SPEVAK: Rotarians gear up for crab feed

john.spevak@gmail.comFebruary 28, 2014 

Some people come for the crab, some for the pasta, some for the raffle prizes. Others come for a good time and a good cause.

Whatever the individual reasons, this year’s Los Banos Rotary Club Crab Feed on March 28 will undoubtedly draw a large number of appreciate participants.

The club’s largest fundraiser of the year will once again be held on a Friday evening, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m., at the Los Banos Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall, 403 F St. Tickets are $45, the same price as last year, and are available from Los Banos Rotarians.

The price will again cover all the crab a person can eat, plus pasta, bread, salad and wine served with the meal. The ticket also includes two free beverages at the bar before dinner is served.

The proceeds from this event will fund Rotary projects that benefit the local community, including college scholarships for local high school seniors, as well as assistance to the public library, Boy Scout Troop 85 and other local groups.

Marg Benton, this year’s Los Banos Rotary Club president, has organized an efficient crew of Rotarians to plan for and work at the event. “Our goal is for everyone who comes to the Crab Feed to have a good time – enjoying good food (and plenty of it), good service and good camaraderie.

Toni Merino, the club’s president-elect, appreciates the help of high school students who are members of the Rotary-sponsored high school Interact clubs. “The youthful spirit of the teenagers,” Merino said, “together with the organizational skills of the Rotarians, will ensure all persons are served promptly and get all the pasta, salad and crab they can eat.”

The crab feed will again feature a raffle with hundreds of prizes, including a wide variety of items donated by local merchants as well as Rotarians.

Persons interested in crab feed tickets can contact any Rotarian, or they can call Marg at (209) 704-0014 or Gene at (209) 704-3831.

Although the event takes a lot of time, energy and work, local Rotarians look forward to it. This is another instance where they can fulfill Rotary’s motto of “service above self.” I had a chance to talk with some of them as they prepare for the event.

George Hiatt, Mike Larsen and Dick Gerbi enjoy working behind the scenes with chief chef Tony Whitehurst. “I like watching Tony mix his secret pasta sauce,” Dick said. “He insists it has just the right flavor, because he has to maintain his reputation for quality pasta.”

Further behind the scenes are Tom Kaljian and Jerry Menefee, who for years have been the dish and pot washing crew. I can’t honestly say Tom and Jerry “enjoy” their assignment. But, as Tom said, “Somebody’s got to do it.”

Brenda Latham enjoys working with the high school students during the raffle. In recent years, Brenda has called out the winning ticket numbers, and then sends the students, with prizes in hand, out to the happy winners.

Margaret Gomes likes displaying the many prizes that will be raffled. “I get a kick watching people walk by the prizes and pick out the ones they’d like to win,” she said.

Mark Coakley and Colleen Menefee enjoy serving the tables. “I get the chance to talk and laugh with the people while they enjoy their food,” Menefree said.

There will be many other Rotarians involved in the event. All of them will be working hard, but also smiling throughout the evening, knowing people are having a good time for a good cause.

Two additional notes:

• Saturday at 10 a.m. the Friends of the Los Banos Library will celebrate Dr. Seuss’ 110th birthday with a display of his books and bilingual readings of several of his works. All kids, up to age 109, are invited to the library (on Seventh Street in Pacheco Park).

• Kudos and thanks go out to Neri Osegueda, who has worked behind the counter at the Los Banos library for many years. She recently left the library to take a new job.

The Friends of the Los Banos Library and all of the library’s patrons appreciate her work and her spirit – always efficient, congenial and courteous. Thank you, Neri. We wish you well!

Comments on the writings of John Spevak, an Enterprise columnist for 30 years, are encouraged, and can be sent to john.spevak@gmail.com.

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