www.tidewaterreview.com/entertainment/va-tr-a-pinch-of-crab-carnival-history-20131001,0,1313018.story

tidewaterreview.com

A pinch of West Point Crab Carnival History

By Amy Jo Martin, amartin@tidewaterreview.com

6:18 PM EDT, October 5, 2013

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WEST POINT – The Town of West Point was all abuzz about the Crab Carnival this past weekend.

The 31st Annual Crab Carnival, which was held on Friday, October 4 through Saturday, October 5, is an popular town festival with a rich history rooted in the community.

Centennial Celebration

In September of 1970, the town of West Point celebrated its 100th anniversary and held a Centennial Celebration to commemorate the event.

Residents flocked to the celebration dressed in costume and took pride in the town’s history.

Not only did they crown resident Barton Trevillia Centennial Queen and hold a Centennial Ball, the town also buried a time capsule (to be opened in 2070).

The steel capsule enclosed 75-100 historical items and pictures from families and organizations and was buried beneath the flagpole of the current West Point High School.

“Great as the changes of the past century have been…they will be slight in comparison to those that are ahead,” said Mayor W.T. Robinson at the time of the capsule burial.

Founder’s Day

On September 11, 1981, the town of West Point hosted its first Founder’s Day.  The event evolved from the 1970 Centennial Celebration.

“During the Centennial, you really had a feeling every body in town was working together,” said Founder’s Day chairman Patricia Hilton.

The Founder’s Day festivities included a five-mile run, local craftsmen, parade, arts and crafts, and contests judged by local artist Mary M. Sikes and a Founder’s Day dance, sponsored by the Junior Woman’s Club of West Point.

As recorded in the September 9, 1981 edition of the Tidewater Review, Founder’s Day marked West Point’s 111th year and “let the local people know that merchants in West Point don’t have to go out of town to do their shopping,” according to Hilton.

“Many are surprised to see how talented their neighbors are.”

Crab Carnival begins

On April 20, 1983, the Tidewater Review reported that David L. Shaffer, committee chairman, announced that the first annual Crab Carnival would take place on September 30-October 1 of that year.

“The name of the event has been changed to reflect its expanded nature.  Plans call for the two-day event to [emphasize] on crab prepared in many ways,” he said.

The event featured an expanded parade and arts and craft show, bake sale, cakewalk, Crab Walk Five-Miler and a logging competition.

“We believe that the West Point Crab Carnival can rival the nearest oyster festival [and] we hope to make the event one that everyone can be proud of and in which more and more people will want to participate,” said Shaffer.

The Crab Carnival’s first Committee included: David Alga, Anita Burgess, Pat Carlton, J.P. Causey Jr., Carol Fox, Rev. Charles Gill, Burke Johnson, Josh Lawson, Steve Ogg and Bill Sullivan.

The aftermath

After the festival, residents of West Point raved and expressed their satisfaction with the Crab Carnival, marking it as one of the most successful and endeared festivals in town history.

 “I wish to congratulate those persons that brought to birth the first annual West Point Crab Carnival.  The many hours that were spent in planning, scheduling and praying, brought forth a wonderful day for our community,” wrote Sheriff James B. Wolford on October 5, 1983.

“It is a very good and pleasing feeling to see people working together towards one common goal.”

“Even the weather cooperated.”

The future

Since its birth, the Crab Carnival has drawn thousands of visitors and residents from many different communities and has raised awareness of the town and all it has to offer.

Although the Crab Carnival celebrated its 31st anniversary, it still has many years left to excite both the young and old.

Martin can be reached by phone at 804-885-0040.