For sheer pageantry, nothing beats a seafood festival!
Let's face it: barbecue festivals can be tawdry affairs. Lewd, beastly, tawdry affairs. But seafood festivals are full of wholesome, welcoming energy. The fish, shrimp, crabs, what have you, are thrilled to step on dry land. This is their first foray into the world of humanity, so, unlike the sordid, jaded pigs and cows, they still love us. They've come to put in an honest day's work. To earn a fine, fine death.
They play trumpets and saxophones for us! Guitars! Some kind of thin, flexible piano keyboard things! They put on one-man-band shows for us!
In their winsome naiveté, they honestly believe they owe us something. Perhaps for having been spared the feedlots and pens? For being allowed natural lives, up until the nets trap them in the choking, alien air?
Even their royalty and their entourages make appearances at seafood festivals. It is also possible that the two non-royal crabs are official decoys, employed to throw off subversive crustacean elements. Then again, what could plotters do to the crabs that their beloved humans aren't already planning?
We are especially touched by the pearl-wearing crab queen and the plucky shrimp she has impaled on the blessed tines of her regal fork!
Finally, we are reminded that it is not only royalty and music-making courtiers who show up for these things.
Garden-variety aquatic fun-lovers are here too!
Here we see a high-roller from Atlantic City and a skipper from Pompano Beach. Each cares enough to gasp their last in our presence, surrounded by their cherished totems: the dice, the weathered plank.
Addendum (5/28/09): Another good time for food and mankind both! These toe-tappers aren't even fazed by the prominent use of the word boil.
Addendum 2 (5/23/10): Another swinging, musical shrimp.
Addendum 3 (5/23/10): This crustacean doesn't so much swing as rock.
Addendum 4 (5/23/10): Look! It's that same darn crab again, creepy leer and all!