A Taste of Culture: Celebrating Maryland’s Iconic Blue Crabs

Maryland Blue crabs

Crab lovers rejoice! If you’re planning to visit Maryland, you’ll be pleased to know that it is one of the top producers of blue crabs. From festivals to crab picking parties, the people of Maryland are passionate about their beloved blue crabs, as the Chesapeake Bay region is well-known for its fishing.

In particular, blue crabs are the most valuable commercial fishery in Maryland. The annual catch of crabs in the Chesapeake Bay area represents more than half of all landings. As a result, Maryland natives have developed a deep sense of crab pride. Discover how the Old Line State celebrates its iconic crustacean.


In 1989, Maryland officially designated the blue crab, Callinectes Sapidus Rathbun, as its state crustacean. Its scientific name translates to “beautiful swimmer that is savory,” which is an apt description of this delicious crab.

Bucket of seasoned Maryland Blue Crab. Photo credit: Getty Images

Maryland is just one of several states that have designated an official state crustacean; Alabama chose the brown shrimp while Oregon opted for the Dungeness crab. With its delicious flavor and rich cultural significance, it’s no surprise that Maryland chose the blue crab as its official crustacean.

Seafood Festivals

Maryland has a long history of seafood festivals that attract people from all over the region. Some of the most popular seafood festivals include the Maryland Seafood Festival, which takes place in Annapolis every September, and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum OysterFest held in St. Michaels in October.

The National Hard Crab Derby and Fair held in “Maryland’s Crab Capital of the World,” Crisfield, during Labor Day weekend has been a tradition for the past 75 years. These are only a few of the many festivals held in Maryland throughout the year.

At these festivals, attendees can sample a variety of seafood dishes, watch cooking demonstrations, compete in cookoffs, and learn about the state’s seafood industry. Many of these festivals offer activities for children, such as face painting and games, making them a fun experience for the whole family.

These festivals are a great way to experience Maryland’s unique culture and enjoy some of the freshest seafood in the country. With so many options to choose from, Marylanders can celebrate seafood all year long.

All-You-Can-Eat Crab Feasts

Photo Credit- Visit Maryland

Nothing says “Maryland” quite like an “all you can eat” crab feast. While some restaurants offer these throughout the year, they are especially popular during the summer months when it’s warm enough to enjoy being outdoors.

These feasts typically include steamed crabs and a variety of seafood dishes. Many restaurants also offer beer specials so that guests can wash down their meal with a cold brew. A classic Maryland crab feast is a fun way for friends and family to come together and celebrate their love for seafood.

Old-Fashioned Crab Picking Parties

Photo Credit- Getty Images

Maryland natives know how fun—and delicious—a good old-fashioned crab picking party can be. For crab lovers, the sight of bushels of crabs is an absolute delight.

To prepare for this festivity, all you need is newspaper (to lay down on your picnic table), melted butter or garlic butter (for dipping), mallets or nutcrackers to crack open those hard shell beauties, plenty of paper towels (for the inevitable mess), napkins (for wiping your hands), and gingham aprons if you want to be extra festive.

Make sure to have your favorite beverage as you unleash your inner child and devour those juicy little morsels right out of the shell.

From local sea food festivals to gathering around tables piled high with steamed hard shells at “Crab Feasts,” or simply cracking into those succulent morsels at an old-fashioned crab picking party, it’s safe to say that Marylanders love their crabs.

If you find yourself looking for something fun and delicious to do when visiting Maryland, consider attending a seafood celebration to honor the Chesapeake blue crabs!