Photo by Joe Happ
Blessing of the Fleet
May 19, 2016
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Kentucky Derby of Crustaceans: the Garibaldi Crab Races

Garibaldi Crab Races

By Dena Weigel Bell

With the call of a bugle the competitors get ready at the gate. Pop! goes the starter’s gun, and—they’re off! Six pink Dungeness crabs, clawing and crawling their way as fast as they can to the finish line. Behind each crustacean, their sponsors cheer, cajole and counsel each crab onto a win at the Garibaldi Crab Races.

Began as a way for locals to get together during the rainy days of winter, the Garibaldi Crab Races are now into their third decade and have become so much more than just a distraction. With the spirit of tongue-in-cheek fun, the Garibaldi community welcomes people from all over the world to this annual event, offering competitors a chance to sponsor a racing crab or to taste the local crab delicacies caught along the Tillamook Coast.

Throughout the two-day, event 500 crabs compete in more 100 heats, giving everyone a chance to join in on the fun. And the stakes are high, with championship prizes ranging from donated deep sea fishing trips to gift cards to bikes for the kids.

Participants are divided into adult and kid heats, with several different categories of races designated for visiting and local contestants. All proceeds from this Lions Club event go towards providing hearing aids and prescription glasses to those in need throughout Tillamook County.

If you’ve got a competitive spirit and love the friendly rivalries that spring up between friends, come out to the Garibaldi Crab Races. View our Crab Races page for more information.