NORTH EAST — There were crabs as art; crabs on plates, bowls and pizza; and crabs walking down Main Street Saturday for the annual Crab Crawl to benefit Friends Foundation of the Cecil County Public Libraries.

Bill Dallas, vice chairman of the Friends Foundation, said Crab Crawl #6 exceeded all expectations.

“This is the first year we’ve sold out,” he said of the limited 300 tickets available for the chance to sample crab dishes at the popular North East restaurants including Bella Pizza, Snatcher’s Creekside Grill, Woody’s Crab House, Pier 1 Restaurant, Port House Grill and North East Chocolates.

“A few we sold a couple of times, because organizations would buy tickets and then gave them back.”

Dallas said he was pleasantly surprised that tickets sold out in advance.

In addition to the dining, participants also found deals at numerous merchants, made available just to Crab Crawlers.

New this year were Crabby pins. For a $5 purchase of the colorful pins there were specials at 11 North East merchants — everything from special raffles, free postcards, discounts on purchases and a $3 beer and crab soup combo were on sale.

Also new this year, Cecil County Public Library staff and members of the Friends Foundation were available at several different stops along the Crab Crawl to give information about the work and the value of the library system.

Inside West Street Village was the Crabby Art competition where wooden crab cut outs became everything from a scotch dispenser to a side table, cheese server and more. Those were part of a silent auction with many bids well into triple-digits.

“This is the best crab display we’ve ever had,” Dallas said.

Fans of the Crab Crawl have elevated the event to a football-style tailgate party with crab apparel, hats and accessories. One group of ladies enjoying their crab dish at Pier 1 stood out because of their matching coral colored T-shirts.

“Apparently men don’t like this color,” said Lisa Kennedy. Kennedy, her sister Felicia and their friends and family members were decked out in the shirts purchased in the men’s department at Walmart earlier in the week.

On the front was a simple crab silhouette surrounded by the words “Crab Crawl 2019.” On the back was printed “E.N.D.S” and below it, the explanation: “Elk Neck Drinking Society.”

“It might be a men’s T-shirt, but it’s got glitter all over it now,” Kennedy said.

Calling the crafting skills into play, Debbie Hendrickson said there was a rush Wednesday to get the shirts ready for the Crab Crawl.

“We pulled it all together,” she said. “But we were up late.”

Kennedy said that was in spite of the fact all the ladies had to go to work Thursday.

“We were up way past our bedtimes to pull this off,” she said.

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