NORTH EAST — Randy Grant ate a meager three lobsters Monday night during the 23rd lobster feast at Woody’s Crab House in downtown North East, a big drop from the 11 crustaceans that he consumed during last year’s event.

Grant, a North East-area resident, smiled when asked for an explanation for his significant decline and then commented, “I had a big buffet plate tonight, too.”

That’s right, Grant focused only on eating the seemingly never-ending supply of lobsters last time.

On Monday night, however, he also helped himself to the smorgasbord featuring crab cakes, steamed shrimp, seafood newburg, broiled salmon, beef stroganoff, cole slaw, soups, salad and other dishes.

That’s why he ate only three lobsters – the same number that his 13-year-old son, Aidyn, consumed, giving the teenagers some bragging rights.

But Grant was content, knowing that the annual feast goes well beyond just loading up on lobsters and other food.

“This is definitely a good cause,” Grant said.

The cause to which Grant referred is the Union Hospital Hospice & Palliative Care Program, which provides care to late-stage terminally ill people, as well as support to their families.

Monday night’s lobster feast raised $24,000 for that program, according to Paul Bauernschmidt, director of fund development for Union Hospital in Elkton.

Grant and his family were among the 646 people who had bought tickets for the event and dined at that restaurant Monday night during two back-to-back seatings, each lasting about two hours.

Approximately $1,300 of the money raised came through ticket sales for two 50/50 raffles.

Money also was raised through raffle ticket sales for these three prizes: A $1,500 voucher toward a Cruise Planners cruise liner vacation to a destination of the winner’s choice; a $300 gift certificate for Elkton Car Wash; and four free tickets to next year’s fundraising lobster feast.

The winning tickets were drawn and the winners were announced in the tiki bar section of the restaurant at the end of the second seating, which drew 375 diners. Elkton-area resident Mike Moyer, an agent with Delaware-based Cruise Planners, was present during the drawing.

Bauernschmidt reported that North East-area resident Tammy Newton won the cruise voucher. The car wash certificate went to Dave Vogel, of Elkton, he said. Gary Sutch, whose town of residency was unavailable, won the four tickets for next year’s lobster feast, according to Bauernschmidt.

As is turns out, Newton and Vogel are Union Hospital employees, he noted.

Chip Beverung, manager of Woody’s Crab House, told the Cecil Whig that an all-hands-on-deck staff of approximately 50 employees helped prepare and, or, serve the 1,900 lobsters and the buffet, which also included soup stations. Each lobster weighed a pound to a pound and a half, he reported.

“They (the employees) all get excited about it and make a point to work this event,” Beverung said. “Most have been touched in some way by hospice, which not only provides care for (terminally-ill patients) but also helps family members in the healing process.”

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