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West Point Crab Carnival: Virginia is for Crab Lovers

West Point was established as a military outpost in 1778 during the Revolutionary War. Today, its outdoor activities and historical attractions make it the ideal location for a Virginia excursion. Containing a flourishing estuarine environment, outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike will love the York River State Park. From the Old Cadet Chapel to the West Point Cemetery, visiting the city’s historical attractions is a must for everyone.


The West Point Crab Carnival has been a community staple for more than three decades, and it will take place October 6-7 in downtown West Point. This free-to-attend event will feature live music on multiple stages including performances by Tony Bob Merritt, Band JNM, and more. The Firefighters Parade and the Crab Carnival Parade will feature fire trucks, classic cars, floats, and marching bands following a route through downtown. Kids can participate in the Tour De Crab (bike race) on main street and a variety of activities throughout the event grounds. Food and refreshment vendors will sell items such as hamburgers, seafood, festival fare, beer, and soda, and local craft vendors will feature some great handmade items. Taking place over the Pamunkey River, the Zambelli Fireworks show is sure to amaze the masses. interviewed Kristie Walker, Chamber Coordinator for the West Point/Tri-Rivers Chamber of Commerce, to learn more about this event.


RAL: How long has the event been running?

KW: This is the 35th year of the West Point Crab Carnival.


RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?

KW: We expect between 25,000 to 30,000 attendees.


RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?

KW: All of the above. There is something for everyone.


RAL: What makes this event unique?

KW: Our quiet little town shuts down the streets and opens its doors to everyone. The streets are lined with strangers who become friends for the weekend and often longer. Music and shopping unite people in conversation. The smell of delicious food is in the air, and you cannot help but want to try it all. Main Street will have over 80 different vendors selling a variety of various arts, crafts and other goods (early Christmas gifts!). The side streets will have 20 different food vendors.


RAL: What activities can attendees expect?

KW: Here are some of the activities:

  • Children’s Bike Race

  • Firefighter’s Parade

  • Live Music

  • Food Vendors

  • Fireworks

  • Carnival Rides

  • Beer Garden

  • Arts and Crafts Vendors

  • Shopping

  • Crab Carnival Parade

  • Corn Hole

  • Pony Rides


RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?

KW: We have a band on Friday night, The River Gypsies of York County, playing in Town Park. On Saturday, we are bringing back the authentic street dance by having four different acoustical bands playing up and down Main Street at varying times within the beer garden. We will be hosting The Mullins Sisters, Tony Bob Merritt, Powder Keg, and a local favorite, Band JNM.


RAL: What dining options will be available?

KW: We will have street vendors offering foods for any taste.


RAL: What is the atmosphere like?

KW: Everyone is welcome to attend our family-friendly event (no pets). It’s a large crowd, but not so big that it’s overwhelming. We’ve never had any issues with unruly behavior or violence/crime.


RAL: What does this event mean to the community?

KW: This is the largest event for our community. It brings people from all over the state to our little town. The Crab Carnival is hosted by the West Point Chamber of Commerce. Any monies raised go back into the community.


RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?

KW: Local businesses have special store hours during the Crab Carnival and special sales to attract new patrons. We have several unique stores that are specific to West Point.


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

KW: Several local civic groups have food booths during this event, and it is the largest fundraiser for them. This will help fund their projects throughout the year, and all of their money will go back into the community. Our local school has a couple of different booths that sell merchandise to help fund the athletic department and the parent-teacher organization. Several churches have booths to help support their local missions and programs.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

KW: The West Point Crab Carnival is an excellent way to spend a day with family and friends. Great shopping, great food, and free music in a delightful waterfront small town – what more could you want?

For more information about the West Point Crab Carnival, please visit the event website.