Folks Enjoy Fresh Stone Crabs

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The annual Stone Crab Festival in St. Marks is kicking off the stone crab season. The Ninth Annual Stone Crab Festival is bringing some noise to the usually quiet town of St. Marks.

"Stone crabs have a very hard shell, so it takes a little bit of effort to open to get the meat inside, so the Riverside Cafe has graciously given us these pieces of wood for us to open the stone crab and then you can enjoy it," said Nancy Kenyon, a Tallahassee resident.

Vendors, live bands and a car and motorcycle show add to the festivities, but the main attraction is the fresh stone crabs pulled right off the boats.

"When we started we went through 150 to 200 pounds of stone crabs our first year. Every year after that it's grown," said Stanley West, owner of Riverside Cafe.

The Stone Crab Festival has become so popular that more than 1,000 pounds of stone crabs are brought from the waters of St. Marks.

"With the stone crabs you don't eat their bodies, it's just the big claw. It's against the law to keep the whole body. What you do is you catch them, take off the big claw and throw them back," said Luke Ponder, who loves stone crabs.

For some stone crab lovers the once a year party isn't enough.

"This is my first time actually. We were just saying they should have one about once a month to get this many people down here every time," said Kyle Moody, who wants more stone crab festivals.

Organizers of the event said the festival supports local fisherman and brings a lot traffic into their small town.