Crab Feast

Constellation, the 1983 Worldcon in Baltimore decided to give one more try to have a Hugo Banquet. Because carbs are the nation dish of Baltimore, they decided to have a crab feast.

At a Baltimore crab feat, the diners usually sit at a table covered with butcher paper holding a wooden mallet, a knife and a fork and dissect crabs from a pile in the center of the table. The crabs have been boiled in Old Bay seasoning — cayenne, salt and garlic. The only difficulty with a crab feast is that the crabs actually have no meat at all in them, so there's a lot of pounding and dissecting and searching to get a meal. (The banquet also included hot dogs, chicken and corn on the cob.)

At Connie there were an estimated 500 people who paid for the banquet. The meal went as smoothly as it probably could have, all things considered. It was only afterwards that the Fatal Flaw in the plan was discovered. In File 770 #44 p18, Mike Glyer recounts:

Each crab feaster received a mallet, and after the feeding frenzy had passed, people used their mallets to create an obnoxious noise that resembled a cross between Bat Night and Ten Cent Beer Night in Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Jerry Pournelle [a speaker] found he could not talk over the racket and walked out….My ears hadn't received so much damage since I sat in the front row at TOMMY in Toledo, Ohio.

Bucconeer also had a crab feast. And yes, it too was loud!