To crustacean lovers, January in the Bay Area means more than the beginning of a new year — it means Dungeness crab feed time.
From November to mid-June, fishermen up and down the Northern California coast harvest Dungeness crab from their pots for delivery into the bellies of hungry crab-loving residents. Crab season also provides a good fundraising opportunity for local nonprofits, and a good excuse for residents to eat melted butter.
Petaluma has no lack of crab feeds, and residents could make plans to attend one just about every weekend from now through February. While all the upcoming feeds feature cracked crab, it's always recommended attendees come prepared — bring cracking utensils.
Lions club crab feed
The 7-11 Lions Club hosts its 31st annual lunch and dinner crab feed on Jan. 19 at the Petaluma Veterans Memorial Building, 1094 Petaluma Blvd. South.
One of the largest crab feeds in Sonoma County, the 7-11 Lions Club event draws crab-hungry citizens from all around the North Bay.
The lunch seating begins at noon. The dinner seating starts at 7 p.m. Both meals feature all-you-can-eat crab, French bread, pasta, Clover-Stornetta ice cream and a no host bar. There will also be a raffle.
Tickets for the lunch seating are $40. Tickets for dinner are $45.
All the proceeds go back to the community to support local projects through the 7-11 Lions Club.
"All our money goes to local charities," said club member Jim Janakes. "Funds raised in Petaluma stay in Petaluma."
The event sells out every year, so purchasing tickets in advance is advised.
For tickets, contact Ron Hammer at 763-0564 or Jim Janakes at 778-7796.
Cinnabar Theater crab and shrimp feed
Cinnabar Theater is hosting its first ever crab feed from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at Lagunitas Brewing Co., 1280 N. McDowell Blvd.
Event organizer Laura Sunday, who is also the driving force behind Cinnabar Theater's Great Petaluma Chili Cookoff and Taste of Petaluma fundraisers, was inspired to do a crab feed after attending the Petaluma Woman's Club event last year.
"We had such a good time and thought 'OK. We can do this at Cinnabar,'" said Sunday. "I presented the idea to the Cinnabar board and they said 'yes.' We always could use another fundraiser."
And in case crab just isn't enough, the feed also includes Louisiana shrimp.
"The crab is fresh from the bay Dungeness and the shrimp is coming from New Orleans," said Sunday. "It will be fresh and flown out to us on the day of the event."
The dinner also includes salads, breads and cheeses. Dessert sales will help support the Golden Hills 4-H club.
There will also be raffle prizes for wines, restaurant gift certificates, show tickets and out-of-town trips.
"The evening is all about crab," said Sunday. "It's time to get messy with friends and have a great time."
Seating is limited to 200, and Sunday said that they've already sold 150 tickets.
Tickets are $40 in advance. No tickets will be sold at the door.
For tickets, call Cinnabar Theater at 763-8920 or visit www.cinnabartheater.org.
Children's Diabetes Foundation crab feed
If you're still not full of crab yet, the Children's Diabetes Foundation hosts a crab feed and silent auction the next weekend from 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Petaluma Community Center, 320 N. McDowell Blvd.