Everyone is in place, waiting. Money and honor are on the line. The gate comes up. Bang! They're off!
They are crabs; Chesapeake blue crabs to be specific. A crab race? Really? Yes.
In 1947, the town of Crisfield decided to host a hard crab race outside of their post office as part of a summer Fishing Fair, highlighting their seafood bounty. In Maryland, summer is synonymous with eating blue crabs out on a deck by the water, and Crisfield, located on Eastern Shore between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, is a town that revolves around watermen and fishing culture.
I came across these great clips from WMAR-TV's coverage of the 6th annual crab race via the University of Baltimore's archives, which got me to look into the history of the event a little more.
"These beautiful blue-green crustaceans grow in the Chesapeake Bay and are just as moody as a mule. Sometimes they go and sometimes they don't..." -- The Star Democrat, July 28, 1950.
The best part? The Crab Derby still happens every year, with bleachers full of people cheering the little crustaceans on!
Come in, the stacks are open.
Away from prying eyes, damaging light, and pilfering hands, the most special collections are kept in closed stacks. You need an appointment to view the objects, letters, and books that open a door to the past.