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Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival National Harbor

Covering more than 350 acres on the banks of the Potomac River, National Harbor’s events, shops, and entertainment venues make it a can't miss Maryland attraction. Visitors will encounter more than 160 stores featuring everything from high-end jewelry to candy. For a relaxing and scenic experience take a ride on the Capital Wheel, which is a 180 foot-tall Ferris wheel that provides a unique view of the area’s beautiful buildings and monuments.


The Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival National Harbor is one of the most comprehensive crab events on earth, and it will take place August 18 at The Plateau. People will encounter a massive crab themed experience, complete with thousands of attendees and all the crab you can eat. In fact, event organizers expect to serve more than 30,000 crabs for each session of the event (Session One: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, Session Two: 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm). In addition to all the delicious crab dishes, attendees will also find a variety of meal options with no crab at all. More than 50 beers, wines, and ciders from around the world will be available for sampling from producers such as Magners, Guinness, New Belgium, and more. Local bands will perform live on the main stage throughout the event, and area art and craft vendors will sell their unique products and creations. With the purchase of a VIP Crab & Beer or Beer & Six Crab ticket, attendees will also receive a souvenir mug for beverage sampling and a crab mallet. We interviewed Event Representative, Greg Nivens, to learn more about this impressive showcase of crabs, beer, and more.


RAL: How long has the event been running?

GN: 2018 Will be the 9th year.


RAL: How many annual participants do you draw.  

GN: This is the World’s Largest Crab Festival. There will be over 7,000 attendees at the festival, and we serve a little over 60,000 crabs.


RAL: What is the typical demographic makeup of the event? Children? Families? Couples?

GN: This event is designed for crab lovers! People come from up and down the East Coast. It's the perfect event for families.


RAL: What makes this event unique?

GN: This is the most significant event of its kind. Nowhere else will you see more than 3,000 people sitting down to eat crabs together at one time. It is a celebration of life on the Chesapeake Bay.  


RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?

GN: All you can eat crabs! Eating crabs is an activity already, isn’t it?! Ha! You can watch the cooks steam the crabs, and taste more than 30 craft beers onsite. There is live music on the main stage during all sessions. Attendees can play oversized games like Jenga, pool, cornhole, and of course, people watching.


RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up for the event?

GN: Yes! We have partnered with the Gaylord Hotel & Resort. They are selling Session 1 VIP tickets with overnight accommodation. The Gaylord is a complete resort with restaurants, spa, nightlife, and beautiful views of the harbor!


RAL: Is there maybe one place in particular that guests have been flocking to since the event started?

GN: Guests tend to gather at the Gaylord Hotel & Resort because they offer the overnight and ticket package.


RAL: What does this event mean to the community?

GN: We’ve never done any impact study on the economy, but we bring a lot of people to town for this event. We get a lot of visitors from New York, New Jersey, and beyond.


RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?

GN: Of course, our show only lasts for four hours. Most of the people spend all day and evening at National Harbor.


RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?

GN: The event supports the Spirit of Hope Children’s Foundation.

For more information about Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival National Harbor, please visit the event website.