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The Colusa Firefighter’s Association Annual Crab Feed went off without a hitch on Saturday night.
The dinner was once again held at the Colusa Fire Department to scale back turnout to a more manageable crowd.
Captain Rick Wilmoth estimates that the dinner has been held for 30 to 35 years and said it was originally a dinner to thank their volunteer firefighters. Once the meal was opened to friends who would “pay for a plate,” the dinner grew in popularity until they were forced to move it to the Colusa County Fairgrounds to accommodate as many as 400 people.
“It got so massive and hard to do,” said Wilmoth, who added that by bringing the event back to the firehouse, it was more manageable with the number of volunteers they had and that there was not as much time transporting the equipment to and from the fairgrounds.
While the City of Colusa Fire Department has other events, the money raised is typically just enough to break even, making the Crab Feed the one big fundraiser for the department to support programs like Santa on Wheels, Smoke Detectors for Seniors, scholarships, and other costs to keep the department running.
The smaller, more intimate venue was still packed to the gills, with over 200 tickets sold.
The 650 pounds of crab caught that morning and shipped to Colusa were all consumed. Additionally, 75 pounds of coleslaw, eight gallons of beans, and 30 to 40 loaves of garlic bread were all needed to feed the throng.
Fire Chief Logan Conley said that the department also began serving beef because the event was so popular that people would come even if they didn’t eat crab.
People from all corners of Colusa came for food, prizes, and dancing. Sheriff Joe Garofalo and many other prominent members of the community were present. People not from Colusa were also excited to come, including Assemblyman James Gallagher, who came to support the firefighters.
Sheryl Johnson, of Tracy, who was visiting her mother GiGi Johnson in Colusa, said she had attended the Crab Feed when it was held at the fairgrounds and made it a point to come while visiting.
“It’s a lot of work,” Johnson said, as she cracked open the crustacean to expose crab meat, “but it’s worth it. It’s delicious.”
Colusa resident Jackie Trotchie is happy that the event is back at the firehouse.
“I like it better here, it is cozier,” she said.
Paul Harmon, Colusa Volunteer Division Chief, said that in addition to serving the food, the firefighters are encouraged at the event to say hello and talk to people in the community.
Wilmoth added that since firemen typically only enter the homes of residents for rescue services, the Crab Feed offered a great opportunity for the residents to come into the firehouse. ■