By Kip Tabb | Outer Banks Voice on September 26, 2019
Saturday Sept. 24 was Outer Banks perfection. Not a cloud in the sky, a light breeze beneath the shade of the towering pines on the north lawn of the Cotton Gin, great music — and all the crab you can eat.
That is what CrabDaddy is about.
There was, of course, more to it. In addition to the all-you-can-eat crab and some fantastic eastern North Carolina barbecue, local breweries such as the Outer Banks Brewing Station, Lost Colony Brewery and Weeping Radish were on hand. Any event taking place at the Cotton Gin is a family friendly happening…hayrides, games for kids and a safe environment where if youngsters want to just wander around, they can do so.
There were also the CrabDaddy Olympics including Wine Barrel Rolling and the signature competition, Grape Stomping. Two people get in a half wine barrel filled with muscadine grapes and proceed to mush the grapes between their toes as juice flows out of the spigot in the barrel an urn.
For those who have never done this before and are planning on competing next year—a hint. The speed of stomping seems more important than the scientific placement of toes.
The music this year may have been the best we’ve heard yet at the annual event. Some of the members of Everything, the band that brought “Hooch” to the world, have gotten together again and are now Almost Everything . They headlined. Great stuff.
The fusion sounds of Roots of a Rebellion from Nashville were perfect for the day as well. And Twen with their complex harmonies got things going early on.
For all the fun of the day, what CrabDaddy really is, is a celebration of the harvest. The harvest of fresh crab or picking the grapes off the vine at Sanctuary Vineyards just before Dorian struck.
According to John Wright, manager of Sanctuary Vineyards, the work got done, but it was difficult.
“The hurricane, it presented a challenge,” he said. “We picked all but one acre prior to the storm, and put our staff through a grueling schedule to get it all done. The grapes were all quite ripe due to the hot July, August growing season, so the wines will be of above average to high quality, but they made us work for it during harvest.”
And the crab from I Got Your Crabs down in Kitty Hawk? Plenty of those.
“The local fishermen had a good week leading up to the event to set crab pots for a great catch,” he said.
Making CrabDaddy what he hoped it would be.
“It was a success for us,” Wright said. “We had at least 750 attend, the weather was wonderful, and our wine olympics had everyone cheering on the barrel roll and grape stomp competitions.”
Next up for Sanctuary Vineyards is the Big Curri-Shuck, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. All you can eat oysters, crab, eastern North Carolina Barbecue, music and a great time.