab Festival in Mastic Beach drew more than 1,000 people Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. The 13th annual fundraiser was organized by the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association, and most of the funds are to go toward maintenance of its marina and security, representatives said. (Credit: James Carbone)

Sherri Lucas looked over the Great South Bay on Sunday, filling herself with as much crab as her stomach could hold.

“Today’s an eating day,” Lucas said, swallowing more of the shellfish. “It’s definitely about the crabs.”

Lucas, 51, of Mastic Beach, was among more than 1,000 people at the Blue Claw Crab Festival in Mastic Beach.

Hicksville resident Patrick Lerovzic, 48, said the sunny late summer weather made it a perfect day for an outing.

“I came out to support the community and spend a little bit of money,” said Lerovzic, eating crab. “You need to fill your belly.”

The annual fundraiser, celebrating its 13th year, was organized by the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association. Most of the proceeds will go toward maintenance of its marina and security, officials said.

Lynne DeBona, the association’s vice president, said she expected a total of 2,000 visitors to attend the festival by the end of the day.

“I enjoy the fact that people come down here and enjoy the waterfront. It’s beautiful,” DeBona said.

Local vendors sold hot links, funnel cakes and drinks to supplement the menu of crab and other seafood. Live music provided the background sounds.

Mastic Beach resident Thomas Moore, 40, said he was attending the festival for the fourth straight year. He said the view of the water and fellowship are the day’s biggest attractions, but so was the food.

“Coming down to the beach to relax and eat, it’s just something to do after church,” Moore said. His plate was full of clams and crabs, but one item was missing: crabcakes.

“I’m going back to get it. I just wanted to eat this first,” Moore said.

The festival started long before Mastic Beach was incorporated as a village in 2010 and will likely be around well after the village dissolves at the end of the year, officials said. Village residents voted 1,922-1,215 in November to dissolve what had been New York’s newest village. As of Dec. 31, the area will return to being an unincorporated part of Brookhaven Town.

Organizers said they sold out of 150 pounds of shrimp and 15 bushels of crabs. When another five bushels were ordered, they were soon gone.

Mastic Beach resident Heather Baker, 32, brought her two children to the festival to play and listen to the local bands.

“I came for the music,” she said, swaying to a set of disco music.

Kyra McLaughlin, 23, said she wanted to get her children out of the home for a while and the festival provided a good environment, as well as the clams she favored.

But Christine Bender, 48, also of Mastic Beach, wasn’t interested in the festival’s namesake crab. She spent just a short time at the event, listening to one song, buying a zeppole and leaving.

“That’s literally the reason I came,” she said of the fried dough dessert.

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